The Green Container Program Gets A Fresh New Start

During last semester Envirolutions had a slew of ideas on how to make Pratt an even more eco-friendly campus. The Envirolutions team saw the strength in The Green Container Program and decided to put it into action starting orientation week of the new 2014 Fall semester. Members set up an info table to get freshman and other members of Pratt’s community to participate in The Green Container Program. Even though The Green Container Program was implemented years ago, this year it has received a much needed makeover. The Green Container Program now works using a token system, a person uses five dollars from their meal plan to purchase a token (which they can then use for the remainder of the year). When said person goes to buy their meal at the dinning hall, they hand in their token and are given in exchange a Green Container with their food. The Green Container must then be brought back, and it is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. At this point the person is given back their token to then continue using the system. The Green Container is durable and comes with compartments to separate food that is bought. Made from polypropylene, the Green Container is durable as well as dishwasher safe.  Overall ,Envirolutions and CulinArt are working hand in hand to put this sustainable program into effect.

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Earth Day 2014 in New York City

 

NYC green week

Earth Day is an annual event held on April 28th which was first started in 1970. Earth Day is a day to demonstrate and support environmental protection, and it is currently recognized by over 198 countries. Cities ,such as New York, has demonstrated enormous support for Earth Day since its start in the 70’s. Every year people of New York come together to stress the importance of preserving our Earth. Here are some events that will be held this year in New York in support of Earth Day:

 

Million Trees NYC Planting Day: Saturday, April 27th

Join thousands of other NYC volunteers with help from the New York City Parks Department in planting thousands of trees in one single day! Planting sites include 16 parks across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and The Bronx.

for more information go to: http://www.milliontreesnyc.org

 

New York City Green Festival: Friday and Saturday, April 26th-27th, 10am-6pm

A two day event full of various opportunities to learn how to live green! There will be vegan and vegetarian cooking demos, activities for families and kids, panels featuring various speakers, live music and entertainment, and 300 eco-friendly vendors.

for more information go to: http://www.greenfestivals.org/nyc

 

Earth Day 2014 Events at Grand Central:Wednesday and Thursday, April 23rd-24th, 10am-7pm

The Taxi Stand at Grand Central Terminal will be setting up booths with interactive exhibits, educational displays, and giveaways to teach people how to “green up” their lifestyle.

New York City hosts a plethora of opportunities to get people of all ages involved in keeping the Earth Green. From motivational speakers, to live music, and group clean ups, New York has something for everyone on Earth Day. Check out your local park over the next week to see if they’re hosting neighborhood based events. If not, grab a group of friends and go out on your own and start making your city more clean and green! Visit earthdayny.org to find more updates.

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Green Week 2014 Event

 

Envirolutions Joust Poster FINAL

Tomorrow is the day! Envirolutions will be tabling from 12:30 – 2pm tomorrow on the driveway in front of the Engineering Building as part of Green Week here at Pratt.

At 12:45pm, we will put on a performance piece to “take Pratt out of the Dark Ages” and promote the green containers available in the cafeteria. At this time, a joust will be happening. Yes, you read that right. A joust. Images of brawny men atop noble steeds charging toward one another with sharp lances aimed to defeat their opponent and win the princess’s heart may come to mind. That’s not necessarily in our budget, but we promise you’re in for a hilarious treat.

Also at this time, we will be distributing a recycling survey and a pledge/petition to sign and support recycling efforts on campus. We will as well have buttons and free food for you as a take away.

We hope you make it to the event and see the medieval ages make an appearance on Pratt’s campus!

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Urban Farming Continues to Expand

 

the brooklyn grange

Green roofs continue to grow as various companies are taking off to expand roof top farming to all boroughs of New York City. Last week we touched base on a company known as New York Green Roofs which installed green roofs all over New York City. In addition, companies such as the Brooklyn Grange and Five Borough farm are also promoting city wide roof top farming.

The Brooklyn Grange is a major business which not only incorporates green life into an urban environment, but also operates as a working rooftop farm. Like New York Green Roofs, The Brooklyn Grange also installs roof top farms, in addition to keeping them maintained. The Brooklyn Grange sells its produce at local farmers markets and restaurants, and has two farms located in New York City, one at Northern Blvd. and another at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They also have a third location which is the city’s largest bee farm, known as Brooklyn Grange Bees or “BGBee’s.” All produce grown by The Brooklyn Grange farms are protected from contaminants and pollutants because they are grown high above roadways and thankfully they even help clean the surrounding air. However, the Brooklyn Grange takes urban farming a step further and attempts to educate the surrounding community on sustainability and eco-friendly practices that one can incorporate into their daily life. They provide training programs at small household urban farms, as well as larger scale urban farms, and they even offer internship opportunities . The Brooklyn Grange’s mission is to “create a fiscally sustainable model for urban agriculture and to produce healthy delicious produce for our local community”. Started by Ben Flanner, Anastasia Cole Plakias, and Gwen Schantz, the Brooklyn Grange has expanded their urban farm and practices, and are now the world’s largest rooftop soil farm that grows more than 40,000 pounds of produce a year. This produce includes: lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, kale, herbs,and much more. In addition, they also sell various jarred goods including: hot sauce, jam, honey, jelly, and seeds. The Brooklyn Grange is a perfect oasis for anyone who’s interested in urban sustainability.

