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Happy Earth Day!

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We sometimes forget about Earth Day here since we feel that Mother Earth should be respected 365 days of the year. If you don’t adhere to that philosophy then today is the day to call your mother.  Hasn’t she been guilting you all winter long with her cold shoulder and icy white tears?

There are celebrations and feel-goody events.  Go! Have fun! But please remember what this is all about.  Now, we’re gonna go all preachy on you.

Since this is a home and renovation blog, let’s start there…

1. Save on the manmade energy! Unplug electronics when not in use. Don’t leave heat on with open windows. Same goes with air conditioning.  Conserve! Conserve! Conserve!

2. Keep items out of landfills! Donate furniture, clothing, appliances and housewares that you no longer need. And for the love of Mother Earth, if you’re doing a major renovation, more than half that stuff can be salvaged!

3. Buy green. Shop for recycled and vintage products. Like Reclaimed Home. See how we did that there?

4. Use low VOC paints when possible. *Disclosure:  We don’t always do that because we sometimes buy “oops” paint or need a more durable solution.

5. If you don’t have the recycling of plastics, glass and paper down by now, gotta tell ya…you may be a lost cause. Prove us wrong.

6. Turn water off while brushing teeth or doing dishes until you have to rinse.

7. Only do full loads of laundry or dishwashing unless you have an appliance that allows for half loads.

Outside of the home….

8. Do not leave your vehicle idling longer than 3 minutes. It’s the law.

9. A vegetarian diet is a gazillion times more earth friendly than a meat based diet. Check out the water consumption and rainforest destruction used in meat processing if you wish, but all you have to do is make friends with a cow or a pig to realize that.  Get thee to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary or Catskill Animal Sanctuary!  And don’t forget to carpool when you do!

10. Carry your own water bottle and travel coffee mug.

Make your mother proud!

Goodbye Planet Earth

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Planet of the Apes (1968)

It’s not everyday that I can blend my favorite musicians with the subject matter of this blog, but today is my lucky day! File this one under “green”, “treehugger”, “environment”, thank you.

Recognize this guy? It’s Carl aka Chas Smash from Madness, the ska band that has been around since the 70’s but people in this country only think of them as the one hit “Our House” wonder. Quite a shift from the danceable nutty tunes we usually see him doing.

It’s beautiful, no?

Swimming with Whales in Rockaway

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You don’t need a stinkin’ chartered boat to see whales. Nor do you need to schlep out to Montauk. Check this out. There have been whales hanging around Rockaway for a couple of weeks now. They’ve been spotted anywhere from Beach 90th to the Beach 120’s. How cool is that??


Eat Fish to Benefit Fish?

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I don’t get it. I love the NY Aquarium. Of course I want to see what’s best for them and especially their cute aquatic inhabitants. So, there’s this benefit, right? Sip for the Sea on September 12th.

Here’s the catch (pun intended). The fundraiser is a tasting of sustainable wine and food. SEAFOOD!! Maybe it’s because I’m a crazy animal rights vegetarian, but why serve seafood at a benefit for sea creatures? I guess an aquarium isn’t really benefiting sea creatures but I’d like to think it’s educational and they want the best for our underwater friends.

Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

Anyway, click on image above if you want to attend. I’m sure it’s for a good cause. Just let them know that you have a buddy who couldn’t come because there was nothing for her to eat.

Every Day is Earth Day

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Earth Day is just another day to anyone who cares about the environment the other 364 days of the year. The truth is, today should be no different. Here are 10 things you should be doing all the time to help your Mother Earth. They are so obvious that it’s nuts anyone needs to be reminded. Yeah, I mean you!

1. Turn off lights when not in the room

2. Shut off water while brushing your teeth. Water should be left on for rinsing only.

3. Same goes with washing dishes.

4. Laundry and dish washers should only be run with a full load.

5. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!

6. Vintage clothing is way cooler than that new made-in-China crap. Second hand thrift shopping is the way to go.

7. Unplug electric “vampires” that suck power even when electronics are off. That means all battery chargers, TV’s, power strips and pretty much anything else that’s plugged in.

8. Take public transit instead of your car.

9. Stop overlooking the impact of your meat based diet. You don’t want to think about how animals are tortured and killed everyday? Do you realize the natural resources that go into producing that bloody hamburger? Grains and water for feed crops, land and deforestation, methane gas produced by animals and fuel for production and transport. Yes, all that is needed for vegetable crops too, but research how many people can be fed on the resources it takes to feed one single cow.

10. End the paper trail! Does anyone still get paper bills that they pay by check? If so, you’re a total dinosaur. It’s 2013. Everything is online, man.

Subway Rat Birth Control

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For as long as I can remember, rats have been part of the NYC subway experience. Maybe not the most pleasant part, but I swear, those little guys are pretty entertaining while waiting for a train. Not everyone wants to see them though and it’s been pretty difficult to eradicate them completely.

So, what about birth control? Sounds crazy? Well, as a crazy person, I can tell you that for years I’ve been saying that we should have birth control for not only rats and mice but deer, geese and any other species we think of as “pests”.  A-ha, I’m not alone! Seems that the MTA is launching a trial run of rat birth control.

The problem is…and I kid you not…New York City rats have a finer palate than most. They’ll need to be baited with the best pizza, Egg Foo Young, KFC and bagels money could find.

Now before you start complaining about your MTA fare or tax dollars going towards this, keep in mind that the $1 million to fund this experiment is coming from the National Institutes of Health and not the MTA.

Crazy? Or brilliant?

Green Screen

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This is a few years old, but I’ve just discovered it so it’s new to me.

Hollywood is full of environmentalists. So you would think the movie industry should be green, right? Well, a film production company tried to shoot a movie that was entirely green and it didn’t go so well. Check out the trailer for “Greenlit“, a documentary on the eco-filming of “The River Why”.

Finding Nemo Plows

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*Update: Was just outside. As of 8:10am there is nothing to plow. It’s not sticking. Go to work.

Remember the year of that bad snow storm and people in the boroughs were complaining how Bloomberg took care of Manhattan but forget about us? Maybe it was the 2010 snow storm.

Anyhoo, now you can track the plow situation on NYC’s government site. Sit home in your jammies today and play with this interactive map. Or clean your house like I just might do. Maybe.

Why Oscar Madison Was A Green Pioneer

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*Originally published February 13, 2008. RIP Oscar!

Oscar Madison was the original architect of the green movement. While Felix was singlehandedly destroying the ozone layer with his aerosol spray cans, Oscar was all about conservation.

Here are some tips on how you can help save the earth by practicing the art of slovenliness. I’m channeling Oscar here, but I’ll throw in a few of my own.

1. Don’t wash your clothes. Throw them on the floor and wear them a few more times. Conserve water.

2. Leave dirty dishes in sink. Rinse only as needed.

3. Oscar saved food behind cushions. This cuts down on refrigeration.

4. Wiping your hands on window curtains reduces use of paper towels.

5. Vacuuming uses up too much electric. Mopping wastes water. The floor is only going to get dirty again. Clean it once a month at most.

6. Use bedding and towels until they smell. Really bad. Laundry not only wastes water, but electric and/or gas.

7. Why shower so often? Who are you trying to impress anyway?

8. The more you change kitty litter, the more litter and plastic garbage bags are used. Let it go for awhile.

9. Same with baby diapers. You use cloth? Big woop. Washing and drying them uses energy.

10. Don’t pick up after your dog. Save the plastic bags.

Fellow Odd Couple fanatics, check this out:

Church of Klugman
Jack Klugman just got married!

Tell Me About it, Stud.

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Once again, the East Coast is preparing to deal with another slap in the face from Mother Nature. Can’t say I blame her, what  with the way we treat her and all. Seems like only a year and two months ago we were worrying about Irene. This is supposed to be worse but so far she hasn’t showed up on my doorstep here in Bed Stuy yet.

The Rockaway house, well that one worries me. The Rockaways were evacuated yesterday, along with parts of lower Manhattan, Coney Island and other Zone A areas. My basement is ok to flood now as everything has been put on higher ground but I didn’t board up windows so I’m more concerned about the wind.

New Yorkers, myself included, seem to be freaking out about not having enough wine and coffee. The Brooklyn Fairway sold out of kale. No word yet on whether or not collard greens were still available.

Personally, I’m not too concerned about us here in the Big Apple. There may be riots in the streets if we can’t get Chinese food delivery but our allies would never lets us down.

The hurricane took the lives of 65 people so far, most of them in Haiti. It’s those folks we need to think about, not some schmucks in a high rise in Battery Park City.

Stay safe, my friends!

Renewable Energy Classes

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New York City College of Technology is offering their Spring courses in renewable energy. Learn the basics of green roof design, wind turbines and solar energy and hot water systems. Courses range from $250-$650

Check it out.

Starts 4/19. 24 hours. $250

This course is an introduction into green roof and living wall construction, installation, and maintenance. Topics include green roof benefits and incentives, planting types, waterproofing, roof membranes, drainage, horticulture, and irrigation. Two working site visits to local green roof projects are included.

Starts 4/19. 24 Hours. $250

An in-depth look at a growing energy market, this class teaches the essentials of small wind power generation. Wind speeds, site analysis, power output calculations, permits, turbine types, installation methods and expected costs of a wind system after incentives will be discussed. This training can be applied to meet the education requirement of the NABCEP Small Wind Installer Certification exam.

Starts 5/7. 40 hours. $650

An introductory solar energy course based on the NABCEP Entry Level Training guidelines.
Upon completion the student will recognize and understand components of off-grid and grid-connected PV systems as well as the interlink between  design criteria and the economic impact of various options. Students will learn to identify all basic mechanical and electrical components as well as how they are wired together to the user’s property. Recommended: Basic Mathematics.

Starts 4/30. 30 Hours. $ 550

An introductory solar thermal course based on the NABCEP Entry Level Training guidelines.This is a hands-on training course for trades people, engineers, architects, plumbers, and others who are interested in adding to or updating their existing skills for the solar thermal field. Topics covered include in-site and load analysis, safety and codes, system types, orientation, system balance procedures and maintenance.

Trees for Fulton Street

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Over here in Bed Stuy, it’s been awhile since the Fulton Street sidewalk was dug up and temporarily filled with black asphalt. Word on the street was that we were going to get benches and trees, but some of us (me) were worried that they would forget about beautifying this neck of the woods.

Well, the trees have arrived! This lazy author only walked between Nostrand and Restoration Plaza so don’t ask how much of Fulton is getting dolled up. Alls I know is that it’s near my house and I don’t get paid enough to get any more information.

Anyhoo, yay Bed Stuy!

(I know. File under “lame post”.)


World Water Day

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World Water Day

World Water Day is coming up. The annual event is held every March 22.

Much of the world faces a global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. The UN and the  global community participates in World Water Day to remind us that it is everyone’s obligation to pitch in. Let’s try to reduce poverty, disease and hunger by helping to improve sustainable access to safe drinking water and better sanitation for millions around the world.

How can you help? Here’s a list of events by region. You can also donate your voice by linking your Facebook or Twitter accounts to World Water Day.

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