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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Planning for disaster

Part 1: Diet for survival

In the light of this weeks disaster along our gulf coast, Greener Mag has compiled a list of survival tips and gear with some easy, inexpensive home preparedness recommendations that we can all follow. Whether you're an apartment dweller, home owner, on vacation or at work, using this simple green guide may save your life.

We've broken our list into two parts, consumables and tools. The first, consumables are those items that are depleted over time: food, water, medical supplies, energy sources and to a lesser degree clothing and linens.

The second list, tools, consists simply of the artifacts that we use to recreate the items needed to replenish the first list. Once you have the cycle of consumption and replenishment working you will be reasonably able to exist safely for a indefinite period of time. Over short periods this list consists of a suppressions small number of items.


Water for drinking, otherwise known as potable water. There is standard advisory to fill bathtubs and containers prior to a disaster and while this is good advice it often is not practical if you must evacuate. The trouble with bottled water is that it cannot be purchased months in advance and stored, it will develop a dangerous bacterial level after just a few short weeks on the shelf.

We recommend: Water Packets, aseptic packages of water with a five year shelf life. Plan on 3 gallons per person per day for drinking.

Food, second only to water, requires a level of pre-planning not often convenient at the last minute. The usual advise is to stockpile canned goods, meat, vegetables etc, nothing frozen of course. The problem with most canned goods is that they are heavy should you need to transport them any distance. The canning process is safe enough but water content adds greatly to the weight. Also, it's not recommended that you drink the canning liquid, it is either too salty of too sweet, both of which increase thirst and you end up using your fresh water more quickly.

We recommend: Dehydrated, high calorie meals packaged in foil. Similar to MREs, the field rations our troops use, but you don't need to go on line and order expensive civilian versions, they're already on the shelves of your local grocery store.

As you shop keep a rotation going by purchasing enough of your favorite dehydrated or prepared dry foods to last your family for ten days. Then, roughly every 60 days, replace it and cycle the first batch into your daily use pantry as part of your meal plans over the next two months. In this way all your emergency 10 day rations are never older than 60 days which is well within the recommended shelf life. The previous supply is used in the course of normal consumption all with in 120 days, still safe and nutritious. Requires a little book keeping organization but hey, its better than living on canned tuna for a week.

Don't forget to pack a ten day supply of pet food for each of your pals.

Medicine, our third consumable is perhaps the easiest and at one and the same time, the most difficult . Standard items include aspirin, tincture of iodine (most effective for killing infections before they can take hold) a good first aid kit, neutral pH eye wash, spf 60 sunblock, lip balm (we include these under medicinal because they are preventive) aloe lotion.

Prescription medicines are critical and present the most difficult aspect of pre planned emergency preparedness. Only your doctor can advise you with regard to specific meds and the advisability of using them after their expiration date. If you are medicine dependent for any variety of health issues it is recommended that you consult with your physician. Ask your Dr.,"what if" and make preparations accordingly.

Energy sources, batteries, fuel and ignition devices. You may safely store light weight energy sources by several methods however there is some risk attached to their transport should you have to evacuate. Your vehicle's gas tank is the most portable container however the fuel must be handled with extreme caution and, should your vehicle not survive the trip, well! The second most readily available source of energy is gas under pressure which can present a considerable hazard during evacuation, most jurisdictions prohibit the transport of tanked natural gas or propane during evacuation events.

We recommend: Batteries and matches. You can do two things with batteries and matches that you can't do independently with any other source of energy: make cold light and hot fire.

Chemical batteries come in a bewildering array of innovative options, for the most part they are safe and present a good shelf life, just rotate your stock as required. Please be sure however to recycle them when they are depleted.

Matches! Just keep 'em dry.

Clothing and linens: This is pretty much a personal call but...

We recommend: Why not. You have plenty of dry linen and fresh clothing just taking up room in your closets day to day so why not set aside a fresh kit or two for each member of the household. Have large, water sealable plastic bags ready, just grab, stuff and go, gives the kids something to do while you parents pack the car.

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10:58 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Olympian hopeful part II

Second in a 2 part series "Urban habitat; Olympian hopeful"

David Oats is the Chairman of the Queens Olympic Committee. He received the announcement of the so-called Plan B Olympic bid, which sprung from the collapse of a stadium proposal for the West Side of Manhattan in early summer, with equal parts vindication and exasperation.

"The West Side stadium was a monstrosity," says Oats, who tussled with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration for three years over where the Olympic Stadium should be located. "Nobody wanted that stadium. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) came to town in early 2005 and saw that the city was in disarray. Luckily, they asked to see our plan."

New York City wound up in fourth place after London, the winner of the 2012 summer games, Paris and Moscow. Many pin New York's loss on the energy poured into-- and wasted on, say critics—Bloomberg’s West Side stadium plan. Residents of the neighborhood objected to the massive influx of traffic that would result. Citywide, taxpayers rejected its billion-dollar price tag. But the stadium, which would have also served as home field for the National Football League Jets, remained Plan A almost up to the IOC's final decision.

