Category Archives: Climate change

Puerto Rico Relief Effort – NYU

Puerto Rico Relief Effort – NYU

We are a group of NYU Environmental Conservation Education Students and Alumni who are spearheading a relief effort to Puerto Rico along with support from NYU’s Department of Teaching and Learning faculty and staff. We are launching this effort to help alleviate the crisis in some of Puerto Rico’s most remote and hard-hit communities, while promoting sustainability and building resilience. The aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico has resulted in loss of power to the entire island, leaving 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the dark, without electric power or drinking water and no effective means of communication. As environmental educators, we recognize the importance of fostering human health, environmental protection, and resiliency. Our relief effort will focus on providing high-need communities with solar charging devices and water purification kits. You can support our effort by purchasing any of the items on our Amazon registry. We are working with the following local community organizations identified by our Puerto Rican student body to insure these relief items are distributed in the targeted areas in an equitable manner.

By clicking on the link and buying from the product selection in the registry, you will help us reach our goal of providing urgently needed solar power and clean drinking water to these communities. The items will be shipped to NYU, where we will consolidate them into boxes to be shipped to Puerto Rico.

Relief effort committee members:

Mónica Rivera-Rosado (MA’17), Geovani Caldero (MA’17). Our partners at NYU include the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, the Environmental Conservation Education Master’s Program, and the Department of Teaching and Learning.

We hope you will support our effort. To join the relief committee or for more information, contact Mónica at mrr501@nyu.edu.

Dr. Mary J. Leou
Director, Wallerstein Collaborative For Urban Environmental Education
Director, Environmental Conservation Education Program
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development

239 Greene St. 4th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10003
212-998-5474
http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/wallerstein/

@LeouMary

“Be the change you want to see in the World” – Mahatma Gandhi

Grace’s Final Project

Well, at long last, the time has come my friends. Time for me to sum up everything I’ve learned in this one semester and then bid you adieu as I merrily skip away from NYU into adulthood freedom.

This has been one of my favorite classes in my time here, mostly because it focuses almost entirely on a topic that I’m pretty obsessed with, the environment. I’m literally a tree-hugger (really, there are pics of me hugging trees everywhere) and I’m also into an artistic industry, so this class was perfect for me. It gave me the chance to really kick off my waste-free lifestyle and I’m excited to share with you guys what I’ve learned and accomplished so far, and what I plan on accomplishing in the weeks, months, and years to come.

My goal was simple: To identify the waste I’m contributing to landfills and start to take steps to move away from needing/using these materials. Pretty straightforward right? In order to accomplish this goal, I came up with 5 steps for myself.

  • STEP ONE: Identify the landfill waste I produce over a two week period
  • STEP TWO: Fully replace necessities in my home with sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives
  • STEP THREE: Fully commit to making my own products
  • STEP FOUR: Start the slow, long transition into sustainable fashion
  • STEP FIVE: Find a place to compost in NYC

I can tell you right now, I was hoping to be able to crash course myself into this kind of lifestyle, but just like anything else in life, this is gonna take some time. There are habits that have to be altered, materials that have to be purchased, and old goods that will need to be disposed of properly. I’ve already identified what needs to change and how to change it, so at this point in time I’m slowly starting to transition myself into actually making those changes.

STEP ONE! When I presented my midterm to you all, I talked about how I’d already tried keeping track of my landfill waste by writing notes for everything I tossed in my phone. I decided to try some good old-fashioned handwritten notes for my 2 week period, but guess what? It didn’t really work out that great. You know what did? Taking a video on my phone every time I put something in a trash can. You can see my lil compilation video right here. It forced me to really take notice of how often I was tossing something in and what it was I was tossing in. When I was just trying to write it down, I really believed that I was just throwing away the cotton rounds I used for makeup remover and maybe some food. Turns out, I was visiting the trash can a whole lot more!

STEPS TWO-FOUR! These three steps are still in the process of being undertaken. I’m going to include a link to my class presentation at the bottom of this post because it includes a lot of links to the websites I’ve been using to help me identify the products I need as well as where I plan on buying these products from.

STEP FIVE! Wowee you really can compost in NYC! This was a cool thing to learn about, and a slightly frustrating one too. Here’s a better look at the map of where they have brown bin collections in NYC:

2017 Compost Collection in NYC

Notice anything about this map? Besides the beautiful earth tones they went with for a color scheme, it pretty clearly shows that environmental activism is something really only available for the affluent. “Future Expansion” in all of the poorest neighborhoods of NYC. Awesome. On the one hand, this map is really helpful as I apartment hunt because I want to end up in a neighborhood that has the brown bin collection (if I can afford it). On the other hand, it enforces this idea that being eco-friendly is a rich person thing.

So where do I go from here? Social media of course! I’ve created an instagram account called @optimistic.recyclingbin and I plan on documenting my journey and sharing information as I continue down this path to Earth friendly enlightenment. I’ve already posted my trash video, and I have a few more posts already planned out, check them out below:

As I said earlier, this isn’t an overnight change. A waste-free lifestyle is an act of rebellion in our consumer based society, and it’s a lot of hard work to undo the mindset to use, use, use. I’m excited to keep learning, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you as I keep on working at it.

Check out links and all that fun stuff here!

And check out the instagram here!

