It is human nature to take every thing for granted,
until that object noticeably diminishes in quantity or quality.
At that time the object in its natural state goes up in value.
Trees are like that too.
As I am wrapping up my project, I can surely say that I have accumulated a deeper belief and point of view on the importance of keeping our environment healthy, especially our New York City environment. As you all know, my project was focused on green space within urban environments. I focused on why they are necessary for our personal health and for the overall health of the city. I have always loved the outdoors and nature. That is what initially pointed me in this direction, but after spending a lot of time creating and investigating this topic and coming up with a final piece, I have a different relationship with the parks in our city. I have discovered that they are more than just a place for wildlife and trees to thrive, they are also a place for us to exercise, play and essentially escape. They hold so much importance.
Initially my idea for the project, was to interview several people about our green space and create a video montage of their responses. As I was in that process, I realized that it was turning out to not be the most creative or effective way to get the point across.
SO I kept the footage I took but instead of filling the video with interviews, I filled it with a mix of my voice, breath and music that I placed over the video clips. I wanted to find the more creative edge, to really capture the audience and catch them off guard. The video leaves space for the audience’s interpretation, but requires them to think introspectively and openly about what our inner city environment is doing to us. We call ourselves the Big Apple, but our red delicious is in fact rotting at the core. I took this idea and translated it by relating it to the body’s breath patterns.
The music I chose for the piece is from a site called “Epidemic Sound.” This site is created for video makers to choose from the music library provided. The songs are all 100% royalty free and content ID safe and cleared for all multimedia projects. The song is called “Nonchalance and Fabulance 2” created by Marc Torch. It is under the film category and sub category beautiful.
This was an exciting and grueling experience for me, since I am new to working with Adobe Premiere Pro 2015 and took this as an opportunity to challenge myself and create an artistic piece in a medium that was somewhat foreign to me.
Here is the finished piece…
Throughout my time in Greenworld, I’ve become extremely uncomfortable knowing and witnessing firsthand how common illegal idling occurs every day in New York City. I will be writing and directing a short film concerning the urgency of addressing illegal engine idling on a local level in New York City, especially now that America has a new President-elect. This matter has never been more urgent than right now. The President-elect’s notions regarding climate change or preserving and protecting our environment are pitiful and terrifying. I am not one to claim someone is wrong. However, scientific facts exist to prove his statements are based on opinions, not facts and are therefore incorrect.
Anyway, back to the project… I first learned from George Pakenham that there has been an anti-idling law on the books in New York City since 1971 and has gone almost unenforced, all the more emphasizing the blatant disregard and terrifying indifference this important health and environmental issue brings to light. Ultimately, I will be using this filmmaking platform to make idling enforcement more of a priority as well as to educate people of Bill 717, an anti-idling bill currently being proposed and reviewed in New York City, the monetary incentive New Yorkers could receive by reporting illegal idling if Bill 717 passes (which happens to be a comfortable yearly salary), core traits and reasoning behind human behavior (specifically why people do not take action when they know what they’re doing is wrong or is not helping a good cause), and finally, distributing information on how to continue moving forward with this issue, which is by going from the top down and inundating specific members of the NYPD with statistics regarding the immediate action necessary to make anti-idling enforcement more prevalent in NYC and to begin discussing this issue more around the internet to increase awareness of what tremendous damage this is contributing to the environment.
My new friend, Isabelle B. Silverman of the Core Fuel Engine Group has been kind enough to discuss my final project with me and she’s provided me with some excellent places to start taking action prior to knowing whether Bill 717 gets passed or not. For instance, anyone could send countless email to the NYPD Chiefs Michael Pilecki and Chief Chan. Chief Chan is the head of the NYPD Transportation Unit and Pilecki is his Deputy. Isabelle also suggested reaching out to Mayor DeBlasio and asking him to make idling enforcement more of a priority especially given the thousands of 311 calls on idling that’ve resulted in no action. Here are their two emails:
Webpage where submission for Mayor DeBlasio can be made:
We should also be tweeting about this and posting on Facebook. Any social media presence helps!
Inundating them with these emails, tweets, and Facebook messages should help tremendously because they will have to start talking about it. There is also the possibility that students could start a social media campaign, even write a Care2 petition and get it signed online. Here’s some of the text from Isabelle. She believes it could be sufficient to be emailed, tweeted, or posted on Facebook:
“Illegal engine idling considerably contributes to bad air quality and noise which is why, since 2010, 40,000 New Yorkers have filed 311 idling complaints. Idling is clearly an important issue to New Yorkers but the 311 complaints don’t lead to tickets because the vehicle is gone by the time the DEP gets the complaint. The NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEA) are the city agents that are best suited to hand out idling tickets. Currently, TEAs only issue about 2,500 idling tickets compared to 9 million expired meter tickets. Given that issuing idling tickets is more confrontational because the driver is usually in the vehicle, please dispatch a few hundred TEAs in pairs and make it their main focus to issue idling and double-parking tickets. Often, double-parked vehicles also idle so they should get two tickets. This law has been on the books since 1971 and has gone almost unenforced. Thank you very much for your consideration to this important health issue!”
