Post-Compost: The Wastewater Wetlands Project

Check out our new video documenting the partnership of Dr. Amy Berkov and Partners-for-Change fellow Rebecca Panko with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Over the last year, they’ve taken the first major steps to transform a composting lot in East River Park into an artificial wetland for wildlife and wastewater management.

There’s just so much good work being done by service-minded CCNY faculty and student fellows that we decided it was about time to capture some of the action in living color. Check out our new video documenting the partnership of Dr. Amy Berkov and research assistant Rebecca Panko (also a Partners-for-Change Fellow) with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Through the Center’s Community-Based Participatory Research fellowship program, Dr. Berkov and the team have taken the first major steps in the last year to transform a composting lot in East River Park into an artificial wetland for wildlife and wastewater management.

Turning Points at Princeton: Three Views of Hydrolic Fracking

On September 11, 2012, Sela Hong and I (Yoo Jin Lee) took a trip to Princeton University to attend a panel discussion on hydraulic fracturing. The discussion was a part of ongoing series called Turning Point, which the Princeton University Alumni Corps organized. The event featured three guest panelists: Jeff Rosalsky ’85, executive director of Pocono Environmental Education Center; Eric Clark, director of student participation in Learning Aquatic Science and History (SPLASH); and Seamus McGraw, author of End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone, and an activist and educator on the subject of hydraulic fracture. Our primary reason for attending was to learn more about fracking, which was the topic of our capstone project as colin Powell Center leadership fellows at the City College of New York.

Fracking involves the use of chemicals that are linked to serious water contamination in several states. Photo courtesy creative commons by Helen Slottje.

By Yoo Jin Lee (with Sela Hong) Center alumni

On September 11, 2012, Sela Hong and I took a trip to Princeton University to attend a panel discussion on hydraulic fracturing. The discussion was a part of ongoing series called Turning Point, which the Princeton University Alumni Corps organized. The corps is an alumni-operated organization that provides support to Princeton alumni interested in influencing their community through leadership and volunteerism. The event featured three guest panelists: Jeff Rosalsky ’85, executive director of Pocono Environmental Education Center; Eric Clark, director of student participation in Learning Aquatic Science and History (SPLASH); and Seamus McGraw, author of End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone, and an activist and educator on the subject of hydraulic fracture. Our primary reason for attending was to learn more about fracking, which was the topic of our capstone project as leadership fellows. The audience included current Princeton students, alumni, and organization representatives.

Continue reading “Turning Points at Princeton: Three Views of Hydrolic Fracking”

Save NYC’s Abandoned Buildings, Save the Planet

Converting vacant buildings to housing for homeless New Yorkers might just save the Earth from climate change.

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A vacant building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Flicker Clicker / Creative Commons

By Alex Davies, Communications Coordinator

In a January 2012 report, grassroots advocacy group Picture the Homeless surveyed vacant buildings and properties in New York City, finding enough space to house nearly 200,000 people — four times the homeless population of the city.

As the Center expands its work on environmental issues, I’ve been thinking about how the expression, “the greenest brick is the one already in the wall” applies to the report. It’s the unofficial mantra of the design section of TreeHugger, an environmental blog I contribute to. Here’s a simpler way to put it: It’s a waste (of time, money, energy, and resources) to build an entirely new structure when there’s one already there.  Continue reading “Save NYC’s Abandoned Buildings, Save the Planet”

CCNY Students Bring a New Community Garden to Harlem

Two and a half years after receiving seed funding from the Colin Powell Center, the Community Agricultural Network is running a thriving urban garden in Hamilton Heights.

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A child and a CCNY student enjoy the community garden in Hamilton Heights. Photo: City Agricultural Network

The City Agriculture Network (CAN) formed in the winter of 2010, funded by a Community Engagement Fellowship awarded to Kaizhong (Johnny) Huang by the Colin Powell Center. The goal of CAN, which received continued funding from the Center for 2010-2011, was to create a community garden from scratch in Hamilton Heights, and promote understanding and knowledge of the processes by which food can be created, distributed and consumed in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Two and a half years into the project, CAN is producing food, promoting healthy eating, and reducing the local carbon footprint. The below update on the group’s activity is by Elizabeth Kelman, a CCNY student who is now managing the network. Continue reading “CCNY Students Bring a New Community Garden to Harlem”

As the Rivers Rise, 3 Ways Harlem Needs to Prepare for a Wet Future

Rising seas pose a major threat to Harlem and New York City in the near future. Here are three concrete steps to take to get ready.

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The flooding of Harlem (here during Hurricane Irene) will be more frequent in the near future. Photo: Ennuipoet * FreeVerse Photography / Creative Commons

The sea level around New York City has risen by 12″ in the past century. By 2050, it will rise another 7″ to 12″; by 2080, 12″ to 23″ more. With 520 miles of shoreline in five boroughs, these numbers translate to an approaching disaster. Factor in the flooding subways, tunnels, sewage systems and electrical networks, and things get even worse.

If Harlem and Harlemites are to be ready for this future, there are three steps to take.

Continue reading “As the Rivers Rise, 3 Ways Harlem Needs to Prepare for a Wet Future”