Last week I sat on the EcoReps Sustainability Abroad panel and had a chance to think back about my time abroad in Sydney. Almost two years ago I wrote an exaggerated “tell-all” Sustainablog post highlighting my first impressions of sustainability in Sydney. It was really interesting to look back and reflect on those impressions as I have continued to think about sustainability here in New York. Read more
For the second year in a row, me and some of my fellow EarthMatters executive board members attended the fifth annual Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)’s Students for Zero Waste Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. PLAN’s mission is to supply college students with resources to help their campuses go zero waste. Environmental and climate justice were major themes at this years conference with a specific emphasis on points of intervention. Read more
For those of us who are aggressively eco-conscious, it can be difficult to bring awareness to our less “green” friends. We’ve all been there: you’re out to lunch with a friend and they pull out a cringeworthy, disposable plastic water bottle. It’s great to urge those around you to make more sustainable choices, but remember, it’s not always easy to break lifelong habits.
Instead of shaming them and shoving a million facts about carbon emissions, global warming and waste etiquette down their throats, try a more subtle approach to integrating sustainability into the conversation.
Here are some easy ways to help your friends and family become more sustainable without them even knowing it!
A landfill turned urban parkland seems an unlikely way to deal with waste but that is exactly what’s happening at Freshkills Park in Staten Island. Fresh Kills Landfill, once the largest in the world was officially capped and closed in 2001. Since then the site has transformed into a 2,200 acre urban park. The soil infrastructure layered over the landfill has allowed the site to become a distinct space for wildlife, recreation, and education. The park is still in the works and will not be officially open to the public until 2036. However, the Freshkills Park Alliance provides regular opportunities for people to visit and engage with the site through hiking, biking, photography, and more. Read more
My taxi rolled up to the curb a few buildings away from 83 Quay in Haymarket, Sydney Australia. Still disoriented from the 13 hour and 45 minute flight from SFO, the damp 95 degree heat and the dizzying ride on the left side of the road, I walked into the Urbanest Student Accommodation— an apartment style building for students from US universities like NYU studying abroad as well as students studying at nearby Sydney universities. I was greeted by a very friendly combination of Urbanest and NYU Sydney staff… and all the disposable plastic water bottles my heart desired. Although my reusable NYUGREeN water bottle had only a sip of warm water left in it, I resisted the urge to take the chilled plastic bottles I was offered each time it became obvious that the foreign heat was taking a toll on me.
Plastic and waste
When I finally got up to my room, I found that there was yet another plastic water bottle sitting on my desk.The mop bucket was the best I could do without a real recycling bin in the kitchen. There was no information about recycling in the building or any signs indicating nearby bins. I found out shortly after that there is in fact a recycling bin in the building, but without any encouragement from the staff or general information about recycling in the building along with the single waste bin in each kitchen, it seems unlikely that recycling is regular behavior at Urbanest. At the Science House, where classes are held, there are clearly marked trash and recycling bins in the Student Center, however, they aren’t advertised during orientation. Read more