five borough farm

Five Borough Farm is another NYC based urban sustainability project which has also taken off in the past few years. The Five Borough Farm’s project is designed in phases to document how many farms currently exist, improve existing farms, and turn unused industrial areas into usable safe farms. According to research done for Five Borough Farm, there are over 700 farms citywide. Partnering with NYC Departments of Parks & Recreation, the Five Borough Farm project plans to expand urban farming even further. They plan to formalize government support for urban agriculture, integrate urban agriculture into city policies and plans, and identify innovative opportunities to build agriculture into the cityscape.

Ultimately, it is companies such as The Brooklyn Grange and Five Borough Farm which are calling on New York City residents to help participate in expanding urban farming.

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New York City Welcomes Roof Top Gardens

 

green roofs

Urban sustainability has been on the rise here in New York City. Many preexisting buildings have been undergoing various changes to become more eco-friendly and energy efficient. Some buildings have even taken a new unique step towards sustainability by implementing rooftop farms and vegetation. An urban environment usually lacks fresh vegetation, however the company New York Green Roofs plans to “redefine the skyline” by bringing green life to the roof tops of city buildings.  New York Green Roofs is a company that customizes and installs roof top vegetation to its cliental. As well as aesthetically pleasing, these roofs also provide as a sustainable plan for storm water conservation, energy efficiency, and urban heat island migration. An urban heat island is when an urban area is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to increased human activity. In terms of efficiency, green roofs can retain water from storms which can be filtered and reused, and at the same time the roof goes through a cooling process by means of evaporation which would naturally cause the building to lower in temperature. This would help save money especially in the summer months because one wouldn’t  have to waste energy by turning on an air conditioner. Amy Falder and Chris Brunner, co-founders of New York Green Roofs, have created more than 50 green roofs in both New York and the surrounding area. Some local projects include ; Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Heights Terrace, Park Slope Residence, Williamsburg Condominium, and many more. These roof tops, which beautifully contrast against the urban surroundings, provide as a green haven for New Yorkers to escape to. New York Green Roofs has been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, and Scientific America. They are an extremely innovative company when it comes to urban sustainability, and as predicted green roofs might soon become a norm here in New York City especially in residential homes and apartment buildings.

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Composting Has Come to NYC

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As of October 7th Windsor Terrace became the first neighborhood in Brooklyn to take part in a new composting program run by the city’s Department of Sanitation. The goal of this program is to collect waste products such as food scraps, paper, and yard trimmings to create compost. Although not mandatory, this program is easy for residences to partake in. This will allow people to ease into the process of composting, as it is a lifestyle change and might take some time for people to become accustomed to. The compost that would be created from this program would not only provide fertilizer to gardens, parks, and school yards, but it would also provide as a renewable energy source. Those who have wished to partake in this program received a free compost starter kit from the Department of Sanitation, and the waste would be picked up each day along with that household’s recycling. This idea of neighborhood composting is very likely to catch on throughout all of Brooklyn in the next few months. It has already been started in parts of Manhattan and has so far been reported as a success.

Furthermore, composting stations can also be found at certain weekly outdoor markets such as the Fort Greene flea market and the Inwood Farmers market. Here people can bring their compostable waste from home and dispose of it in the bins labeled for compost. GrowNYC is a company that helps provide these composting sites at outdoor markets throughout NYC, and often holds many events on educating people about making environmentally friendly life style changes.

Programs like these are ones that larger institutions such as Pratt, can take note from. Some how establishing a form of composting that still maintains sanitation requirements and provide a source of environmental education will help push Pratt to becoming an even “greener” school. Just like recycling, composting can soon become a habitual exercise that everyone will partake in once there is more access to composting stations.

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NYC Mayoral Elections: The Debate Over Sustainability in the City

mayoral election

With the 2013 mayoral elections rapidly approaching, environmental issues regarding New York City have been brought up frequently in the media. Both Republican candidate Joe Lhota, and Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio had differing views during the mayoral debate regarding future steps for the city to take towards sustainability. De Blasio has long been an advocate for environmental sustainability favoring the promotion of green buildings, improving air quality, ending government use of styrofoam, and even creating a culture of recycling in our schools. Here at Pratt we know the importance of recycling and are trying to increase our school’s awareness of the benefits of recycling for our environment. In regards to green buildings, De Blasio plans on co-sponsoring legislation, which would implement a set of “green building” standards for New York City. Pratt is also taking initiatives to make our existing buildings on campus more eco-friendly as well, in terms of saving energy and properly using resources. Lhota’s focus regarding New York City’s future of sustainability involves renovating existing buildings to make them more eco-friendly and reducing emissions. Also In addition, he is pushing to make the city’s taxis more efficient, as well as, promoting bicycle use. Pratt has had a long history of supporting the use of bicycles and has recently implemented new bicycle racks around campus so more students are able to store their bikes (not support use of since still not able to ride bikes on campus).

