FEATURED DISCUSSION

Welcome to the

Green New Yorkers Group

It's Up to Us!

The Green New Yorkers Group is a contingency of like-minded individuals interested in developing community sustainability initiatives in their neighborhoods. By doing so, we believe that New York can be a role model to other cities across the country in adopting similar goals. All of us need to step up and play a part in making our cities and neighborhoods greener, healthier, cleaner, quieter and more people-friendly. We believe the best way to accomplish these goals is to organize and educate neighborhood residents and community leaders who are willing to work with their block associations, community boards, green committees, and local city council and assembly members to effect a more responsible way of living.

Community issues we need to push for include more green markets carrying local farm produce; the creation of neighborhood local gardens; influencing residential building owners and management companies to allow residents to develop green roofs for growing produce; stricter regulations on neighborhood noise violations created by sources such as City and privately-owned trash collection vehicles, commercial trucks illegally using neighborhood streets, City street-cleaning vehicles, and cars and motorcycles with loud mufflers; and, enforcing speed limits in our neighborhoods by placing speed devices on traffic lights or other structures to reduce the number of accidents and pedestrian injuries, which is going up! We'd also like to see street and block closings on weekends throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall months to enable more neighborhood gatherings and events. Mayor Bloomberg has supported weekend street closings during summer months in the past, but we need more of them on a consistent basis. The mayor has also initiated the MillionTrees Program, which has helped to beautify our streets, and improve the overall air quality in the city, and we thank him for that!

Pollution issues that need to be tackled in our neighborhoods include dangerous exhaust fumes from oil refueling trucks, idling vehicles, vehicle exhaust emissions, and residential buildings burning illegal trash items. And, we need an initiative for residents to cut down on the usage of plastic bags. Many local businesses now sell reusable bags which are very affordable. Some facts about the impact of plastic bags on the environment from http://www.natural-environment.com/:

  • Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistaken them for food.
  • The manufacturing of plastic bags add tons of carbon emissions into the air annually.
  • In the UK, banning plastic bags would be the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the roads each year.
  • Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year.
  • Approximately 60 - 100 million barrels of oil are required to make the world’s plastic bags each year.
  • Most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade. Some figures indicate that plastic bags could take over 1000 years to break down. (will anyone will live long enough to find out!). This means not one plastic bag has ever naturally bio-degraded.
  • China uses around 3 billion plastic bags each day!
  • In America, San Francisco has become the first city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets and chemists shops.

Better Energy-Efficiency can be obtained by using Energy Star products like CFL's (compac fluorescent lamp ) or LED's, programmable thermostats, energy-efficient washers and dryers, refrigerators, and HVAC systems (http://www.energystar.gov/).

Below are some projects my neighborhood on the Upper West Side has sponsored, which were very successful:

Electronics Recycling Weekends Sponsored by the W. 102nd/W. 103rd Block Assoc., and with the help and support of the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and the offices of Sen. Eric Schneiderman's office and Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell's. Tons of old computers and other electronics are collected for safe recycling!

A Study of ENERGY STAR Qualified Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL's) was conducted by the West 102nd/West 103rd Block Association. Mercury is an element found naturally in the environment. Although it has some very useful properties, it is a toxic heavy metal with potential health effects, and must be handled properly. Mercury is a necessary part of a CFL. The ballast, mercury, and phosphor coating inside the bulb work together to efficiently convert electrical energy into visible light. All ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL's have less than 5 milligrams of mercury (some manufacturers are able to produce CFL's that have only about 1 milligram of mercury). Avoid purchasing non-ENERGY STAR® CFL's, as they may have much higher levels of mercury in them.

Flower & Tree Planting Programs. Thanks to the efforts of the West 104th Street Block Assoc., flowers of many varieties are made available every Spring to residents of the community for planting in the neighborhood's tree wells. New trees have also been planted thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's MillionTrees Program.

Block Closing for Halloween. Thanks to the W. 102nd St. & W. 103rd Block Association, Halloween was a special event for the kids in their neighborhood this year. A permit was obtained to close off W. 102nd Street between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue. This enabled kids and their parents to walk in the street, and enjoy refreshments along the way that were provided by members of the community. It was a great way for residents of the neighborhood to meet their neighbors, and to welcome new residents in the neighborhood.

Riverside Park. And, of course, we must thank all of the volunteers of the Riverside Park Fund Organization and the NYC Parks Department for their tireless efforts in maintaining and improving our beautiful Riverside Park year after year. New benches have been provided, repaving has been completed in many sections, dog runs have been improved, baseball and soccer fields have been resurfaced, the tennis courts are great, and the Hudson Beach Cafe located at W. 103rd St. in the park, and the 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe are thriving. It's truly a beautiful park, and their work is so appreciated. Concerts are also held in the park throughout the summer.

The primary mission of this group is to share information
on how to live a more sustainable, responsible lifestyle via group discussions, articles and other media. And, that this information will be disseminated virally to friends, neighbors, members of the press, and our City and State representatives.

We could use your financial help!

If you contribute $50/yr or more, we will post an ad on our site for you or your business, and post you as a Featured Member.

Also, please encourage local businesses in your neighborhood to support us by sponsoring an ad on our site.

If you have any questions about supporting us, please contact us at plewis021@gmail.com.

Keep Greening Your Neighborhood.


Pat Lewis
Founder/Director
The Green New Yorkers Group

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