"Arrogance, real-estate deals and incompetence destroyed New York's bid in the end," says Oats. "Queens was the original Olympics site spec’d out in the late-'70s and presented in 1984. New York lost by one vote that year. Flushing Meadows has the space, some of the sites already built and the perfect symbol for the games in the Unisphere." The Unisphere was erected for the 1964 World's Fair.

Oats responds with incredulity to lower perceptions of Queens and its parks. "Jets' executives said they wouldn't be able to sell luxury box seats," he says. "I told them tennis is one of the classiest sports in the world, and the USTA (United States Tennis Association) sells out Arthur Ashe Stadium every year."

Oats wants the Olympic games at Flushing Meadows in 11 years, but he agrees with Dolan that Meadow and Willow Lakes should remain untouched. "Willow Lake was supposed to develop as a wildlife preserve," he says. "I'm opposed to changing the lakes. There are other sites for rowing. If the plan to change them goes ahead, it will turn into the next West Side stadium. It will be a fight."

One key piece of the 2016 bid will be in place well before bidding for those games begins: a new stadium for Major League Baseball's Mets. The new ballpark, which could be expanded into the Olympic stadium, will be built in the parking lot adjacent to Shea Stadium following its pending demolition.

The Mets' new field will graze the edge of Willits Point and the Iron Triangle-- a bustling sprawl of chrome and rust from dozens of auto body shops and junkyards. Real estate developers have tried to renovate the area, but the Triangle’s business owners have stood in the way with demands the city pay for their relocation. Where hotels or shopping malls failed to change minds, the Olympic games, again, might succeed.

"Willits Point can be developed," says Oats. "The 7 train, the Long Island Railroad, major highways, an airport and a marina are all right there. We're going to push for Willits Point to be the site of the Olympic Village."

Construction has already begun on an aquatic center located at the mouth of the park in the north. The center will be used as a pool in the summer and a skating rink in the winter. It won’t host Olympic sports in 2012, but it can only strengthen Oats' argument for a Queens Olympics the next time around. In the meantime, the facility will be one more place for park-goers to stretch their legs and have fun.

"London will spend over a billion dollars for the [Olympic] games," says Oats. "Flushing Meadows is almost complete."

By Gregory Yanick - New York
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

View photos

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9:22 AM

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

100 mile diet

'Pearblossom Highway' David Hockney

Several years ago under the Clinton Administration a program began aimed at reducing the shortfall in production by local farmers who were being paid not to grow particular food crops. At the same time consumers were asked to pay higher prices for transported produce. The program was simple, allow farmers to grow kitchen gardens; gardens used traditionally by farm families to supply their own needs and sell the excess fresh produce at local farm markets. The growers received additional income which was tax exempt and the consumer received fresher produce at a lower price. More importantly low income families could use government food stamps, which was a real plus for struggling inner city communities.

I shopped regularly every Saturday at the Baltimore Farmers Market and experienced first hand the freshness, the quality of the market goods. It was a pleasant community affair where you could meet neighbors and local farmers in a city fair-like atmosphere.

The program did several things right and seemed to impress everyone with its good, common sense approach to identifying a problem at the local level and, thinking globally, plot a solution that in turn could be applied locally. Unfortunately politics ended the process shortly after the 2000 election.

Now however a similar process has begun known widely as the 100 Mile Diet. Thanks to Rural 2.0 we were able to visit this website in Vancouver, CA and see the program in action. The 100 Mile Diet is no food fad, rather it is a food coop that delivers custom food orders to its members at market prices and all gleaned from within a 100 mile radius of the consumer's home; you get local produce and dairy as well as meat and poultry if you like and fruit in season all grown locally, organic if you choose. The cost saving to the environment is significant, eating locally means all but eliminating the high cost of long distance transportation and, it goes without saying the freshness and quality increases greatly.

While researching this article we came across another benefit that has largely been overlooked: eating within a 100 mile radius of your home ground means that you are also naturally immunized to the local antigens in the soil. Antigens are biologic materials that subsist in the soil and cause illness through immunological reactions -think hay fever. A healthy person becomes immune to the antigens in his or her own environment. However consuming food that is raised, fed or grown in another environment means that slightly differentiated biologic irritants in the air, soil and water make their way through the food chain into our diet and are responsible for much of the increase we see today in allergic reactions and increased sensitivity to the environment, especially among children and people with weakened immune systems.

