Category Archives: Help

Your own backyard is a great place to help butterflies and bees

Butterflies in field
Sourece: Judy Kesser via Monarch Joint Venture
Naturalist Don Torino suggests using your own backyard to help the butterflies and bees survive and thrive:

…There is still much more for us to do, especially in our own backyards.

This spring dig under some of that useless lawn, remove some non-natives and put aside some room in your flower beds for some milkweed and native wildflower nectar sources. Many local garden centers now carry multiple species of milkweed which will work in the backyard. Some better garden centers are now even setting aside spaces for native wildflowers like Milkweeds Goldenrod, Joe-pye weed and NY Ironweed to name a few.

Unlike many environmental issues which at times can seem overwhelming, this is an issue we can do something about. We don’t need to write to our Congressman or the Governor and hope that something gets done. Just plant some milkweed and other native wildflowers that provide nectar and you’ve just made our environment a better place.

Together we can turn our local communities into environments that are welcoming to the Monarch butterfly and that will give a fighting chance to a creature that can sure use our help.

If you have any questions on milkweed or other native plants feel free to contact me at Greatauk4@gmail.com

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Huge news: Shell has withdrawn from drilling in the Arctic

#shellno-Dennis Bratland
Source: Dennis Bratland via Wikipedia
At his Climate Reality training in Florida, Al Gore just shared the news that Shell has withdrawn its plans to drill in the Arctic. This is a boon for the environment and the health of Mother Earth and global citizens everywhere. Thank you Lord!

Coverage by The Guardian and the WSJ.

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Help for pollinators – from the simple to the sublime

pollinator friendly actionsNational Pollinator Week (June 15-21) just ended but nobody’s going to mind if you keep supporting beautiful bees and butterflies all year round. Your kids will actually thank you one day.

For inspiration, check out the probono project With Honey In My Heart is leading to transform a paved San Francisco street into a pollinator sanctuary but remember – the power to save our pollinators lies within easy reach of most of us.

Pollinator Blvd

Peepoople bags turn people waste into valuable fertilizer

peepoople bagsThe production of Peepoople bags is being subsidized by its creator, Anders Wilhelmson, but this brilliant idea could become completely self-funding once it catches on more in developing countries. The bags currently cost users 3.4¢. FastCompany writes:

For less than four cents a bag, Peepoople’s mobile toilet takes dangerous waste and turns it into valuable fertilizer. Peepoople makes bags for going to the toilet, but not any old bags. Inside are chemicals that break down the poo and pee into fertilizer. Peepoople’s bags not only help contain dangerous waste, offering alternative sanitation in slums and refugee camps. They also begin to turn the feces into a positive material that can nourish crops.

The business was started 10 years ago by Anders Wilhelmson, an architect, urban planner, and professor at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology … (who) started to think of the bag – which he considers a sort of mobile toilet, something akin to what a cell phone is to a landline.

You can help the arctic birds of the Boreal Forest

Snowy Owl by Brian Hansen
Snowy Owl by Brian Hansen

Boreal means bird. The National Wildlife Fund’s Gaby Chavarria explained in a 2004 article, the largely untouched Boreal Forest haven is under threat from logging, mining and drilling for gas and oil. It is, “one of the largest intact forests on the planet — the size of more than 10 Californias.” What’s being destroyed?

Billions of birds rely on the boreal forest – the sweeping expense of trees across Canada – for critical breeding grounds and summer residences. Unfortunately, clear cutting is taking its toll, as environmentally sound forestry practices are not commonplace here.

Much of the resource development in the boreal is spurred by the United States, which is the leading importer of Canadian wood products. Driving the demand for cheap pulp is junk mail, advertising inserts, newsprint, toilet paper, magazines and catalogs. In fact, according to the American Bird Conservancy, more than a third of all newsprint used in the United States originates from boreal forests.

Protecting these forests requires action on many fronts. Some retail companies such as IKEA, The Home Depot and Staples, have already vowed to avoid purchasing wood products from there.

And here’s how you can help save the forest:

You can do something, too. Besides seeking out products made from post-consumer recycled paper, recycling and being resourceful with the paper products you absolutely have to have, call or write to the magazines, newspapers and catalogs that you receive and tell them you want them to print only on post-consumer recycled paper. Or request delivery of these publications in electronic format, when available. Then sit back and enjoy all the warblers, finches, flycatchers and sparrows that fly back to your yard this spring, and know that you worked to help them make it. ~ Heidi Ridgley

To learn more about the Boreal Forest and conserving it, visit borealbirds.org

See NWF’s favorite fotos of 2014

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Watch a village rescue an upside down elephant

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 1.15.25 PMIt took a whole village to rescue this upside down elephant. A young male had fallen into a ditch back down and was dug in there. Enter a team of IFAW Animal Rescue Workers with shovels, who dig around the little big guy until he had enough room to right himself by rolling over. While they worked, residents of the nearby village turned out to watch from tree perches and surrounding terrain.

When he is able to rise to his feet, the little guy heads off for the jungle … ambling … the way elephants do.

