Monday, December 11, 2017 | By EarthShare | No Comments
8 Eco-Friendly Renovation Tips
Maybe you don't want a forest-green home, but you can still keep the environment in mind when you decide to renovate. Follow these tips to ensure an energy efficient and non-toxic home improvement project.
- Think before adding square footage. According to This Old House, "adding unnecessary square footage doesn't just result in the excessive use and disposal of building materials—you also have to factor in the extra heating, air-conditioning, electricity, and furniture you'll need to service the living space."
- Get an an energy audit. A home improvement project is a great time to learn where you might improve your home's energy efficiency. Visit Angie's List or Yelp to find a highly-rated professional energy auditor near you. They can offer great tips to save on your energy bills.
- Find a LEED-certified contractor. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) trains professionals on the latest green building practices. Find a LEED-certified contractor at the USGBC website.
- Choose non-toxic paint. Look for low-VOC and Green Seal certified paints avoid the most dangerous solvents. Most companies now offer low-VOC options.
- Dispose safely. Never pour thinners, solvents or paint down the drain or storm drain. Put them in tight-fitting jars or cans and have them picked up or delivered to a certified hazardous waste disposal site.
- Use locally-sourced, recycled/salvaged and sustainable materials. According to Freshhome, "antique shops and consignment shops are great places to visit for items such as doorknobs, light fixtures and even mantels." Look for salvaged wood and other materials on Craigslist, salvage yards, and even demolition sites (get permission first, of course).
- Choose energy-efficient appliances. Look for the "Energy Star" label on appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators and visit the Energy Star website to learn more.
- Donate. Consider donating excess renovation materials to a local theater group, parks department, school, or organization, or take it to a community exchange. Many towns have “drop and swaps” once or twice a year.
Monday, December 11, 2017 | By EarthShare | No Comments
NYC Students Tell City to Ban Toxic Pesticides
Adapted from a post by EarthShare member Beyond Pesticides
New York City passed a pesticide reduction policy in 2005, but the law has not done enough to stop the use of toxic chemicals like glyphosate (Roundup) that endanger human health.
In 2014, NYC Public School teacher Paula Rogovin’s kindergarten class at PS 290, after learning about the dangers of chemical pesticides, wrote their Councilmember Ben Kallos, asking him to “Make a Law!” and stop the use of harmful insecticides and herbicides in city parks and public spaces. And Councilmember Kallos did just that by introducing a bill called “Intro 800” in 2015.
However, that law still needs support to pass through the NYC Committee on Health, so Rogovin’s class took action in October and performed a skit in front of the committee.
“We’re going to make a great big fuss,” said the children, who showed up with chants and signs. Student Jesse Balsam summed up the core importance of Intro 800. “I think this is a good law that should pass, because pesticides are bad for people,” the student told CBS New York.
The current law encourages city agencies to use less toxic products in and around structures and green spaces owned by the city. The law also requires the city to record and report their pesticide use.
Intro 800 would go even further, limiting the use of pesticides on New York City property to only biological-based pesticides. New York City has been using more of the weedkiller glyphosate (Roundup) in recent years and the kids want it to stop.
“The World Health Organization found that [glyphosate] was a carcinogen, so we introduced legislation right away,” Councilmember Kallos said in an interview with CBS New York.
Glyphosate comprises over 50% of pesticide use by city agencies. In 2016, glyphosate was applied over 1,000 times by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.
Beyond Pesticides provided testimony in support of Intro 800, and suggested some amendments that would provide additional tools for landscapers to achieve goals in NYC parks without sacrificing public health.
Items on Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Compatible Product List, for example, are approved by the independent stakeholder National Organic Standards Board and are reviewed for their safety for organic lawn care.
Intro 800 is critical to the protection of community health, particularly children, elderly, and vulnerable population groups that suffer from compromised immune and neurological systems, cancer, reproductive problems, respiratory illness and asthma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and learning disabilities.
Councilmember Kallos told CBS New York that he hopes to pass the legislation by year end. If you live in NYC and would like to show your support to your City Councilmember and urge them to pass Intro 800, go here to send them a letter, and consider following up with a phone call.
And for more information on the hazards of glyphosate use and how you can take action in your own community, visit Beyond Pesticides.
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | By Tony Iallonardo | No Comments
In response to news reports that the Interior Department’s energy lease sale today drew little oil industry interest, Chase Huntley, senior director of The Wilderness Society’s energy program said: