Want an in-depth look at how Solar One is working with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to solarize our public schools? Check out this article from Solstice.us that includes a great interview with Amy Colorado, the Green Design Lab’s Program manager fro K-12 Curriculum & Instruction.
“Learning about buildings and how buildings use energy – that’s what sustainability looks like in the city of New York,” Amy said. “I’m incredibly thankful to have entered Solar One to be able to teach environmentalism that is relevant to NYC and its residents.”
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Nothing is more certain than change, and over the past 2,000 years, civilizations that once dominated their regions have all but disappeared. But how much did climate change have to do with some of those collapses, as with Mayan civilization in Central America, or the Polynesians of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the South Pacific?
Stories of collapse are often told as parables of what happens when humans wreck things (think Noah’s Ark). The public’s interest in environment-driven collapse picked up in 2005 with the publication of Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Some took issue with the interpretations in the book. Take Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, the South Pacific island settled by Polynesians known for its monoliths of heads (actually, the rest of their bodies are underground). The book popularized the idea that the population crashed because the islanders slashed and burned all the trees — a cautionary tale on the perils of destroying the environment.
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Last month, thanks to an anonymous West Indian woman who put the idea in our heads, we undertook an experiment in urban goatscaping in Stuyvesant Cove Park. It was a resounding success- the goats did a great job and everyone loved them- and also a unique experience for Candace Thompson, the new Park Manager. Here’s her description of what it was like to spend three days and two nights as an onsite goatherd in Stuy Cove Park:
For 3 straight days, 20 goats and I did heavy “goatscaping”, and for 2 nights we slept together… under the FDR… in lower Manhattan…during a global pandemic.
It was a week for the bucket list, to be sure.
If you’re unfamiliar, goatscaping is an ancient land clearing practice in which humans allow goats to do what they do best: eat. When they’re done you’re left with a weed free, well fertilized growing space with no gas-powered machines or herbicides needed. So, last month Caramelo, Chloe, Cheech and co were let loose inside SCP’s teaching garden and given carte blanche, and while they munched, volunteers pulled weeds from other areas of the park and carried them over to their enclosure. One little girl accurately described it as “goat room service”.
When I awoke in the middle of the night to check on them they’d still be standing there, chewing away. They, too, knew this was the city that never sleeps.
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Hannah Schanzer is a Park Intern at Solar One this summer, working in Stuyvesant Cove Park. She is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Environmental Policy and Urban Studies. She has come to the Park this summer to learn more about urban park stewardship and urban ecology.
For my summer research project, I really wanted to focus on studying how the urban setting impacts the biodiversity of the park. Stuyvesant Cove Park is situated between a gas station, a power plant, and the highway. Additionally, it is located on the former site of a cement mixing factory.
Preliminary testing revealed that the soil in some beds of the park have slightly elevated levels of lead, although not enough to cause concern with park operations (highest lead concentration in a bed was 80 ppm (parts per million), anything less than 100 ppm is considered safe for children to play in). I was curious to find out whether there was a way to “clean” the soil with the highest lead concentration without treating it with chemicals or replacing it with imported soil.
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Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Educators from across the DOE participated in the first NYC DOE Climate Summit at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Summit was organized by the Office of Sustainability, Solar One, and the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership in an effort to profile the diversity of climate change and how it relates to a variety of school activities and curriculum.
Activities in the two Round Robin sessions included mapping visualizations, climate themed simulations and games, school climate risk assessments, data analysis, health impacts, and climate advocacy.
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Watch Solar One’s Juan Parra explain how community solar makes renewable energy accessible to every New Yorker on the Spanish language television network Univision.
In the clip, you can see Juan and correspndent Berenice Gartner on the roof of an HDFC co-op building in Crown Heights. The solar installation, including the cool canopy for the panels, was installed by Brooklyn Solar Works. You can also catch a glimpse of Daroga Power‘s community solar installation, which you can sign up for on the Here Comes Solar website here.
Ansd while the segment is in Spanish, even non-Spanish speakers will be able to follow along. Congratulations to Here Comes Solar, Brooklyn Solar Works and Daroga Power on the great press for their great work!