Photo credit: @julesdwit.
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Just listening to your great spot on the Aspen Ideas Fest, sustainable Bronx, green jobs for teens--all of these initiatives are so crucial. The discussion around how young people could work to find energy leaks, patch them, etc. in housing units, all sounds good --but what about ALL the stores in Soho and up and down 5th and Madison who keep their doors WIDE open all day--yesterday when it was close to 90, I walked around and saw one after another shop door open with the AC blaring out into the street. What is this??? I asked shopkeepers and they said it was "company policy," which it made it easier for shoppers to come in! In this energy crisis, this strikes me as outrageously irresponsible. Not just wasteful, but also a terrible example, a message that says, the more you have, the more you can waste. Are the designers behind these stores unconcerned about the message they are sending? Not to mention that it seems clear their high Con Ed bills must be passed on to the consumer!
Could young people be employed to photograph this phenomenon--and work in conjunction with the city who could (and should) issue fines for this practice. If we are going to ban transfats from restaurants (and bottled water?), we can ask retailers to shut their doors and conserve energy!
Thank you for reading. And thanks for the great coverage.
I've heard the NYC Health Department is advocating window air conditioner giveaways for the elderly. Do you have a position on this policy, which is not green friendly? Is there movement on making public housing more green (using green roofs instead of heat-producing, energy consuming air-conditioning)?
Jobs like much else in the economy work on a basis of supply and demand. To create more green collar jobs without a corresponding increase in demand for such jobs will accomplish little, except to reduce the value of the workers trained this way. It seems to me that a simultaneous effort, if not a preceding one should be to stimulate the demand for such jobs. A key element to do this effectively probably would be to raise the cost of all forms of energy, which would be a very tough political sell.
I am so excited to hear about the work of the Sustainable South Bronx and how people in the community are activated in not only the development of their own community, but also the leadership that is being provided for others.
It is time for others concerned about our environment, especially those of us in the white community, to recognize the negative impact of environmental degradation on poor communities in the U.S. and around the world, and to think and act in broader ways. We need to support and participate in the efforts of organizations like Sustainable South Bronx.
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Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
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