Standing in the street, I tell myself to hold my breath and it will get better. Although I had learned in psychology class the idea of sensory adaptation—that breathing in the fumes would eventually adapt my sense to the smell—I couldn’t help but hold my breath. I close my eyes, standing behind this idling truck, and I’m taken back to a moment in time.
Sitting in a tent, 8 years old, I take a deep breath and close my eyes. Ten Earth Ranger campers are packed into an enclosed tent, surrounding a twig-filled metal bucket. “Imagine a world where you must pay for oxygen,” says the counselor. “A world where oxygen is sold in tanks, like gasoline from the station.” Imagining this far off world, I smell something burning. I open my eyes, see twigs on fire, and smoke filling the enclosed tent. When campers begin to cough, the counselor passes a gas mask around and directs each camper to take a deep breath through the mask and pass it along. She explains what will happen if society continues destroying the environment. I panic. I can’t breathe. I’m going to suffocate. She unzips the tent door and we exit. I am relieved beyond imagination. Breathe in. Breathe out. You are alive. You can breathe.
From the summers of 2004-2009, I attended a local park district camp at Emily Oaks Nature Center. As a camp for kids who loved to be outdoors, activities ranged from canoeing to hiking to camping and building fires. I learned about the environment and nature from an innocent child’s perspective, and I was forever scarred with the memory of that activity.
Due to its frightening and dangerous nature, that activity was never again done at the camp; but, I think I was taught a truly important lesson. Standing in the streets of New York, I often times wish I have a mask to wear to breathe in untainted oxygen. “It’s nice to be home and breathe in fresh air,” my sister says every times she visits Chicago from New York. The world my camp counselor demonstrated is not that far off. It’s much closer to home than it may seem to most people.
After a long journey, filled with a lot of new information, not only about Indian Point Energy Center but also about nuclear power in general, Tucker and I have completed a cut of our documentary for the class. This cut is only five minutes long and our work is certainly not over. We have hours of information about Indian Point and the nuclear power process from a variety of experts including Dr. Irwin Redlener director of Columbia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, Arthur Ginsberg, an ex-engineer at Indian Point, and Physician’s for Social Responsibility board member Alfred Meyer. We would like to continue to work on building this documentary and adjusting it to fit the issue as the debate evolves. The issue of Indian Point remains to be a current issue locally and the debate over nuclear power as a resource remains contested nationally and globally.
Issues We Researched:
Some of the most interesting, and unexpected issues we learned about during our research and interview processes were
• The Algonquian Pipeline and the issues with its expansion so close to Indian Point.
• The effects of thermal-pollution on surrounding aquatic environments.
• In depth knowledge about the inner workings of nuclear power plants, including how they have evolved over time and the various safeguards installed.
• The history of Indian Point and the activist movement against it.
• Nuclear Power as compared to other forms of harnessing energy such as solar power, oil, and natural gas.
Arthur Ginsberg, an ex employee of Indian Point, drew Tucker and me a diagram of the closed circuits within a nuclear power point.
Tucker and I went to Peekskill to see Indian Point’s proximity to the Hudson river for ourselves. Tucker couldn’t resist the selfie.
We saw the power plant from pretty close up, our ability to reach the plant so easily sparked our curiosity about the possibility about Indian Point as a possible terrorist target.
Tucker attended and participated in a rally by the activist group SAPE (Stop Algonquian Pipeline Expansion) and noticed the very small amount of young individuals protesting.
Through our research, in particular our interview with Alfred Meyer, we discovered that Indian Point rests upon not one but two (Stamford-Peekskill and Ramapo) fault lines.
Initially Tucker and I were inspired to do our final project on the Indian Point Energy Center (Nuclear Power Plant) when Alfred Meyer came in to discuss the issue with our class. The more research we did on the power plant the more interested (and upset) Tucker and I became about the issue. After our interview with Alfred, Tucker and I were led to some interesting sources including the group SAPE. Through this exposure to activist groups we realized that we were not the only ones who were upset by this issue. But it would’ve been too easy to round up these activists and make a documentary arguing against Indian Point with their semi-credible knowledge.