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Assembly Dems act to protect NJ from pipeline tragedy like Montana’s

McKeon & Jasey
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) reiterated their opposition to the proposal for the Pilgrim Pipeline, a 178-mile oil pipeline that would cross 30 New Jersey municipalities, after a Montana pipeline breached on Saturday January 17 2015, spilling up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil, some of which seeped into the Yellowstone River and has contaminated the local water supply. They fear that the Albany, NY to Linden, NJ Pilgrim Oil Pipelines could cause a similar disaster in New Jersey.

No Pilgrim Pipeline

“Presumably, Bridger Pipeline told the people of Montana that this catastrophe was utterly impossible – just like Pilgrim Pipeline has tried to placate us with claims that advanced technology makes pipelines safe – but the Montana residents whose tap water smells and tastes like oil unfortunately now know all too well the very real threat an oil pipeline is to land, water and the public’s health and safety,” said Jasey. “Safe drinking water is a fundamental human need, and particularly in light of this – the most recent of far too many examples – we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that New Jersey never faces a similar disaster.”

Jasey noted that constituents have expressed their disapproval of the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal at numerous community meetings. The legislators plan to hold more public forums to hear the concerns of local residents.

“The Pilgrim Pipeline project simply is not right for New Jersey, and our residents have made their stance against it absolutely clear. In addition to denouncing the potential for the Pilgrim Pipeline to contaminate the Highlands, which supply drinking water for two-thirds of New Jersey’s residents, they reject exposing the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, home to numerous plants and animals, to one of the most flammable fuels in the world,” said McKeon. “The oil spill in Montana is a tragic manifestation of every fear New Jersey families and environmental advocates have about the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal. Our first priority is always protecting the people and natural beauty of New Jersey, and as such, we will remain steadfast in fighting against this plan.”

Jasey and McKeon are sponsors of a bipartisan resolution to oppose the Pilgrim Pipeline project (AR-191). The measure in December gained Assembly approval.

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Give away instead of throw away with Freecycle.org

FreecycleFreecycle is a fantastic resource for getting rid of items still in usable condition that you don’t want any more … and for getting free items that could be in great condition – or even new. It’s like a hand-me-down exchange you share with everyone in your community. You can use Freecycle just once or several times a day.

There are only a few rules in the overall Freecycle community, but individual groups may have extra rules of their own. Pay careful attention, as violations can lead to members being censored or even, banned. The most important rule is that everything exchanged on Freecycle must be free.

Use Freecycle to

  1. Post items you want to give away
  2. Ask for items you want or need – anything from a cars to a scarf
  3. Request an item someone else has posted (by sending a reply to the poster)

Get started by:

Visiting the Freecycle.org website. Look for a group in your area and join it. You can view new messages and post them via email, or by visiting your group’s web page.

Good items get snatched up pretty quickly in active groups, so when you’re in receive mode it makes sense to sign up to for email notifications. The volume of posts might be heavy, but you’ll see them quicker. When you’re no longer actively looking to receive items, change your group preference to read new posts on-line instead of via email.

Respond ASAP directly to the poster when you see an item you want. Don’t feel shy about sharing a bit of information about why you want it, but send your reply quickly.

Answer with the information the poster requests

Also, be sure to honor the request of posters when they ask for specific information to be included with replies. The intent of Freecycle is simply to keep good items out of landfills, thereby cutting down on waste. But, posters are free to choose recipients for their items and some want them going to individuals who will make personal use of them.

That’s why some posters set up simple tests to distinguish replies intentionally sent by people from those sent by autoresponders – apps set up by people who request every item posted and sell the most valuable ones they receive. The test question might be your phone number, or it might ask for the sum of 2 numbers: simple information humans will have no trouble providing but autoresponders are not able to process.

Most posters will also want to know when you plan to pick up an item.

Freecycling is a community activity and helps the environment

I’ve been using Freecycle for several years and have given away a TV, two beds, curtains, a wheelbarrow, two Razor scooters, a moped (in need of repair), decorative pillows and many other items. I’ve received an almost-new computer tower, perfumes, clothing, DVDs, a bike, an awesome pair of Van sneakers that an older teen outgrew, a huge toy box we converted into a laundry holder and some other great stuff.

It’s excellent for the environment to gift items instead of throwing them out, and it’s nice to be part of a community of people who believe this is an important activity. I hope you’ll become a Freecycle convert too and if you do, maybe I’ll see you on the Bergen County, NJ Freecycle Group.

Happy Freecycling!

Green Drinks in 3 No Jersey enviro justice cities in December. Come talk sustainability!

Thanksgiving 2013 Group Photo
GreenDrink logo with wordsGreen Drinks are not a type of drink – that’s just our name! Green Drinks meets monthly in three north Jersey cities – we hold informal gatherings bringing people together to chat over food about green and sustainable issues relevant to our lives and communities. Green Drinks meetings are open! Everyone is welcome and there is no admission fee. Pay for the food and drinks you order at the restaurants where we meet – each location serves good food at moderate prices.

Discussion themes this month

  1. Replacing New Jersey’s climate change denying congressman – Scott Garrett
  2. Collecting toys, clothing, coats and money for holiday gifts
  3. Alternative fuel vehicles for personal and municipal use
  4. Growing the Green Drinks community in 2014!

Green Drinks Newark 1st Mondays | 7-9pm
December: 02 Dec 2013
Agave Mexican Restaurant
118 Pacific St, Newark, NJ | 973-732-4168

Street parking

Green Drinks Hackensack 2nd Mondays | 7-9pm
December: 09 Dec 2013
Villa de Colombia
12 Mercer Street, Hackensack, NJ
Parking if restaurant lot is full:
Weekdays after 7 across street in jewelry business parking lot
Weekends in Salvation Army lot on the corner of Mercer & State Streets

Green Drinks Clifton-Paterson (this location has no fixed date or spot for now)
December: Tues, 17 Dec 2013 | 7-9pm
Sultan Restaurant
429 Crooks Avenue, Clifton NJ (on the Paterson border)
Safe street parking

Sustainable & green training/events – March

Check back for updates.
Calendar treeNewark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency – Apply through 3/15
The Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency is an innovative Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program offered at Montclair State University in partnership with the Newark Public Schools. Participants will receive free tuition and a $26,000 stipend. A 3-year teaching commitment is required.

Residents enroll in full-time graduate coursework each semester (summer sessions included) and participate in summer internships with community based organizations in the city of Newark. Applications are currently being accepted for Secondary level (K-12) subject matter certification in mathematics or a field of science. Final Application Deadline extended till Friday, March 15, 2013.

More at http://greenwei.com/blog/free-tuition-stipend-for-msu-masters-urban-teacher-residency/

Is Our Water Safe To Drink?
Public Hearing in East Orange sponsored by Councilwoman Alicia Holman
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 6:30 – 8:30pm
CITY HALL, 44 CITY HALL PLAZA, E. ORANGE
https://www.facebook.com/events/557057327645425/

Newark Kids Count 2013 Forum
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:30am – 2:30pm
The Paul Robeson Campus Center
350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark
https://www.facebook.com/events/386113894821185/#

Using an interactive format, we will explore issues that threaten Newark children and identify concrete next steps that we, as a community, can take. We will focus on two broad areas – child and maternal health and early literacy. Special guests include Newark’s Branch Brook Elementary Principal Joseph Cullen, whose students achieve well above city and state averages on reading tests. The event is free, but you must register to attend. A complimentary breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Register at http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8716/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=71612. For more information contact Reggie Dorsey at rdorsey@acnj.org

NJ Land Conservation Rally
One-day educational conference about preserving
New Jersey’s open space and farmland
Saturday, March 9, 2013 9am – 5pm
NJ Institute of Technology
Newark, New Jersey

Online registration will close at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 5. Registration fee will remain at $80 per person for a full day of educational & inspiring workshops, breakfast, lunch and social reception. Register online today! Registration will also be accepted at the door.

If you live or work in Newark, Rally scholarships are available, thanks to Victoria Foundation. To become eligible: download, fill out and return registration form.

1st Annual Patricia Harris Parent Summit
Saturday, March 9, 2013 9am – 5pm
John F. Kennedy High School
Paterson NJ

Citywide Parent Summit to continue Pat’s legacy of effective parental involvement and engagement in school improvement.
https://www.facebook.com/events/481929115201697/

Kokokidz Latino Youth Peer Empowerment Group Meeting
Sunday, March 10, 2013 5-6:30pm
Villa de Colombia
12 Mercer Street
Hackensack, NJ
https://www.facebook.com/events/427537817332045/

Young Latinos support each other in the areas of career, education, applying for scholarships, civic engagement, sustainability practices and cultural preservation in their communities. Kokokidz meets once or twice a month in Hackensack or another North Jersey town. If you’re a Latino student junior high school through college age, Kokokidz will help you be more effective in your life and learn to make positive change happen in your school and community.

Contacts:
Ivan Wei 201-688-0036 @ivanwei
Luis Ariel Lopez Wei @lalwei

If you’re available as an adult mentor please contact our advisor Kimi Wei on Facebook or Twitter to discuss volunteer opportunities.

Community Service: We are looking at different types of community service opportunities. If you have a cause or event you’d like us to engage with please share details.

Kokokidz is currently helping with the movement to Close New Jersey schools on Martin Luther King Jr. Day https://www.facebook.com/pages/Close-NJ-Schools-on-MLK-Jr-Day/276810379041778

Climate Action Meeting at Cook College
Sunday, March 10 7pm
Cook Campus Center (Rutgers)
59 Biel Road, Room 202, A & B
New Brunswick, NJ

The meeting will begin with a video chat featuring Bill McKibben of 350.org, followed by a discussion of what actions to do next on the local, state and national levels. Come with ideas and bring friends. The momentum depends on each one of us to act now! For a short capsule of the February 17 Forward on Climate rally event go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=anXE46utpo8

Sponsored by Melanie McDermott, Initiative on Climate and Society, Rutgers University and Tina Weishaus, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

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