Stuy Cove Park was designated as a Monarch Way Station more than a decade ago, and we’ve had as many as four native milkweeds growing in the park at a time. These amazing pollinators, which famously undertake an epic migration from Canada to Mexico each year, have been seeing their numbers drastically decline as over the past 30 years or so.
Now the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed the North American Monarch, on its list of endangered species. IUCN is considered the world’s most authoritative wildlife monitoring organization.
However, while the future of this wonderful creature is uncertain, it is far from hopeless, and unlike the conservation of more exotic species, there’s a lot that ordinary people can do to help restore Monarch butterfly populations before it’s too late.
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Climate chaos, soaring inflation, drought, war- if you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve seen the dire predictions of a looming food crisis. And even more people will need food in the years to come. In fact, a new study from Stanford University’s Carnegie Institute estimates that the global food supply will need to double by 2050 in order to feed everyone adequately.
At the same time, we can’t meet this need by simply doubling the amount of land we use to grow crops. Deforestation and habitat destruction are among the forces driving climate change in the first place. But according to the Carnegie Institute study, we don’t have to. We can use the farmland and technology we already have to raise crop production yields to levels that will be sufficient to meet our future needs.
One of the most powerful tools we have to do that is sustainable irrigation.
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Domingo Morales was a young father living in public housing in East Harlem when he saw a flyer from Green City Force, a Brooklyn non-profit and longtime Solar One partner that trains young people for green careers. He signed up for the program and fell in love with composting. Last week, Mr. Morales and the program he created and runs, Compost Power, were featured in the NY Times.
His story is an inspiring example of how green workforce training and environmental education can have a huge impact on individuals, families and communities.
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The end of the year is coming up fast, and when it does, our Matching Gift grant from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh ends as well. So now is the time to make the most impactful gift to Solar One- one that will make a huge difference in the lives of the people we serve, like K-12 students, workforce trainees and downtown residents who are more in need of public green space than ever before.
So here’s what we can accomplish when you make a gift today, which will be matched dollar for dollar:
For the Green Design Lab K-12 Education Program:
One $250 gift (or ten $25 gifts):
Give a class an opportunity to design and build small solar powered cars. GDL educators have helped tens of thousands of students learn about solar power using the solar race car over the past 15+ years!
One $500 gift (or five $100 gifts):
Help us build a 100-watt solar system with energy storage for a Schoolyard Solar project.
For the Green Workforce Training Program:
One $1,000 gift (or four $250 gifts):
Buy solar panels, drills, and other tools for hands-on training in our Workforce Lab.
For Stuyvesant Cove Park:
One $1,500 gift (or ten $150 gifts):
Sponsor one of our new live community education events featuring local artists, farmers, soil experts, and NYC historians.
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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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While the sorts of environmental problems that can best be solved by “green” consumerism are admittedly small, they do add up if a lot of us do them together. One of my guiltiest pleasures is my love of paper towels. They clean up everything and you can just get rid of them- you can even compost them. But despite all the rationalizations, the numbers speak for themselves: In the US alone, we use 13 BILLION pounds of paper towels, or 45 pounds per person per year. And while I can’t find any numbers on sponges, they usually stay wet for long periods of time and can harbor all sorts of bacteria. In fact, the kitchen sponge may be the dirtiest thing in your entire house!
The Swedish Dishcloth has the amazing ability to (mostly) replace both products and change your life.
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