Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CMRC to Host Seminar on Sustainable Design & Development April 24th

The CMRC’s Business Stewardship Initiative is proud to announce our second year of the Stewardship Speaker Series!

Sustainable Design & Development: April 24th - Save the Date!!!

On April 24th, 2007, we will host a seminar on “Sustainable Design and Development: Policy and Planning Implications” that will explore the
challenges and opportunities to greening real estate in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Bight. Please stay tuned for further details including a great panel of speakers and location of the event.

CMRC Business Stewardship Speaker Series
Sustainable Design and Development
April 24th

The CMRC’s Business Stewardship Initiative seeks to integrate the resources of local businesses with conservation efforts by leveraging available human and financial capital and increasing pollution prevention awareness within corporations, small businesses and industry. We would like to thank our sponsors and partners for their continued support and are looking forward to a great year!

For more information please visit
http://www.thecmrc.org/prog-hbp-bsp.asp or contact us at business.stewardship@thecmrc.org

Image: Green Roof Design Courtesy American Wick Drain (www.americanwick.com)

Friday, March 16, 2007

In the News: The Real Riddle of Changing Weather: How Safe Is My Home?

Sea-level rise is certainly going to be a big issue in the next decade, especially if current warming trends continue. We are a coastal city with a large portion of our population lying between 0-10 feet above sea level. Insurers have recently caught drift of this information and are now unwilling to offer flood policies. One solution proposes to build a four giant seagates to protect property. Unfortunately, the gates would only protect those inside the seawall and would actually greatly increase the effects outside. How about this. We actually acknowledge that we are a coastal city and spend the money rebuilding marshes throughout the city to act as a buffer to flooding events. Reduce development in high risk areas. Create sand dunes where they once existed and creating rolling easements on coastal property. Put great public transportation networks in place so that when storms do come people can be moved quickly to higher ground. Improve stormwater infrastructure so that when flooding occurs it drains as effectively and sewage free as possible. Is that really too much to ask?...JB

Image: Flooding Risk Areas by NYC OEM

By Teri Karush Rogers
Published: March 11, 2007

By now it is no longer news that people are jiggling the planet’s thermostat.

One response is to go green: New Yorkers who were terrified into action by Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” are shaping up their lives and homes with a compulsion formerly reserved for the Atkins diet.

All this carbon cutting is a boon, and it certainly provides a moral high ground. But it fails to address one pesky truth: no matter how green New York City becomes, it remains hostage to huge amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions already in the pipeline and from the future environmental transgressions of others, facts made clear in the bleak conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released last month in Paris.

With no obvious savior in the wings, there is a growing urgency that global warming be understood at a local level, right down to the block, starting with: How could a rising sea level and pummeling storms affect the trillion dollars’ worth of property New Yorkers call home?
“It’s all pointing in a bad direction,” said Stuart Gaffin, an associate research scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University. “There’s nothing good to encourage you to think we’re going to avoid long-term flooding events.”

Read more:

New York City Office of Emergency Management

SUNY Stony Brook's Marine Research Center

Thursday, March 08, 2007

In the News: Cost to Operate S.I. Ferries Soared Over the Last 5 Years

The City's Independent Budget Office reported earlier this month that costs to operate the Staten Island Ferry doubled from $40 to $84 million between 2002 and 2007, adding fuel to the debate on water-based transporation in the region. For the most part, the increases were attributed to security upgrades (post 9/11 and 2003 crash). However, ridership did increase over 10% during the same time period to 20 million riders annually, indicating that demand is still very much high for this energy efficient and environmentally friendly form of transportation...JB

Image: State Island Ferry with in New York Harbor from Wikipedia

By Sewell Chan
Published March 7, 2007

New York City’s operating costs for the Staten Island ferry system have more than doubled in five years, largely because of reforms instituted after a deadly October 2003 crash, according to a report released yesterday.

The increase, to $83.8 million this year from $40.2 million in 2002, is most likely to be enduring, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office, which issued the report. It found that safety and security expenses were the greatest cause of the increase.

Read More:

NYC's Independent Budget Office Memo on Rising Ferry Costs

NYC Department of Transporation SI Fery Page

Wikipedia on the SI Ferry

Google Map with SI Ferry Route Highlighted

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CMRC Participates in Mayor's Office of Sustainability "PlaNYC 2030"

On Tuesday, March 6, the CMRC joined together with the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and numerous non-profit organizations, government agencies and local residents in New York to discuss the city's future development and conservation plans.

The meetings, appropriately named "
PlaNYC 2030," focused on a variety of topics ranging from community development and transportation to parks and waterways. During the town-hall style meeting participants listened to an overview of the city's effort, presented by Director Rohit Aggarwala, outlining Mayor Bloomberg's vision and the Office's Mission (created December 2006) and presenting its diverse Advisory Board. In addition, PlaNYC outlined ten focus areas for a sustainable future:

  • Housing
  • Congestion
  • Open Spaces
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Air Quality
  • Brownfields
  • Waterways
  • Climate Change

During breakout sessions with participants, the dialog quickly shifted to creating solutions for our communities and local environment. Many of the topics connected directly to our waterways and coasts, including the potential for increasing water-based transportation to reduce traffic, the impacts of climate change on sea-level rise and green roofs and sustainable design incentive programs to reduce stormwater and energy/water usage.

The event proved very successful for creating a dialog on the issue, but many were also skeptical of its long-term reality. Kevin Powell (of MTV fame, now a journalist and Brooklyn resident) pointed out during the feedback session, "We need the Mayor to step up and make the Office of Sustainability a permanent office to ensure that the recommendations of these meetings are carried out over then next twenty-three years."

The comment was well received by participants and left the author thinking "what will it take to make this amazing collaborative initiative one that produces on-the-ground results and not just another report?"

Only time (well about 23 years) will tell....JB

Photos: Disappearing Wetlands, Alex McLean
Governors Island Swim, NYC Economic Development Corporation

PlaNYC Homepage

PlaNYC Waterways Page

Mayors Vision and Advisory Board

Advisory Board Members
Hon. Daniel L. Doctoroff, Chair Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding
Hon. Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council
Carlton Brown, Principal and COO, Full Spectrum NY, LLC
Marcia Bystryn, Executive Director, New York League of Conservation Voters
Robert Fox, Partner, Cook + Fox Architects
Ester Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Andrew H. Darrell, Regional Director, Environmental Defense
Hon. James F. Gennaro, Council Member and Chair, Committee on Environmental Protection Ashok Gupta, Air & Energy Program Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
Michael Northrop, Program Director, Sustainable Development Program, Rockefeller Brothers Ed Ott, Executive Director, NYC Central Labor Council
Elizabeth C. Girardi Schoen, Senior Director, Global Environment, Health, and Safety, Pfizer Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director and Co-Founder, West Harlem Environmental Action Steven Spinola, President, Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
Daniel R. Tishman, Chairman and CEO, Tishman Construction Corporation K
athryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City
Robert D. Yaro, President, Regional Plan Association
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre, Executive Director, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park