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April 2014

Spring Sustainability Series continues on Wednesday, May 21 with Photovotaics Speaker Marlene Brown, Department of Energy, New Mexico and Max Joel, Community Solar Initiative Director at Solar One. Our full Spring series and location information is here.

The next planned NYC Sierra Club Group Queens Program will occur on May 12th at Alley Pond Park in the Conference Center from 6:30-9:00. Check the calendar on our website for more information.

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* 32 people attended our Sustainability Series on Wednesday, April 16 on BEADS OF DESTRUCTION, referring to tiny polyethylene beads used in toiletries and other plastics that end up in our waterways. After a half hour of food and socializing there were two presentations. Professor Sherri A. Mason, Ph. D, Associate Professor at SUNY Fredonia talked about studying plastics in the Great Lakes. Annually, only 8 percent OF PLASTICS gets recycled, 16 million tons go to landfills and more migrates to bodies of water: Lake Erie has 460,000 particles of plastic per square kilometer, including the “beads of destruction.” A law is proposed in NY State that will ban microbeads in toiletries to be replaced by ground almonds, oatmeal and pumice.  Catherine Bobenhausen, a Senior Industrial Hygienist with Vidaris Inc, told us about Engineered Nanomaterials (ENM) which have the diameter of atoms and molecules. Their projected use in medicine—with both a promise and a challenge—is occurring without full knowledge of how they will interact with biological systems. ADVICE: USE LESS PLASTIC! It is easier to keep plastics out of the oceans and lakes than it is to remove them.

NYC April 2014 Pic1* In an historic alliance, Indians and Ranchers invaded Washington DC on Saturday, April 26th, gathering with thousands of supporters to call for rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. We marched through the streets, presented a hand-painted tipi to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as a gift to President Obama, and marched the length of the mall where we gathered. The Native American speakers were inspiring about their concerns about and efforts to stop carbon emissions. The last two presenters were particularly inspiring. One was a young First Nations youth worker from Alberta, Canada who had tried unsuccessfully to organize an event against tar sands development last year and who spent the subsequent year in despair, but who was greatly inspired by this event. The last, Frank Wain, a Rosebud Sioux, University of Chicago student and Rapper, closed the event by bringing the crowd to loudly responsive, fist pumping enthusiasm to his music (see photo at right and watch this video).  You can see more photos here.

NYC April 2014 Pic2* Biogas is "the original natural gas.” Put together some low cost materials, keep the stuff warm, wet and away from air, and bingo: a burnable gas is produced. Use it to cook, but without fracking! On the weekend of April 26- 27th, in Brooklyn, David House, the author of The Complete Biogas Handbook offered a workshop to learn to construct a small scale anaerobic biogas digester from readily available materials. New NYC laws require restaurants and other large food facilities to recycle food wastes. This provides an opportunity for those facilities  and others to produce their own gas with food wastes.The Sierra Club NYC Group sponsored two Brooklyn College students, Eric Carlsen and Lucy Kalinin, two leaders in the Sustainability Club, to attend the workshop.

NYC April 2014 Pic3


* Three generations, all called Anthony, all Sierra Club members, stopped by the Sierra Club table at NYC Green Festival on Pier 95 on April 27.




Check out these recent posts on our Blog: The AAAS Steps in to Defend Climate Science and Destruction of Mt. Manresa’s Trees Just the Latest in the Destruction of Public Space.  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

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