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Category Archives:

Sustainability

Puerto Rico Needs Support After Hurricane Fiona

It’s been a relatively quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic so far this year, but Mother Nature walloped Puerto Rico with a Category 1 hurricane that caused island-wide blackouts on Sunday. As in 2017, organizations are working to send solar equipment and technical expertise (and Solar One is participating in those efforts; see details below), there are things that individuals can do to help.

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Ravenswood Generating Station to Go 100% Renewable

Ravenswood PlantThe four red and white smokestacks that loom over the western edge of Queens are a familiar sight to New Yorkers, but a plan to convert the Ravenswood Generating station to 100% renewables could mean that their days of spewing smoke are coming to an end.

Ravenswood currently supplies about 20% of NYC’s electricity by burning natural gas and oil, running four large generator, the largest of which is nicknamed Big Allis. As Solar One got to see on a field trip there many years ago, the amount of fuel required to keep the turbines spinning at Ravenswood is awe-inspriing…and terrifying. It also contributes to some of the worst air quality in town; child asthma rates in the three NYCHA housing developments that surround the plant are significantly higher than in the rest of Queens.

Its emissions are also at odds with New York’s ambitious climate goals, which is why the current owner, Rise, Light and Power, is working on a plan to convert to zero-emissions, 100% renewable generation.

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States Are Using Green Amendments for Climate Protection

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to mandate emissions from power plants in West Virginia v. EPA. This decision has been widely seen as a blow to the country’s ability to meet its climate goals, which would also give other countries an excuse not to meet their own.

But now some states are responding by introducing climate amendments to their constitutions, enshrining the right to a clean and healthy environment in their own Bills of Rights.

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Sustainable Irrigation Could Help Feed More than a Billion People

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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On a Mission to Make Compost Cool

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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Demystifying Plastics Recycling

Hard, soft, colored, clear, film, food safe, medical and on and on- the variety of plastic products in our lives is extensive to the point of being overwhelming. Plastic particles have been found in the middle of the Pacific ocean, in the stomachs of animals, fish and birds, and even in human lungs and bloodstreams. And as oil companies look toward a future with much less dependence on their products as fuel for heat, electricity and transportation, it’s expected that the production of plastics is going to increase over time, at least in the short term.

Even though plastics recycling has been mandatory in NYC since 1989, it can be difficult to understand the rules. Overall, less than 50% of recyclable materials are recovered. Plastic dishware, including cups, plates and utensils, which can be recycled as rigid plastics in NYC, have only a 5% capture rate.

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