Happy International Woman’s Day, UESiders!

Marked by an especially lovely Botany Photo of the Day

And here’s some good international news:  2 billion more people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010…  Five years ahead of the target date! 

What’s more, on the national scene…  Today, the Senate  acted 4 – count ’em – times on environmental issues…  #1 -voted for directing BP Clean Water Act penalty monies to (duh!) Gulf restoration and the Land and Water Conservation Fund…  #2 – voted against hamstringing clean air regulations…  #3 – voted against fast-tracking the Keystone Pipeline…  #4 – voted against new Arctic drilling!

Here in New York, two State courts have now ruled that towns have the right to use local zoning to ban fracking!

This while the Assembly’s proposed a bill to close a loophole  presently letting frackers get away with improperly disposing of (horrendously) contaminated waste water!

In the negative column is our federal government’s inclination to reduce monies devoted to FMNP, a program which enables low-income women with children and senior citizens to purchase fresh produce at Greenmarkets.  (Yes!  You read that right!)  Should you disapprove of such a cut, you can express your disagreement here

There’ll also be a petition to sign at the 82nd Street Greenmarket if you prefer.

That and please forward your letters of support for renewal of the 92nd Street Greenmarket into Community Board 8’s  Street Fairs Committee via email or 505 Park Avenue, 10065.

And now for the gangbuster week ahead:

Saturday, March 10th through Saturday, March 30th:  Listen – An Art Exhibition Celebrating International Women’s Month

The Poet’s Den Gallery, 309 East 108th Street, between First & Second

Our friends at East Harlem Presents exhibit the work of four exceptional women artists,  Noreen Dean Dresser, Kim Holleman, Lina Puerta and Yukako.  For hours and more

Saturday, March 10th:   82nd Street Greenmarket

82nd Street, between First and York, 9am – 2pm

With us will be American Seafood, Silver Thread Vineyard, Bread Alone, Raghoo, Gajeski, Samascott,  Rising Sun Beef and Rabbits’ Run Farms. 

Speaking of Rabbits’ Run Farm…  They’d like to announce a recent happy event…  That being the birth of baby goats Ash and Acer (both male) to mother Tithonia (Spanish for sunflower): 

(Mom looks a tad tuckered out!)

Last week’s recycling totals:  39 lbs batteries and 14 lbs #5,  Britta filters, cords, corks, CD/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges.

YTD (from 1/7/12) totals:  349 lbs batteries; 162 lbs #5, Britta filters, corks, cords, CDs/DVDs, jewel cases, cellphones and cartridges. 

(So impressive.)

Saturday, March 10th:  Make Your Own Solar Module

The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, between Hoyt and Bond, Brooklyn, 9:30am – 6pm

Yes, we’re talking a DIY solar module…  AKA photovoltaic module/photovoltaic panel/solar panel!  Just 12 volts, but hey!  Full day: $125.  Half day: $80.  To sign up and/or learn about a host of other great events organized by the fabulous folks at City Solar.       

Saturday, March 10th:  Guided Tour of Bohemian National Hall

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, 3pm

Built in 1896, brought back from delapidation by a superb restoration, now a premier venue for art, film and community gatherings and general UES gem.  Free but reservations required.

On the horizon:

Friday, March 16th:  The Future of Urban Farming

Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, 10am – 2:30pm

Incredible that we have 25,000 farm-able acres within our city’s border…  And then there’re all those roofs.  So, what do the experts see in our agricultural future?  Breakfast and lunch included.  $15.  For more and to register.   

Thursday, March 22nd:  S.W.I.M. Public Meeting

Hudson River Foundation, 17 Battery Place, 9th Floor, 3 – 5pm

Join members of S.W.I.M.  – Stormwater Infrastructure Matters and water purity advocates – for an update on what’s known as C.S.O. – as in the “combined sewage overflow” that overwhelms NYC’s water treatment system whenever we get more than a 1/4″ of rain, sending untold amounts of untreated ickiness into the Hudson, East River and NY Harbor.  Free but RSVP at swimmablenyc@gmail.com.  

Sunday, March 25th:  “Gasland”  Screening

Draesel Hall, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street, between First & Second, 2pm

Academy Award nominee and quick course on what can happen to land, water and health when fracking for natural gas comes into play.  Followed by an update by Food & Water Watch.  Free.  Refreshments served.  For more call 212-289-4100, ext. 201.  