So we looked for sources who could help us understand the multi-faceted debate surrounding Indian Point. I contacted several individuals from both the NYU Langone Medical Center and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. One source who was especially helpful in steering me in the right direction was Lorcan Folan, an engineer at Tandon who put me in touch with Dr. Redlener and Arthur Ginsberg. Dr. Redlener, director for Colombia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, gave me great insight as to how a problem at Indian Point could affect the entire surrounding community and coastal areas. Arthur Ginsberg was a very essential source as he spent 36 years of his life working for Indian Point in various positions from managing the control center to acting as one of the head engineers. He told Tucker and I about some of the inner workings of the plant such as their emergency plans and the training required to work at Indian Point. He also provided a counter-view that was in favor of the re-licensing of Indian Point and the continued use of nuclear power.
Tucker and I learned an incredible amount on this journey. But we do not plan to end the project here.
Arthur Ginsberg has discussed with us the possibility of visiting the facilities at Indian Point Energy Center, and we intend to take him up on this offer. We have an ample amount of footage to continue editing and we intend to stay informed on the still developing issues. We would like to eventually have a cut to send to film festivals and to organizations that could use our film to educate and empower others.
We hope that you join us in saying no to extractive industries and fighting for a cleaner, safer energy future!
As everyone is well aware, my project throughout this semester has been to create a snapchat by NYU students for NYU students to become more aware of what we’re doing wrong on campus and easy, quick solutions to reroute ourselves. I think it’s so important to start with your own community before trying to change the world and that’s what I did here! NYU actually has an office of sustainability that does a lot to make sure the campus reduces its carbon footprint and waste in general. But it’s a two way street, and we have to play our part if we expect significant change to happen. What i’ve realized after interviewing the many college students that I did is that everyone is well aware that there is a problem, but they are so caught up with the business of life, that they’re waiting for someone else to start the change. And that waiting is what is dangerous.
This snapchat has been a great opportunity for me to deliver this information to the students of NYU in a way that is easy and fun to swallow. Because snapchat is so quick and easy, it is the perfect platform for this demographic, because students don’t have to take the time out of their busy schedules to get informed: I’m providing them with information in 10 seconds or less, in a way that is also entertaining.
In class, I’ve realized environmental issues are presented in documentaries in sad and miserable ways and I wanted to take the complete opposite approach tonally and try to make people laugh: because yes, the environment is in a bad place, and yes NYU has a lot of work to do to become better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in our activism!
So instead of babbling on about what i’m trying to do, let me just show you with these compilation videos from my snap stories:
So a huge part of the success of my project lies in viewers! It’s important to me that students are seeing the snapchat, because that is my target audience. Since I interviewed a lot of strangers and went around campus, I made every student I met add me on snapchat and the results have been great! As you can tell from the picture below, each little ten second (or less) clip gets an average of 60-80 viewers! My hope is to be able to pass the snapchat onto Peter and another student can take on the role next semester to keep this an ongoing way to reach out to our NYU community and get us on the list of greenest campuses across the USA!
New York is dirty, there is trash everywhere on the streets, it constantly smells like fumes, yet people continue to be very set in their own ways. All of these New York factors have somehow made me even more environmentally conscious throughout the years. The fact that so many of these issues are prominent around us in our daily lives should make us feel the urgency to act upon cleaning up our surroundings: or at least slow down its pollution.
The air that humans breathe in cities is polluted by running vehicles, fossil fuels, and manufacturing chemicals. There are pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, black carbon, and dust. These are terrible pollutants that are the cause for many cancer cases and a 6% annual death rate in NYC. With the average adult breathing in over 3,000 gallons of air every day it is frightening that people still persist in believing that pollution is a myth.
In order to slowly bring people to the realization of the situation, I want to show them small steps to becoming eco-friendly in an urban household in an environment such as New York. I’ve noticed that a lot of people do want to be “green” but often think that they do not have the tools, the knowledge, or the up-bringing to do so.
Growing up, I was not taught about simple eco-friendly habits and now that I am older and live on my own, I have found it difficult to get into a routine of being environmentally conscious and sometimes think that the information I find on the internet is not direct enough in telling me how to help the planet.
To help people like me, and to make their lives easier, I have created a series of quick videos demonstrating simple household tricks for those interested in helping the environment just by making a couple of small changes in their lifestyle. Every seemingly minor action can have an enormous effect on the larger picture of cleaning our environment if we all learn to incorporate eco-friendly actions into our daily life.
To calculate my results, I measured in subscriber numbers on my YouTube channel. To spread awareness about the project, I posted about it on my Facebook and asked people to share my channel with anyone they may know. I also contacted my friends who live in different states or even countries to ask them to tell their friends about it, and to subscribe if they enjoyed it or found it to be helpful. I wanted to spread awareness about my channel organically and through word of mouth, because that’s when people tend to pay the most attention. This process took place over the course of 2 weeks. The result is:
In the future, I would like to continue The Lazy Person’s Guide To Eco-Friendliness in order to cover more environmental topics. I got a positive response from people in the comments section who liked that so much information was packed into such a short video. The efficiency of the project made them want to see more and I hope to continue growing the channel.
Sources For Facts In Videos: