Category Archives: Sustainable communities

President Obama defines sustainable economy

In his public address to the nation about the momentous decision by SCOTUS to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama urged America to get to the work of, “… creating an economy which ensures that when Americans work hard, they will get ahead.”

This sounds to me like the exact definition of a sustainable economy. Getting ahead: having a future and having a good life, is what sustainable living and economics are all about.

Education and fun at the 2012 Fair Lawn Green Fair

Please join us for this educational and fun community event sponsored by the Fair Lawn Borough Mayor, Council & Green Team. Learn about what the borough’s Sustainable Jersey certification means to residents, and congratulate Pat Larocco, winner of the Fair Lawn 2012 Going Green Award. The event is free and open to the public!

Fair Lawn Green Fair 2012
Tuesday May 22 6-9:00pm in the D-Cafe
Fair Lawn High School @ 14-00 Berdan Avenue
View the event on Facebook!

Giveaways and Special Promotions!

You could win a rain barrel from The Green Wei or receive the gift of an Eastern White Pine tree (over 50 will be given away). Kits with 10 CFL bulbs, 2 lamps and 2 LED night-lights will be on sale for $10 ($70 value) from a NJ State Green Communities program administrator.

Workshops and Demonstrations

Build Your Own Rain Barrel Demo
Composting Lessons
Rain Garden Education & Demonstration
Make Eco-friendly Paper Pots
Learn to crochet a bag from plastic shopping bags!
Gardening tips from the Master Gardeners


Fair Lawn Borough Organizations
     Community Garden, Garden, Open Space & Shade Tree Committees
     Historic Preservation & Environmental Commissions
Fair Lawn Sunshine Rotary club
Fair Lawn Schools
Garretson Forge and Farm
Green Living Solutions
Hackensack Riverkeeper
League of Women Voters
Lime Energy
NJ Food & Water Watch
Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador
NY/NJ Trail Conference
The Wei
Master Gardeners of Bergen County
The Wei
Green Wei
Green Drinks

For more information 201-794-5327 or

Community Activism Training Materials

Activism 101 primer: They Said it Was Impossible: How to Win Progressive Change When the Odds Are Against Us by LAANE in Los Angeles

99% Spring Activism Training Videos

Not easy to find ideal venue for Hackensack Green Drinks

Green Drinks Hackensack has been meeting at Victor’s Maywood Inn in Maywood since our first meeting venue, The Restaurant, burnt down. Victor’s has been very hospitable to us and they have great food, but there are a few reasons we’d like to find a new home for our monthly get-togethers:

  • We’d like to meet in downtown Hackensack because it’s convenient for local residents to access by biking or walking, and it also houses the regional county bus hub.
  • We’re getting a bit cramped at our table in the bar area of Victor’s, where we meet, but don’t relish the idea of sitting in the restaurant portion of the place because it’s kind of formal for the type of gathering we enjoy holding.
  • When there are sports games on Monday nights or the regular bar patrons decide to play the juke box, it’s so loud it’s hard to carry on conversations. Ultimately, conversation about sustainability and the environment is what Green Drinks is all about.

Last night the group gathered was rolling ideas around about a change in venue, and I thought of a restaurant I’ve eaten at several times that’s located on Main Street and has great food. It’s a tradition for Green Drinks to take place in places that serve liquor, and this place doesn’t, but this is not a requirement or a big consideration for us anyway, since 70% of our members don’t drink at meetings. This morning I reached out to the restaurant’s owner to discuss the idea of us meeting there, but although he admits to his place being pretty empty on Monday nights, he still isn’t keen on the idea of hosting us.

In the couple of years I’ve been scouting out good places to meet, B is certainly not the first venue owner to offer discouragement instead of a warm welcome. He wanted us to commit to ordering a minimum amount per person, something I’m not willing to do since inclusion is part of the Green Drinks philosophy I’m sure B’s not asking casual diners who happen by on a given Monday night to do the same, so that’s a discriminatory practice! When restauranteurs hear “environmental”, do they think of wispy hippy types who consume only alfalfa sprouts, honey and wheat bread and ride bikes because they can’t afford to drive cars – and can’t imagine the reality: that the north Jersey Green Drink crowd contains plenty of professionally employed home owners who eat out on a regular basis?

I ended up asking myself – and now I’m asking followers: do you think it’s shortsighted of a food establishment’s owner to discourage Green Drinks from gathering there on an off night mainly because we won’t guarantee consumption of a minimum amount of food per person? Since I was thinking about it, I made up a list of:

Reasons a venue can benefit from hosting Green Drinks gatherings

  • If the menu’s good at the place we meet, group members do order food. For some reason, many Green Drinkers are also foodies. Sometimes, every member of the group eats.
  • We meet on Mondays and Tuesdays because those are off nights for restaurants. We want to be able to chat easily without the distraction of too much ambient noise, and feel at ease holding the kind of lively discussions Green Drinks is famous for.
  • It costs a restaurant to be open whether or not they have customers, so why not fill the seats at empty tables?
  • It’s easier to draw diners into a full place than an empty one.
  • Places empty on off nights benefit from a bit of revenue by having us there, no matter how much our group spends
  • If Green Drinkers like a venue, they will introduce friends to it and patronize it on other occasions besides our monthly meetings.
  • Over 3,000 people a month receive announcements about Green Drinks meetings and the venues where we hold them.
  • A host venue can show its support for environment health and making their community more sustainable just by hosting Green Drinks gatherings (=free advertising).
  • By listening in on – or actively participating in – our conversations, business owners can learn about ways to save money and enhance their communities through implementing sustainability practices.