Sustainability

Paper from Manure, That's an Idea I Could Stand Behind!

Watershed contamination

Instead of Using Trees, Scientists Are Making Sustainable Paper Out of Manure

Shout out to the scientist still out there grinding and innovating new ways to make out lives better. I understand it’s a bit of an uphill battle right now with under-funding of projects and all, but you are appreciated.

 

It gives me hope that they have found a use for elephant manure as paper in our everyday lives. The only problem is, I don’t think we have a big problem with elephant dung. If they could come up with other uses for animal wastes from food production that would be great. All I know is that some industrial pig farms have large ponds full of toxic excrement that overflow during floods, contaminating nearby watersheds.

 

You would think after figuring out how to go to the moon and the smartphone that we could come up with a sustainable way to deal with human and all livestock waste.

Good News for Pedestrians and Cyclist

Shaking Title of ‘Boulevard of Death’

When I lived on Long Island, I remember regularly hearing in the news about pedestrians and cyclist being killed by cars. I always wondered why the City wouldn’t do anything about such a dangerous situation on such an important thoroughfare. If you’ve never been on Queens Boulevard, the best way I can describe it is as a freeway-like Main Street in a medium sized town. There are hundreds of high rise apartments and retail stores on long blocks that flank the boulevard, creating diagonal foot traffic patterns across it. I’ve witnessed groups of school aged kids and senior citizens risking their lives daily just go from their apartments to the bus or train station. Cyclist had to navigate multiple lanes of merging, speeding and worst of all parallel parked cars.

Well it looks like the City is finally taking action.  I know some you are saying to yourselves, “that’s New York, what does that have to do with anywhere else in the US or in the world for that matter”.  I think it’s important because there are similar situations in many suburbs in this country. Just about every suburb has a commercial strip that’s just as inhospitable as Queens Boulevard. There may not be as many pedestrians as Queens Boulevard because of population density, but there are a significant number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. I think our town planners should study and learn from methods larger cities use to reduce auto, pedestrian and cyclist conflict. New York City is a perfect lab for planners to see what works because it’s just like any other town or city, except it’s on steroids. 

Support More Roof Gardens

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Green Roofs in the City

Green Roofs are more than just a way to make a rooftop attractive. There are ecological and economic benefits to installing them. They can be added to an existing structure or be part of the original construction. For existing buildings structural suitability must be considered. So it’s not as simple as placing a growing medium and plants on your roof.

Stormwater Management is an important reason to install a roof garden. They retain water in the soil and help in reducing the amount of runoff that would go into the public stormwater system. The runoff from paved and developed areas is a major reason for downstream flooding. The cumulative effect of several roof gardens in a city could also reduce the size of subsurface drainage structures. That could be a significant saving for a municipality. 

By humidifying the surrounding air, green roofs give a cooling effect to a microclimate. This added cooling reduces the strain on air conditioning systems that saves on energy use. Green roofs also help to improve air quality by binding dust and toxic particles.

Some urban wildlife benefit from roof gardens by the food and habitat they can provide. Every little bit helps, so if you can provide shelter and sustenance it’s an added benefit that outweighs the additional costs.