Emerald Cities

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author and urban planner Joan Fitzgerald, and Dan Miner, chair of Sierra Club NYC, look at how American cities are leading the way toward greener, cleaner, more sustainable forms of economic development, and looks at the role of state and national government policy in helping cities create clean technology growth. In Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development, Joan Fitzgerald shows how cities like Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle have taken the lead in addressing the environmental problems of global warming, pollution, energy dependence, and social justice.


Joan Fitzgerald and Dan Miner,

Comments [21]

Dan Miner from Queens

Hi everyone. Sierra Club NYC volunteer chair Dan Miner here. If anyone wants to volunteer with us this summer - helping out at City community gardens, painting the roofs of non-profit buildins white, or organizing sustainability events in their neighborhood - please contact me at beyondoilnyc (at) yahoo (dot) com.

More about our projects at nyc.sierraclub dot org, and my report on NYC energy policy at beyondoilnyc dot org. Thanks for listening!

Apr. 20 2010 03:32 PM
Tom from Long island

and furthermore :) - since there is no green product standards its a meaningless label on most products. and is nothing but another Branding of a feeling, and imagery (like designer clothing) that makes people feel good for purchasing yet another cleverly marketed good...

do you really need that New and Improved overpriced GREEN disinfecting cleaning product when a little hot water, and or some alcohol will serve...?

being GREEN (sorry Kermit) is the new battle cry of those who seek to raise ones self-esteem thru a lifestyle choice - like the now over played, "Im a Vegan therefore more moral, I'm alternative, I dont do dairy only soy, Oh no, no carbs for me," etc...more flag waving and little substance...

Apr. 20 2010 02:23 PM
Tom from Long island

how "green" (oh how I hate that term!) is NYC, or any major metro when theyre exporting their trash to other states and often countries...? is it green because you cant see it around you?

gee NYC is now greener, at the expensive of polluting a "town" in africa and/or asia where we're exporting our poisonous wastes for them to try to eek a living off of...?

come on folks stop sucking at the green crack pipe. its yet another Branding of an idea that has no substance...more language and feel-good tricks to pacify the masses...

Apr. 20 2010 02:14 PM
Tom from Long island

not once do I ever hear from these "experts" how the renewable energy industry is trying to get the products/technology into the hands of the consumers in any sort of actual or more important affordable means. sure I can buy a solar cellphone charger, but lets face it those things are gimmicks and make not one kilowatt of a difference in the scheme of things...

IMO, the main problem is making it easier for a homeowner or apartment dweller to lessen their reliance on the grid (not totally, just lessen it by at least 20%) and do it cost effectively and not needing to hire a bunch of contractors to hook up the now huge and bulky equipment available.

DIY renewable is the market niche that is being wholy ignored. the ones who tap that market will be the historic heros in this struggle...

Apr. 20 2010 02:05 PM
Shulamit from Brooklyn, NY

If you don't want to start your own compost bin, there are many places to take your saved food scraps in the outer boroughs. The Fort Greene Greenmarket has a drop of center run by the Fort Greene Compost Project. There are also many community gardens and farms in Brooklyn that accept food scraps. We have the start of a system in place, we just need to publicize it!

Apr. 20 2010 01:58 PM
Tom from Long island

as an underemployed 49yo male, who once worked in the construction biz, Im tired of hearing this green job nonsense about the construction industry. its s pie in the sky fable constructed by people,who have no construction industry experience.

train to install solar? sure, but for a middle aged man who cant do that sort of work anymore and am in the demographic of being vastly unemployed or UNDER employed its not a viable option. I cant compete with the $10 hour construction workers. nor can my contemporaries.

add that the cost for the homeowner is so prohibtive right now that too is pie in the sky thinking.

Apr. 20 2010 01:58 PM
Tim Brier from Scranton,PA

20 years ago municipal waste incinerators were pitched as "state of the art" although they produced undisposable toxic fly ash. Additionally these garbage burners also emitted dioxins in the air. Today they are advertised as clean burning; as broad and amorphous a statement as "state of the art". Is MS. Fitzgerald able to cite her sources for these "clean burning" technologies? Thank You.

Apr. 20 2010 01:54 PM
listener from NYC

dear AMY from Manhattan- I am on email list and I recieved such information.. I will not copy entire email content here--I send you the link.
"Our Sanitation Committee will be holding a public hearing on these bills on Monday, April 26th at 1:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers located in City Hall. We encourage you and anyone else who cares about recycling to attend this important hearing. "
Christine Quinn is the signature...

Apr. 20 2010 01:53 PM
Phil from Brooklyn

When I was upgrading my worm-bin, I offered the old one with starter worms on Craigs List for $20. I had about 50 responses in the first twenty minutes, and I had people contacting me for several days. The demand is there--Leonard is right!

Apr. 20 2010 01:50 PM

I am having a difficult time reconciling all of NYC's waterfront development with its stated concerns about sea level rise. I'm not satisfied that the City is taking adequate measures to mitigate the ways in which development exacerbates the risks of flooding. Can either guest elaborate?


Apr. 20 2010 01:50 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Maybe Leonard Lopate can ask the Sierra Club representative about Sierra's connections to major polluters, like Clorox, with which Sierra formed a business partnership. For an undisclosed fee, Sierra allowed its logo to be used on a line of Clorox's ostensibly "green" products.

Apr. 20 2010 01:47 PM
Frank from Rockaway NJ

There are groups in the city who would be hurt by renewable energy - like Con Ed. How can they be won over to ease PV and wind in the city?

Apr. 20 2010 01:44 PM
listener from NYC

I wonder how realistic it is to get solar panels on NYC rooves??? And Gardens?? Truly green! what are the obstacles- how to overcome them??

Apr. 20 2010 01:41 PM
Danny from New Jersey

Cities concentrate environmental impacts AND concentrate people as marketing targets, both of which give them a leg up on becoming "green." Though it seems like a paradox, organic foods being more available in NYC is perfectly understandable when we view the main issue being transportation of goods to a single location where enough customers shop to make it economically worthwhile. That is the case in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while it isn't the case in suburban NJ. I like cities.

Apr. 20 2010 01:39 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm on several environmental organizations' email lists, but I haven't received anything about the new NYC city council expanded recycling bill. Do the guests know if there's any campaign to raise public support of the bill?

And on my earlier comment--nice to hear it read on air!--I think the availability of green products also helps reach & educate people who otherwise wouldn't have been as concerned w/this issue, adding to the increased demand.

Apr. 20 2010 01:37 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

It seems to me that Mr. Lopate's guests are taking a fairly narrow view of green.

New York has some of the worst air quality in the US. We are among the worst nationwide in wasting water.

Are they taking water into account at all. Southern California, including LA, *burn* through water.

Clearly, also, there must be some equilibrium between concentration and psychological well-being. The most concentrated dwellings in the city are the projects. But, from a social-psychological standpoint, the projects have been near-disastrous.

Moreover, it is gravely deceptive to attribute to 'green-ness' to New Yorkers en masse. The wealthiest New Yorkers are certainly the LEAST sustainable. Look at how many square feet, how much carbon, water, electricity, etc., Bloomberg dedicates exclusively to himself.

Apr. 20 2010 01:37 PM
JT from Long Island

The problem I've found with recycling on Long Island is that in my town they only pick it up every other week, but they collect as much garbage as you want twice a week. If you're on vacation and miss the pick up of recycling you end up accumulating 4 weeks worth and it's annoying. I lived near Seattle for 11 years and there they picked up garbage and recycling once week and limited garbage to one can that they provided. You do have to force the issue to get people in the habit of recycling and make it as easy as the trash.

Apr. 20 2010 01:36 PM
Ken from UWS

Having just returned from (and somehow survived) a bicycle trip to Midtown Manhattan, I would suggest that New York still has long way to go.

Apr. 20 2010 01:32 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Cities also concentrate demand. I've found it easier to get organic food in NYC than in towns closer to where some of that food is actually grown. And I couldn't find recycled paper towels in a supermarket outside of Albany, when it was common for stores in NYC to carry recycled paper products.

Apr. 20 2010 01:30 PM

Could the chair of Sierra Club NYC
comment on the criticism of the Sierra Club made
on a previous Lopate segment: The Wrong Kind of Green

Apr. 20 2010 12:52 PM
antonio from park slope

I applaud President Obama for getting down with high-speed rail in Florida, but with that money couldn't you get a half dozen regional systems there to do what they have done in Portland? There is a reason why Portland is sometimes compared to a European city...

Apr. 20 2010 12:32 PM

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