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March 2014

Spring Sustainability Series: Our Series continues on Wednesday, April 16 with "Beads of Destruction. Tiny plastic beads used in toiletries end up in the Great Lakes. Fish eat them; we eat the fish. Are they safe?" Professor Sherry Mason of SUNY, Fredonia and others will speak. Info on spring series is here.

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March2014pic1* To protest the destruction of a community garden on NYC Parks’ property in Coney Island near the Boardwalk, neighborhood garden advocates gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall on March 5th. The land was turned over to a private developer for the construction of an amphitheater in what protesters believe was an illegal alienation of parkland, ignoring the local Community Board’s vote to preserve the park. Sierra Club members have been active in the Community Gardens movement and in this protest.  You can see more about this struggle here.  For more information on how you can get involved, contact Irene Van Slyke.

* A lawsuit to stop development of a proposed shopping mall in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens known as Willets West is being brought by State Senator Tony Avella, the New York City Park Advocates, with several community members and groups joining as petitioners.  The objective is to undo the approval of Willets West by the NYC City Council without obtaining state approval and without following the usual land use committee process. A permanent injunction against the shopping mall is being sought, according to Anna Aulova, Deputy Chief of Staff of Senator Avella’s Bayside office. Those backing the suit believe that the land cannot be used for non-park uses since there was never state legislation approving alienation of the park property.  Those seeking the declaratory judgment claim that although CitiField, has been allowed to use the park area for parking, if it becomes a shopping center it is not being used as a public benefit and would be an irreversible situation. For more information, see Thelma Fellows' testimony here.

March 2014 pic 2* Did we scare Governor Cuomo away? About 75 protesters showed up at the site of a political fundraiser at which Governor Andrew Cuomo was to speak. Spirits were high and chanting by the demonstrators, including a number of Sierra Club members, was almost continuous. However, after about an hour, there was an announcement that the Governor was not coming. So, why do you think he didn’t show?

* March 19th Sustainability Series event featured two excellent speakers. Dr. James Haklar of EPA Region 2 explained the dangers of PCBs, or chlorinated hydrocarbons, widely used in the ballast of overhead fluorescent lighting in schools. Over time PCBs vaporize and can affect immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are probable human carcinogens. The NYC Public Schools settled a lawsuit, agreeing to replace ALL old PCB light fixtures by the end of 2016. Then, Maureen Fairlie, founder and owner of Snappy Solutions, Inc., a green janitorial and industrial supply company, described how indoor air quality has actually declined due in large part to unnecessarily chemically sophisticated cleaning products sold as "necessary" to clean different surfaces.  The products her firm sells, and similar ones we can use in our own homes, minimize chemical exposure and are usually cheaper.  Look for Green Seal Certified products and if you cannot readily find any try baking soda, vinegar and pine oil soaps!

March 2014 pic3* Coalition demands State Comptroller DiNapoli divest State pension funds of fossil fuel holdings at a rally at Comptroller’s office on Thursday, Mar. 27th. The Sierra Club participated as a part of a coalition of organizations including, which presented DiNapoli with 11,000 petition signatures calling for divestment. Irene Van Slyke, representing the Sierra Club, made the point that the Club is “organizing a statewide Grassroots Campaign to transition to100% renewable energy in NY State by 2030” and that the national Sierra Club is divesting all its holdings in fossil fuels.  For more information about the issues, check out Fossil Free NYC and our Alternate Energy Page. To get involved in this campaign, contact Lisa DiCaprio.

Check out this recent post on our Blog: A Developer Destroys Coney Island Community Garden.  And don’t forget to check our calendar for events of interest to environmentalists in and around New York City.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on the NYC Group’s online and digital communications, please email Gary Nickerson at

To make a donation to our conservation efforts in New York:donate button

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