Call In: Being Green

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Earth Day today. What have you done to green your life this year? AND What's your #1 green policy that you'd like to see put in place? Give us a call or comment below!

Comments [39]

the truth from bkny

Adam, I guess he should have taken a taxi huh?

Apr. 22 2009 12:31 PM
Chicago Listener

[[35 - andy from queens April 22, 2009 - 11:43AM
Big surprise that Brian's last comment was anti Walmart. That's a knee jerk liberal reaction. We live in a capitalist system, and companies like Walmart do respond to how we shop. It's like voting, and probably more effective.]]

there is a range of opinions on walmart, but just because someone is willing to buy something and a company is willing to sell it to them, doesn't mean that there aren't consequences. think SUVs, suburban sprawl and cigarettes.

lastly, companies like walmart do as much to influence how people shop as they do respond to how people shop.

Apr. 22 2009 12:07 PM
Linda Brewer from Highland Falls, NY

My husband & I moved into a new townhouse in 2007. Although the attic had fiberglass between the rafters on the ceiling as insulation, we were shocked at how cold both the attic and the house were over the winter. This past year we had closed-cell insulating foam sprayed in against the inside of the roof and the walls of the attic. The cost was $2500. Our builder was opposed to the idea of making the attic airtight, but we did it anyway. The difference is as we expected. Not only is the attic now a usable storage space that does not freeze in the winter or become hot and humid in the summer, the whole house is more comfortable. Our natural gas bill is reduced in the winter and we rarely use the air conditioner in the summer.

The one policy change I 'd like to see taken by NY lawmakers is to INCREASE THE GASOLINE TAX. Push it up 50 cents immediately & keep increasing it by 50 cents every year until NY state has raised gas prices to at least $5/gallon. Use the income to bring mass transit into the 21st Century.

Apr. 22 2009 11:51 AM
Jocelyn from Brooklyn

LED lights are more energy efficient than CFLs and they don't have mercury in them. There are a range of colors.

also, schools must recycle by law, but the law is not enforced. to join the campaign, sponsored by members of the UFT's green schools committee, go to

at the moment because of state subsidy and federal and state tax credits, photovoltaics are pretty much at parity with conventional electricity. the incentives are huge. if you can get a loan from a bank, your PV loan repayment will be less than your electric bill. call your local pv installer!

Apr. 22 2009 11:49 AM
andy from queens

Big surprise that Brian's last comment was anti Walmart. That's a knee jerk liberal reaction. We live in a capitalist system, and companies like Walmart do respond to how we shop. It's like voting, and probably more effective.

Apr. 22 2009 11:43 AM
Chicago Listener

I've also been thinking about plugging into my local "guerilla gardening" community, or maybe just "seed-bombing" vacant lots with flowers and plants that are bee and bird friendly.

Apr. 22 2009 11:42 AM
j from nyc

air conditioning & water saving tips:
1. place regular fans in a square room in the middle of 2 opposite walls aiming at an angle towards the middle of the 2 perpendicular walls. this causes the air from the fans to shear off the perpendicular walls, so that you cool the walls, thus the room itself, and create more circulation.If you have an air conditioner, you can place one of the fans in front of the AC and use a similar principle for working out the angles needed to create circulation. This will also enhance circulation if you have a ceiling fan.
2. water - i save the water i first run out of the tap and the shower for watering my plants. use a bucket, whatever. usually about half-gallon daily. if you don't have plants, this obviously won't work for you.

Apr. 22 2009 11:42 AM
Karen from Westchester

not just the lightbulbs, but also paper products for the home that have been recycled in manufacturing more than once - health food store or Trader Joe's type marketing. I hope I will be able to afford a hybrid car someday. Have repeatedly asked Westchester County Govt to observe environment policies such as turning off the lights at night, recycling and Cnty govt seems to try. They turn off all computers at night automatically. I'd like to see conservative America wake up to population control, even if they have to reject abortion rights, and I know we have to see nuclear energy. We have to get on board with UN resolutions re population control.

Apr. 22 2009 11:39 AM

I couldn't find a dimmable CFL that would work for me, so I just switched the dimmer to an on/off switch and used a regular CFL.

Apr. 22 2009 11:39 AM
Robert from NYC

Interestingly just today on WNYC news this morning I heard it announced that ConEd has been awarded a rate increase of 6.1% that goes into effect on May 1. Nice ain't it? The second increase in just over a year. Approved, no less, by the State Public Service (PUBLIC SERVICE)

Apr. 22 2009 11:39 AM
Andy from NYC

In addition to promoting bicycles, the DOT should encourage scooters and motorcycles that reduce congestion and get up to 100 mpg by creating dedicated two-wheeled street parking or legalizing sidewalk parking in certain areas. For people who live too far away to ride a bicycle to work, riding a 150cc scooter like mine that can go 60 mph and gets 80 miles per gallon is a fun, green and economical way to commute!

Apr. 22 2009 11:38 AM
Dave from Princeton Junction, NJ

I greened my career, I used to work on Madison Ave., now I'm an urban planner helping to craft land use and environmental policy for the region.

Apr. 22 2009 11:38 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

Hey rachel from manhattan, have you thought of just getting lampshades to cover your new bulbs --- something that would cast a warm glow?

Apr. 22 2009 11:38 AM
Gordon Stanley from Hell's Kitchen

What we do: We have a great composting bin that has totally transformed the soil in our backyard.

Policy change: the City should encourage use of motion detectors for public hallway lighting. For a brownstone condo we pay about $150/ month for hallway lighting. It burns 24/7, and is only in use (ie someone is in the hallways) at most 1 hour per day. I'll bet the condo could reduce total electricity use by 2/3.

Apr. 22 2009 11:38 AM
Try to be green from NYC NY

Does anyone know where to find CFLs that work with dimmers? I have replaced bulbs that are not on dimmers but not those on dimmers.

About to buy a Prius, and I carpool with 4 I will effectively get ~200 mpg!

Apr. 22 2009 11:37 AM

You can get CFLs with the same color temperatures as incandescents; you just have to look at the label. Usually "Soft white" or "Warm" color denotes a CFL that will produce light similar to an incandescent.

Apr. 22 2009 11:37 AM
jeff from ny

just saw William McDonough speak last night, and he said something really interesting--more or less, "the need for regulation indicates bad design." we need to tackle these problems from the source, and change the whole paradigm. otherwise we are still approaching disaster, but more slowly.

Apr. 22 2009 11:36 AM
Kate from Yonkers, NY

I have switched to a Vegan diet. The farming industry contributes more to pollution, deforrestation and water waste than many other environmental questions that people focus on.

Apr. 22 2009 11:35 AM
jen from Brooklyn

Like many people, I have made a more conscious effort to reduce my use of plastic bags (I carry a canvas bag, recycle etc). I would like to see NYC place recycling containers in neighborhoods to make recycling easier. It seems counterproductive to have to buy more plastic bags in order to put my recyclables on the street.

Apr. 22 2009 11:35 AM
slim from Williamsburg

You can also FREEZE all fruit / veg remains before you take them to the compost pile. This prevents the remains from rotting in your kitchen!

Apr. 22 2009 11:35 AM
hjs from 11211

the NYPD doesn't have to recycle! do other city departments?

Apr. 22 2009 11:35 AM
Nancy from NYC

1. Gave up paper towels. Instead I use rags, made from my old kitchen towels and those socks that come back from the cleaner without their twin.

2. NYC (even NYS?) must BAN the use of plastic take-out containers that are not recyclable. Why hasn't this been taken up by our City government yet; it seems a no-brainer.

Apr. 22 2009 11:34 AM
Suzie Baer from Manhattan

NYC School buses should use bio-diesel fuel.

Children who ride inside a diesel school bus are exposed to up to four times more toxic diesel exhaust (including: carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons) than someone in a car in front of the bus.
-2001 NRDC and the Coalition for Clean Air study.

Diesel exhaust levels on school buses are 23 to 46 times higher than the EPA cancer risk thresholds.

Apr. 22 2009 11:34 AM
Rich from Staten Island

The New York City Department of Sanitation should re-introduce the Compost Program for the collectiion yard waste and leaves in the Fall. This way this material doesn't have to be shipped out with all the other garbage collected. The Compost then can be given back to the community each year and the landfill can be used again. Maybe they could use seasonal workers instead of paying overtime for the Sanitation crews.

Apr. 22 2009 11:34 AM
adam klimaszewski

so today, president obama took his great big helicopter to his great big private jet, to picked up by a convoy of gas burning cars, to go stand in front of a windmill in iowa and talk about earthday. i'm still with ya buddy, but come on....

Apr. 22 2009 11:34 AM
nat from brooklyn

The single greatest policy change would be to cut the corn subsidy. Cheap subsidized corn leads to cheap livestock feed, which in turn leads to artificially cheap meats.

The livestock production in this country leads to 75% of our green house gases.

This will lead to higher meat prices, but it is time for Americans to face the real cost of the foods we eat.

Apr. 22 2009 11:33 AM
Andy from Manhattan

Personally, I've "greened" so much its a wonder why we're in an economic crisis. My question is where can I purchase affordable solar panels? I'm afraid that the poor, who contribute so much, cannot afford to become energy independent. Can you suggest very affordable or free ways to drastically reduce energy consumption?

Apr. 22 2009 11:33 AM
Chicago Listener

I also have reduced my plastic bag usage, which involves fighting the bagger at the checkout line, although at my local grocer they know me well as the "can you squeeze everything into one bag?" guy. And, yes, I often forget my WNYC tote at home.

We've got a compost bin now. The environmental policy that I would like to see is to have prisons and jails compost their uneaten food.

Apr. 22 2009 11:32 AM
the truth from bkny

Watch the history channel, nothing we do will stop the climate changes of the earth. The pull of the moon controls the whole thing. It is an absolute.

I already have a very small carbon footprint and I will continue to recycle.


Apr. 22 2009 11:32 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

Oh, and the policy I'd like is, duh, the welcoming of bikes in buildings and with more bike racks and more bike lanes.

Apr. 22 2009 11:30 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

I bought a Strida folding bike, and am addicted to riding it. Not only do I move myself through space without creating any more carbon dioxide than I exhale, but I find myself enjoying the city around me more.

Plus the design of the bike is so cool that it invariably starts conversations. In that regard, I almost feel like a missionary.

Apr. 22 2009 11:29 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Yeah, buy from Walmart.

Apr. 22 2009 11:27 AM
Shannon McAvoy from Westport, CT

Rachel - CFLs come in different "tempertures". Look for the warmer tones to get that cozy feeling. WalMart has a great selection. Also, Westport, CT also banned plastic bags as of March 17th. I'm fairly certain the were the first in the East.

Apr. 22 2009 11:16 AM
Shannon McAvoy from Westport, CT

As Green Consulting Firm, my partner and I had greened our homes years ago. But what is odd is that our business has really taken off as of election day. Once the President was sworn in, the phone started ringing with building design and consulting work all over the US and Puerto Rico. We are really excited about the new energy people have in this lifestyle and have taken it to heart. But want to warn everyone about "green washing". Just as you read your lables for food, be aware of how REALLY green your products are. If you have questions, ASK THE EXPERTS. Find a LEED AP and get answers.

Apr. 22 2009 11:09 AM
Neil Ullman from Florham Park, NJ

You talked about motion detectors to turn off lights. In the 70's energy push I was teaching at a community college in NJ and the decision was made to install motion detectors to turn off lights in all the classrooms.
Not everyone was really clued into this and when we gave a test and everything was real quiet for a time, especially during evening classes, suddenly the class was in total darkness. You had to learn to quickly wave your hands to get some light.
But of course, all those wonderful initiative during the Carter times, went by the wayside for the next 30+ years.

Apr. 22 2009 11:07 AM
rachel from manhattan

i've replaced all the lightbulbs in my house with CFLs. but i hate hate HATE the harsh light they cast - will i ever stop missing the warm glow of my incandescents and get used to these "better bulbs"?

Apr. 22 2009 11:04 AM
TK from NJ

I've made a conscious effort to reduce my plastic bag consumption. I also gave my friends reusable bags for the new year. I feel NYC should follow suit with San Francisco and ban plastic bags from grocery stores and pharmacies.

Apr. 22 2009 10:53 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

If I see trash on the ground (East Elmhurst-trash on the ground national capital), I pick it up. I think it's a pity that businesses get a ticket when it's the local, uh, trash doing it.
Besides, it has a GREEN by-product and makes it look (more) civilized here - I ,however, refuse to clean the DEAD ROOSTER on the corner of Astoria Blvd and 88th Street.
The bag it was in was made of paper and should de-compose along with the bird.

Apr. 22 2009 10:29 AM
Seth from Upper West Side

Oh, please, just stop smoking! Nanny Bloomberg solved one problem and created another. You can't walk down a street in NY and not be overcome by disgusting cigarette smoke. It's everywhere. And it's all going up into the atmosphere. Can't they put filtered smoking rooms inside buildings? It's impossible to simply enjoy fresh air on a nice, sunny day. Well, "fresh" being a relative term for NYC!

Apr. 22 2009 10:29 AM

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