Elections are a great time for people to analyze the candidates and take part in choosing whose plans they support for the future of their city, specifically regarding the environment. It’s also a great time for students here at Pratt to reflect on certain actions we have taken (or not taken) in the process of creating a more environmentally friendly campus. This election will allow the city’s people to decide who’s ideals they believe will take this city towards a more sustainable future, and it is something many students here at Pratt can participate in, so if you are eligible to vote in the state of New York on November 5th. Find necessary registration information here.

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One Month In

It is hard to believe that classes started exactly one month ago. The time flies, and the signs of sleep deprivation are apparent in more than a few sets of eyes. Here at Envirolutions, in our first few weeks we have hashed out our club goals for the upcoming semester, and have managed to solidify an intended plan through brainstorming future projects we are interested in.

Photo Sep 12, 1 41 08 PM

At our first meeting of the semester, we had a great turnout of new members, all eager to share ideas. We were able to map out projects that students showed interested in pursuing.

Immediately, an idea for a materials recycling station was brought up. Similar to RISD’s Second Life, members thought that it would be a great fit at Pratt for us to have a place students could bring their unneeded and unused materials and trade them for those that are needed.  All of us have materials lying around that we haven’t touched since that one professor made us buy them for that one project… And what student would rather pay retail price for a material, when in reality they don’t need too much of it in the first place?

We found out that a program similar to this, called Pratt City, is actually coming to Pratt through the Pratt Incubator. It will be a monetary system, in which you will get paid for your reusable supplies, and then you can also buy products that you need for much less than retail. Not only does this program cut down on the amount of materials that are thrown away at the end of each year by students, but it can put some extra money in your pocket by getting rid of materials you have just laying around.

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As to be expected with Envirolutions after our huge success last year, we discussed recycling. Last year, Envirolutions introduced ten recycling bins around Pratt’s campus that were initially effective. Coming back this semester, it seems that the green bins have lost a bit of their impact, with the peeling letters due to weather and use, and perhaps less information readily available for students who are unsure of how to recycle. In the cafeteria and the Pi Shop, new garbage containers are present, with slots designated for waste, glass, and plastic. What about paper recycling though? We wonder if students know what materials they can place in the plastic and glass recycling even in the case of contact with food products.

Envirolutions as a club has decided to focus on interior recycling for our next endevor, focusing specifically on classrooms and studios, and within departments. How often have you walked by a trash bin in studio and have found seeming usable scraps of material, but then, to your become disappointment, find it covered in someone’s food waste and now unworkable? When is the last time you looked in one of those large gray barrels and found usable scrap material that for some reason was overlooked and thrown away in the first place? Any attempt to reduce your waste production and increase your effort to recycle and reuse materials is a step in the right direction for not only Pratt and art students, but for everyone.

Although we have chosen to focus on recycling this semester, ideas of urban farming, composting, energy conservation, and divesting all came up with great interest. If you are interested in one of these programs and would like to be involved, or if you would like more information, please feel free to contact us through our Facebook page or even stop by one of our meetings on Thursdays at 12:30pm in CSDS!

 

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Club Day Recap

Club Day

Club day came and went and we saw a lot of new faces and interest in the club. That may have something to do with the baked goods we were handing out, but regardless we are ecstatic that so many people signed up. We are very excited to get this new year underway with your help.

If you were unable to make it by our table at Club Day but still wish to join or see what Envirolutions is all about, stop by our regular club meeting this Thursday, September 5th at 12:30pm in CSDS (In the Engineering building, go down the stairs and make a right, it will be the first room on the right). If anyone has any questions prior to Thursday’s meeting, please feel free to email us, write on our wall on Facebook, or even send us a tweet.

Hope to see you Thursday!

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RFI Campaign Update and Green Week

 

Two weeks ago, we asked you to send us your unsustainable observations from around campus. Information not relayed to you was where your submissions are going. When you send in observations, we are collecting your responses for future use as recommendations to changes on Pratt’s campus. In addition to our first Room for Improvement campaign posters, we have created additional ones that you may have seen around around.

Sustainy

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Also, this week is Green Week, a week dedicated to all things environmental, with many exhibits, courses, and workshops that all are able to take advantage of. Keep an eye out for us on Thursday March 18th on the main lawn, where we’ll have FREE FOOD and surveys that you can fill out pertaining to our Room for Improvement Campaign.

Today, from 12-2pm in front of East Building, there will be a free bike helmet-fitting event, get one while they’re available!

We hope you take advantage of the many opportunities offered throughout Green Week!

http://www.pratt.edu/green_week_2013/

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