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12:36 PM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Urban habitat; Olympian hopeful

A tale of two venues

The southern shore of Meadow Lake is quiet on this afternoon in July. The baseball field is empty. A family of six sits at a picnic table in the shadow of the Jewel Avenue Bridge, an arterial road that cuts between Meadow and Willow Lakes in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY. A few bikers and inline skaters wind their ways down paths, but the heat wave that has recently immersed the city has halted most outdoor activities. The occasional breeze off the lakes briefly stirs the heavy moist air.

This grassy patch scarcely registers as anything more than roadside greenery to drivers exiting the Grand Central Parkway. If New York City's Olympic bid for the 2012 summer games had been accepted, this section of the park would have vanished underwater, along with the wetlands that encircle Willow Lake, to make room for the rowing and kayaking venues.

"It would have meant radical changes for the park," says Patricia Dolan, President of the Kew Garden Hills Civic Association, a neighborhood that borders the park. "To start with, Willow Lake is protected habitat. And it would have been at great expense to taxpayers to have to rebuild the Jewel Avenue Bridge.

The Olympic plan called for two lakes in the shape of a crooked "11." The channel that connects the lakes now was to be filled with whitewater rapids. Kayakers would have carved their way to the finish line steps from the picnicking family. For conservationists, the plan had but one redeeming quality: a clean Meadow Lake.

"They were going to dredge the lake,” says Dolan. "We hope the city still does it, but they've been promising that for years."

In the 1930s, parks commissioner Robert Moses began transforming Flushing Meadows Corona Park from a dumping ground into the second largest of New York City’s parks. He also diverted Flushing Creek to form two freshwater lakes and brought the first of two World's Fairs the park would host.

The commotion of the park's north side, where Shea Stadium, the U.S. Tennis Center and the Queens Museum of Art are situated, is contrasted sharply by the sublimity of Willow Lake in the south, which is often closed to the public. Even though it barely fits in between the expressways on either side, Meadow Lake is a prime destination for Queens’ residents. School buses lined up outside the Boathouse on the eastern shore bring scores of schoolchildren running around in life vests waiting to paddle out onto the lake. The picturesque western shore is home to a shore restoration project by the group New Yorkers For Parks. If the many visitors and varied recreational uses of Meadow Lake aren't enough reasons to confront its pollution, the renewed hope of an Olympics in 2016 might be.

By Gregory Yanick - New York
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

View more site photos with this article

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7:14 AM

Monday, August 08, 2005

Micro space

Recent trends in urban residential development point the way to a curious side bar for living green the micro-condo or personal space as one reviewer called it; smaller living spaces aimed at the new city hippy generation who comprise today's urban drift, moving out of the suburbs and returning to city central.

This new architecture places emphasis on location and intensely personal design options to attract the single or young couple just starting out. Often with few belongings other than a fresh diploma and a job offer these new home owner candidates eschew the long trek from suburb to office each day opting rather for a short stroll past the local coffee shop in route to their jobs.

Building management professionals and developers are scrambling to subdivide 2000 and 3000 square foot lofts and condos into 3 or 4, sometimes even 5, micro dwellings of 500 square feet or less. The key to doing this successfully is of course in providing luxury options like state of the art security, on site health club facilities, pools and surprisingly, often without major appliances. It seems the new hot consumer commodity is high end appliances and eurostyle kitchen cabinetry that comes with the owner as part of the furnishing. Subzero refrigerators and gas cook tops are now as much personal belongings as electronics or underwear. Your new condo is 500 square feet of empty space, plumbed, wired and ready to personalize with removable walls, your choice of flooring, wall finishes and cable providers. The new owner does the rest from bathroom fixtures to night lights and all at their own expense. The result is affordable space in a prime downtown location with, in most cases, a spectacular view and your own private balcony with bike storage.

For comparison sake because, if you're like me, square footage makes about as much sense as the rules of soccer, picture your last double at the Ramada and that is about 500 square feet or just about the amount of floor space in a 727 or, in most cases that dorm room you recently shared with what's their name.

Do the math and you quickly see why property owners are jumping on the bandwagon with 4 condos subdivide in the space formerly occupied by one the profit potential for sellers is golden. 500 square feet may seem a trifle but when outfitted as a luxury space with a view and close to work these mini habitats usually command 80% of their former 2000 sq. ft price. The reason for this real estate brokers acknowledge is that value is typically determined by location. If the location is excellent for the market then value becomes relative and for a young professional just starting out the value of ownership as opposed to renting early in their career is significant. They like the fact that the smaller space reflects their need for economy but with style and by living close to down town and work they save time as well as transportation costs and enjoy the benefits of city life and down town culture.

We also think that it is an appealing 'green' life style for a generation which recognizes the value in low impact living and who are not yet ready to put down permanent roots much less opt to purchasing that half acre of lawn in the suburbs with all its attendant weekend warrior obligations. Micro dwelling may be the newest trend but we suspect it will remain the province of young unmarrieds or newly weds and the occasional adventurous empty nesters. The rest of us will just have to survive with the 2 car garage and closets full of "stuff" we never use.

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10:39 AM

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Asian Lifestyle - London show

After the incidents in London on the 7th of July, 2005, people needed something to cheer them and bolster their spirits, The Asian Lifestyle Show held in Olympia, London did just that. The terrorism did not stop people from celebrating life. They bounced back and attended the Asian Lifestyle Show held from Friday 8th – Sunday 10th July, 2005 and organised by Tony Lit, Managing Director of Sunrise Radio Group and Vijay Saggar, Managing Director of Excel Café Bars Limited. Last year this UK event attracted in excess of forty thousand visitors over a weekend and was recently nominated for the “Best Launch” at this year’s Association of British Events.

The show featured a dazzling array of exhibitors from all aspects of life.
Asian food is an art that has been relished and passed on from generation to generation and is known for its colour and richness throughout the world. Bearing this in mind Cobra Beer brought the mouth-watering "Cookery Theatre" hosted by celebrity chefs to demonstrate the artistic side of Asian culture as well as the do's and don'ts of Asian cooking.

The health features at the show entailed ayurvedic massages by Eastern Tranquility, Laughter Yoga, the British Heart Foundation and South Asian Health Foundation. Other highlights were the astrology readings, makeovers, Reiki, Shahnaz Herbals, business and employment booths - all under one roof.

Besides the regular shoppers this place was an ideal haunt for fashionistas, as it included breathtaking fashion shows firing up the catwalk and showcasing the latest and the hottest summer trends from the East worn by A-List models who not only sizzled the catwalk but also made the fashion gurus rethink their wardrobes and realise the power of "Ethnic Chic!"

Among the bevy of couture designers to grace the ramp, were Frontier Bazar, CTC Plaza and Monga's with unique designs that have made them the ultimate destination for designer wear. Bombay looks made a debut with its ethnic range.

Ever pushing the boundaries of style was Aftershock, the only UK designer to span the entire style spectrum from cutting edge couture to discreetly classic.

If the fashion shows and the models were not enough to satiate your celebrity appetite there were top Bollywood stars flown in all the way from Mumbai, India to grace the red carpet; including the suave Saif Ali Khan, sexy and sultry Kareena Kapoor and last but not the least the ever charming heartthrob "Jassi" from the popular T.V. Serial "Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin".

Amongst the noise and the hustle and bustle lay an Oasis of Peace - Meditation Room - a Gift of Peace Wall and some of the latest, most exciting products showcased by the 'Brahma Kumari's World Spirituality University' and
'Forever Living Products'. Said Vijay Saggar, "Recognising the importance of inner peace in today's busy world we have introduced a new feature to the show - the Mind, Body & Soul Seminar theatre."

The Make a wish foundation, UK was introduced as the official charity for the Asian Lifestyle Show this year.

In the last few years Asian culture has exploded onto the streets of London. The Cinemas and theatres are full of Bollywood music, Bhangra. Fusion music beats are spreading through the nightclubs. The fashion gurus flock to the Indian ethnic shops of Southall and gourmet Asian restaurants are having the same impact on fine dining that the curry house once had on high street. The Asian Lifestyle Show is not only the ultimate British-Asian experience offering the best of fashion, music and entertainment from England and the Indian sub-continent but it also is a tribute to the Lifestyle of people in different countries and their cross cultural influences.

By Nidhi Kaushik - London
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

runway photos


    Brahma Kumari's World Spirituality University has over 5000 centres in more than 90 countries. It offers people of all cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds a wide range of self-development lectures and courses. Including meditation, positive thinking, stress free living and anger management. As a service to the global community all courses are free.

    Forever Living Products operates in the health and nutrition market with unique products made from its own organically cultivated aloe vera plants. Their products are available in over 100 countries around the world.

    Make-A-Wish Foundation, UK is the leading UK wishgranting charity with one simple aim - to turn the wishes of children, 3-18 years of age living and with life threatening illnesses, into reality. With the help of 800 volunteers, corporate, celebrity and individual sponsers around the country, this foundation has granted 3500 wishes since it began in 1986 and is currently granting 10 magical wishes a week. Originally founded in The United States this foundation now works in 32 countries on five continents.

    Reiki Body & Soul. Reiki is the Japanese word for Universal Life Force Energy. This ancient system can be experienced by either "hands on" or by distant healing. It encourages physical, mental and emotional healing and spiritual growth. It can also be used to heal troubled areas of Earth.

    Eastern Tranquility specialises in Indian head massage, Thai foot massage and Reiki for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. These techniques relieve muscular and emotional tensions by harmonizing and promoting internal healing -leaving you with a feeling of balance, peace and tranquility.

    Shahnaz Herbals, is an eminent manufacturer and exporter of herbal and ayurvedic products and cosmetics to the likes of Harrods, Selfridges and Galeries Laffayette.

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10:47 AM