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Archive for November, 2011

Written by Olivia Twining

 

clip_image002Stacy Murphy, an urban farmer in Brooklyn New York, has started a business called BK Farmyards that provides local food distribution to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to help provide green jobs for people. Stacy has dedicated her life to seeking out unutilized land in New York and transforming it into gardens full of fresh produce. Best part is, BK Farmyards does all the work for you. If you have any unutilized land you are willing to share, you can contact Stacy and her team of farmers, and they will come plant and harvest crops on your land.

“I think there’s a gap in the food system. There’s available land that’s underutilized, and people who want to use that land.” – Stacy Murphyclip_image006

If there are over 10,000 unused acres in New York, why not take advantage of the fertile land? Stacy Murphy is growing more than just produce; she is growing a green community that is helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels and other limited resource. She is also supplying job opportunities to people of all ages.

Iclip_image004n order for America to continue its journey towards a more sustainable society, backyard farming needs to become more prevalent in all states. Stacy needs to gain national attention so she can share her story and agricultural ideas about backyard farming in order to really connect with America and make a difference. I believe that if BK Farmyards expanded to all across the nation, it would help America to become a “greener” society and it would also help to decrease the use of limited resources and harmful pollutants.

To Learn More About BK Farming Click Here: www.bkfarmyards.comclip_image007

Green Business Thumb: http://3blmedia.posterous.com/green-business-thumb-bk-farmyards-turns-littl

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Written by Meghan Mitchell

 

In class we have been talking about over population. Although this might not have been the problem Stefano Boeri was trying to solve, I believe that this kind of thinking is a step to solving future problems. Stefano Boeri has designed a vertical forest and Milan is prepared to build it. Boeri has a vision of a garden city and wants to make Milan less polluted, crowded, and inhumane. When first reading about this brilliant idea I thought about the cost. However once I realized all the benefits, more room, more plants and a better environment, it lead me to believe that the benefits out weighed the cost and this is something that should be done everywhere. “The Bosco Verticale building has a green façade planted with dense forest systems to provide a building microclimate and to filter out polluting dust particles. The living bio-canopy also absorbs CO2, oxygenates the air, moderates extreme temperatures and lowers noise pollution, providing aesthetic beauty and lowering living costs.”

Since the over population of humans is rapidly diminishing the rainforests, could vertical forests be the solution? If the over population of our world keeps increasing at this rapid rate, could vertical buildings be the solution? With this vertical forest idea (read more HERE), we could have almost everything we need in a building.

 

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Written by Mercedez Spears

 

As populations are increasing in urban areas the lack of natural grown food is progressing. Aquaponics is the solution. Not everybody knows that by utilizing Aquaponics you can grow a large percentage of your families food in your own home. This is a short break down of what Aquaponics actually is: Aquaculture + Hydroponics = Aquaponics!!!  Aquaculture is raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish, or prawns in tanks. Hydroponics is cultivating plants in water. (NO SOIL)clip_image002

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. It is a bio-integrated system that links recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable, flower, and/or herb production.

How does it work?

In the aquaculture waste products gather in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. The water is then led to a hydroponic system through a pump. Then the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients. After, the cleansed water recirculates back to the animals, providing them with clean water. The system repeats, eventually producing a harvest of plants and aquatic food.

You can build an Aquaponics system of any size depending on your limitations. Your system can vary from indoor or outdoor units to massive commercial units, using the same technological concepts. Most systems usually contain fresh water, although saltwater systems are plausible depending on the type of aquatic animal and vegetation.

clip_image004Aquaponics systems can be constructed anywhere there is room. On top of buildings for cities that don’t have land to spare is the essential idea for areas that can’t agriculturally produce food.

In the PES Aquaponics club we are learning how to build small mobile models that we can take to different events. We are also working on finding a place to construct a much, much larger system to start benefiting the community. We have the opportunity to gain knowledge and teach others about sustainability. It is very rewarding not only to learn and share with others but also to have the chance to use our efforts to gain scholarships and recognition.

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Written by Olivia Twining

 

 

clip_image004I’m sure everyone has heard about the BP oil spill on the news, but do they fully understand the extent of damage that has been done to the gulf and to marine life? Do they know that the toxic chemical Corexit is being poured into the ocean each day to try and dissolve the oil? The video posted above will show you what really goes on behind the scenes and the truth about what BP is hiding from us.clip_image002

The product currently being used to try and soak up the oil is called Corexit. When the Corexit dispersants are deployed on the spilled oil, the oil is broken up into tiny bio-degradable droplets that immediately sink below the surface where they continue to disperse and bio-degrade. However, as seen in the video, Corexit has been said to have clip_image006many negative (toxic) effects on the environment and on the marine life. BP has told us that Corexit is not harmful, however when having read the label, the truth is clear; Corexit is four times more toxic than the oil it is trying to dissolve. To better understand the effect that Corexit has on the environment, watch the video posted below. You can clearly see the chunks of oil (the result of using Corexit) floating beneath the surface. What has BP done to our environment?

 

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GRAND ISLE, La. — Local and state officials here voiced desperation on Thursday as their fears became far more tangible, with oil from the BP spill showing up on shore as tar balls, sheens and gooey slicks. In Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had told the oil company to immediately select a less toxic dispersant than the one it is now using to break up crude oil gushing from a ruined well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP was accused of having “fallen short” in keeping the public informed about the product Corexit. Is BP trying to hide the fact that they are using a toxic chemical to try and “cover up” the oil by forcing it to collect and clump together underneath the surface? BP is trying to make the situation appear to be better, when in reality, they are only making it worse. The oil is now turning into what locals call “thick brown frosting” and “brownie mix.” Euris DuBois, the police chief of Grand Isle, claimed “It seems like BP doesn’t care.” Read the New York Times article on Corexit HERE, and to read even more about Corexit, click HERE.

Not only did BP hide the effects of Corexit from all of America, but they also made little effort to help clean up the mess. BP did not execute the proper measures of clean up that they should have in order to please America. However, what’s done is done, and we must move forward.

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Written by Santiago Zapata

I found this video in the CBSNews web page that talks about a new revolutionary product called the “Bloom Box”, it is a full cell that  produces clean, reliable, affordable electricity. The cell uses low cost materials such as common sand that is found in most beaches around the world. It has a high electrical efficiency production unlike other energy producers like solar panels, and can convert fuel at nearly twice the rate of other technologies. As well, it is capable of using either renewable or fossil fuels. Various stacks of disks made from sand and other secret materials make the box. Each disc can power a light bulb. The box works by feeding oxygen to one side and fuel on the other side creating a chemical reaction that produces energy completely carbon neutral.  It can replace the transmission line grid. Two of those stacks of plates can power an American house. Companies like Wal-Mart, EBay, Google, Staples Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and many more are already using this technology to power their buildings. Watch the 15 min video to get a full understanding of this product

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Written by Mercedez Spears

It’s not just our meat that is contaminated anymore. Coming from a farm in Colorado, cantaloupes containing Listeria has caused many illness and deaths in the past couple months. It wasn’t till after illnesses and deaths linked to the fruit that it was recalled. How are we supposed to trust the food we eat?

U.S. government agencies are responsible for maintaining safe foods and fluids for the U.S. population and may enforce regulations to ensure contaminated products are reported, removed, recalled, and production and sales stopped until processing meets acceptable standards of safety. Listeria is considered more deadly than Salmonella or E. Coli.

After watching Food Inc. in class the past two days, does this statement above really apply? I remember it being said many meat recalls have been made but no sales have been stopped. What are our government’s acceptable standards? We don’t know really what is safe to eat anymore. What kind of solutions can we come up with that could make a difference to the situation of contaminated food?

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Written by Haley Block

Should we be celebrating the growth of our population? Monday October 31, 2011 is marked as the day that the world’s population reached 7 billion. Many babies born on that day were honored and celebrated, but shouldn’t we also look past the idea celebrating new life and concern ourselves with how our planet is becoming overpopulated.

“Demographers say it took until 1804 for the world to reach its first billion people, and a century more until it hit 2 billion in 1927. The twentieth century, though, saw things begin to cascade: 3 billion in 1959; 4 billion in 1974; 5 billion in 1987; 6 billion in 1998. The U.N. estimates the world’s population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion by 2083.”

Reading comments from others on this article I found mixed reviews. Everything from apathy to genuine concern to frustration. People know about the problem of overpopulation but no one has an answer. There are already issues with certain population policies already in force;

“While the Beijing government says its strict family planning policy has helped propel the country’s rapidly growing economy, it has also brought many problems. Soon, demographers say, there won’t be enough young Chinese to support its enormous elderly population. China, like India, also has a highly skewed sex ratio, with aid groups saying sex-selective abortions have resulted in an estimated 43 million fewer girls than there should be, given the overall population.”

However I found a more positive view on the situation as well. In this video it is explained that our population rate is actually slowing and that the population will hit a peak and come back down. It uses a roller coaster for this analogy. I found it interesting to see another point of view on the issue. It is based more on mathematical facts than real world situations and other variables but it still makes a point.

 

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