Way, way out there:

Sunday, April 1st:  Old Croton Aqueduct Bike Tour

Beginning at the 42nd Street Library, 1pm

Hard to envision 42nd and Fifth as the terminus of a 41-mile system delivering water from the Croton River (there’s a Croton River?) to NYC.  Bike a manageable portion of that route to Highbridge with NYC/H2O’s Matt Malina and Hannah Riseley-White.  $20.  For more and tickets

Saturday, April 21st:  First Annual Blocks for Blocks Symposium 

Rutgers Community Space, 236 West 73rd Street at Broadway, 9am – 1pm

Hosted by the NYC Coalition of Block & Community Leaders (CBCL), this will be a first of its kind conference organized by and for block and community leaders, focusing on improving outcomes across neighborhoods and communities by sharing best practices and linking block and community organizations to form a more powerful voice.   Free but RSVP at cbclnyc@gmail.com.  For more details:  DeAnna Rieber at info@w75ba.org  or Christine Gorman at west55ba@gmail.com.

And now for some serious miscellany:

In case you didn’t catch coverage of the last week’s Department of Sanitation’s MTS presentation at Asphalt Green…  (Note the big turn-out and a pox on the reporter’s ill-informed tone of inevitability.)

More essential viewing:   Last “CBS Sunday Morning’s” story on the plastic debris in our oceans…

And big thanks to UESider Marcia Yerman for putting the MTS into a larger context and on the Huffington Post Green map.

How many souls could possibly be crammed into NYC’s 5 boroughs?  Read what the experts say…  (Hints:  A lot and there’s nowhere to go but up.)

Might be good if the powers-that-be investigated a state-of-the-art tool that another fast-growing city’s employing to improve quality of life for its denizens new and established.

Of course, we in forward-thinking New York buried our phone and power lines a zillion years ago…  Too bad the author of this Times opinion piece isn’t thinking along the same lines when it comes to proposed unsightly, exposed-to-the-elements wire strung across unspoiled landscapes.

Really, why aren’t we putting them underground everywhere that we can?

(Sure, it does cost more.  On the other hand, consider how long  post-Hurrican Irene that people and businesses throughout the Northeast went without electricity last summer and fall.)

Oh and, yes, that’s how it’s done in much of Europe. 

Meanwhile, labeling food when it contains genetically modified ingredients is alive and well.  If you’d like to nudge the FDA further down that road… 

In case you missed this in March 2nd The Times:

Some community leaders have suggested making the safety record of delivery cyclists part of a restaurant’s letter grade. Others, including State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents a large portion of the Upper East Side, are pushing for a change in state law that would hold employers accountable for violations by their deliverymen, issuing tickets to both the cyclists and the restaurants.

Advocates for pedestrians and cyclists pointed to Lenny’s, a bagel and sandwich chain, as a model for balancing service with safety. The company’s cyclists face reprimands for minor violations and can be fired for not wearing a helmet — required by law for working cyclists — or for riding on the sidewalk.”

Deep sigh.

Presented with the prospect of wind turbines on UES roofs, trust Community Board 8 members to instantly make the mental leap to 300-foot high turbines sited on top of and defacing venerable, landmarked buildings.  Yikes.  No, folks.  Think smaller/shorter installations, out of sight, hundreds of feet up, on highrises.  For more on these deliberations

Stepping down from the soap box

Easy to get to know some of our northern neighbors – and what they’re up to  – by way of their 93rd Street Block Association’s very fine newsletter

(And, yes, PLEASE do send us links to your community group’s sites, newsletters and blogs!   (We should all know what each other’s up to, yes?)

Rather breaktaking, the design below…  Bosco Verticale, twin apartment towers encrusted in trees being built in Milan:  


More modest but great are the greening of Manhattan roofs in this DNA slideshow…   (Indeed vegetables can be grown in small, blue, plastic wading pools!)

You did wish the Oreo a happy birthday, didn’t you?  (Quite the surprise it was concocted and first baked in what is now the Chelsea Market!) 

Animals, at last:

As promised, pix of paw print-reader-extraordinaire, Madrette, and two of the many pooches who sought her insight:

One should never underestimate the charms of a toy mouse

Yes, Virginia.  Dogs can not only be taught to clean but also to really love it!

We live to be green,


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