$65

Every once in a while something happens where I have little to no sympathy.   Good thing the New York Times article (below) chose not to include a comments section. There is a part of me that has a difficult time understanding how safeguards to protect investments in critical research (and money!) were not put in place.   But then again, there was yet another oopsie-level event at the NSA so anything

Regardless, I couldn’t help but read the article and empathize with the loss of  samples collected under the most extreme of conditions.

 Martin Sharp, the director of the Canadian Ice Core Archive, examining an ice core. A freezer storing part of the archive failed this month. Ice from the Canadian Arctic has completely melted, leaving puddles of water in its place and scientists devastated. O.K., this is what actually happened: Ice cores, millennia-old ice samples extracted by scientists from locations across the Canadian Arctic, melted because of a freezer malfunction in a lab at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The loss of these ice cores could hinder scientific research into how changes in the atmosphere have shaped Earth’s climate history, and how they could affect its future. On April 2, the temperature of a storage freezer in the Canadian Ice Core Archive rose to about 100 degrees — some part of the cooling system failed, “then tried to get itself back into action and in the process, piped hot air back into the room,” according to Martin Sharp, the director of the archive. The freezer became so hot that it tripped the fire alarm, Dr. Sharp said, and partially or fully melted 180 ice cores collected by government scientists since the mid-1970s from the snowy expanse of the Canadian Arctic.
Martin Sharp, the director of the Canadian Ice Core Archive, examining an ice core. A freezer storing part of the archive failed this month. Ice from the Canadian Arctic has completely melted, leaving puddles of water in its place and scientists devastated. O.K., this is what actually happened: Ice cores, millennia-old ice samples extracted by scientists from locations across the Canadian Arctic, melted because of a freezer malfunction in a lab at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The loss of these ice cores could hinder scientific research into how changes in the atmosphere have shaped Earth’s climate history, and how they could affect its future. On April 2, the temperature of a storage freezer in the Canadian Ice Core Archive rose to about 100 degrees — some part of the cooling system failed, “then tried to get itself back into action and in the process, piped hot air back into the room,” according to Martin Sharp, the director of the archive. The freezer became so hot that it tripped the fire alarm, Dr. Sharp said, and partially or fully melted 180 ice cores collected by government scientists since the mid-1970s from the snowy expanse of the Canadian Arctic.”
Here is a $65 solution from Amazon, with free shipping! A redundant system of even five of these in place would have probably still cost less than the research grade Fisher solution below:
Here’s a laboratory grade solution (if you have something really important to be concerned about):
Fisher Scientific research-level temperature alarm system
But if you want to save money, have a tech or two on hand, or access to an engineering school, or the creative and committed minds at NYU’s ITP, you could build your own monitor using off the shelf, easily accessible parts to send alerts to cell phones or land lines:
DIY microntroller projects to send alert by cellphone at predefined temperature settings.

environmental awareness thanks to green world by erik

Upon entering this class, I knew I would learn more about environmental issues, but I had no idea how in-depth we would actually get. I am thankful to say that I am leaving this class immensely more aware of the environmental problems we as a world face today and feel better equipped to make changes in my own life in hopes of lessening those negative effects. Here are some images I took (I thought we had to take the photos) that represent different concepts we have covered in class that I was not as aware of prior.

This storm drain represents the idea that during heavy rainfall in the city one should abstain from using the shower or running the dishwasher. Heavy rainfall makes it more likely that our sewer systems will back up and contaminate our clean water supply. I am glad that there are so many storm drains around to act as a friendly reminder of this important detail. It also acts as a reminder of other towns in our nation that are still without clean water and how essential that is to a healthy life.

I did not know much about littering before taking this class. I had thought that yes, it was bad, but I did not know exactly why or how it is governed by our law. According to a presentation from one of our classmates, throwing anything at all on the ground is considered littering, under the eye of the law. While this may be true, I have never once seen this law be enforced, except maybe in movies. Items that are commonly littered, like cigarette butts for example, contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate our water supply as well as our soil. I would hate to see our few parks lose beautiful foliage due to careless littering. Thankfully there are many effective cleanup teams employed by our city.

The most prominent thing I have not been able to “unsee” since taking this class is most definitely the issue of idling. There are countless amounts of statistics and studies claiming that our poor air quality is in large part due to the amount of car and machine activity in New York City. One of the only ways to combat this effect is by discouraging people from idling their cars. This pointless release of harmful chemicals into our air can be easily avoided by simply shutting your car off while waiting for someone or texting like the man pictured above. There are many people bringing this issue into the public eye and I hope that it becomes a law more aggressively enforced in the near future. I think it is safe to say that I’ll never idle again.

I recycle all the time, but one thing I did not know about recycling before taking this class is that liquid present in a shipment of recyclable material overseas can ruin a large part of the entire load. It is essential that you dump out whatever contents you have in your coffee cup or bottle before recycling because mold can form during shipment which sends the tons of recyclable material back overseas to a landfill, unnecessarily. I have made sure to tell each person I am with this important detail in hope that more of our recyclable material will actually get used in its intended way.

Garbage bags constantly line the sidewalks of our city and this image puts into perspective how much waste we contribute to landfills on an almost daily basis. There are many steps one can take to reduce their contribution to this pile, like using reusable bags when going grocery shopping or carrying around a reusable water bottle. I’ve implemented these changes and many more since taking this class and hope to continue this trend until I am as waste-free as my lifestyle allows.