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Monday, October 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma floods S Florida

Calling it perhaps the largest Florida storm since 1927, officials were stunned as Wilma struck in the early morning darkness about 6:30 AM, a cat 3 storm.

At this post, less than 6 hours later, Wilma is speeding toward an exit into the Atlantic basin. The storm's eye is over open ocean now and the trail bands of gusting winds and rain still stretch from Naples on the Gulf Coast to Miami enveloping virtually the entire state.

Flooding is believed to be extensive and estimates of the destruction are expected to be record breaking as Wilma brought an estimated storm surge of between 12 and 18 feet over much of south central Florida.

Coursing over the Everglades Wilma met little resistance from the low lying land as she traveled roughly parallel west to east along Florida's famous Alligator Alley.
Unlike other land falls in the Yucatan Peninsula Florida's extremely flat topography is subject to flooding from storm surge as far as 50 miles inland. The average width of the state is less than 100 miles.

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12:03 PM

Monday, October 17, 2005


The first annual 'Carnival of the Green' starts this fall. From green blog to green zine the Carnival will be hosted each week by a different site. Like any carnival, we'll pull into town each Monday with a new 'greener' hosting the Carnival.You will be amazed and astounded by all the wondrous 'green' portents, alchemy and patent medicine shows; more green, sustainable and earth friendly wonder than your parents would ever allow.

Every Carnival will have a link to the previous and following Carnival hosts.
SUBMITTING POSTS, to submit Carnival shows for consideration (do not submit content - just a link to your post), please email carnivalofgreen@gmail.com with the link,or to HOST THE CARNIVAL, please email someone at mailto:cityhippy@gmail.com?subject=green or mailto:tips@triplepundit.com?subject=green


Nov 7th - City Hippy
Nov 14th - TriplePundit
Nov 21st - Sustainablog
Nov 28th - Great Green Goods

Dec 5th - The Greener Side
Dec 12th - Jen's Green Journal
Dec 19th - Dee's 'Dotes
Dec 26th - Season's greetings - no carnival - Ho Ho Ho!

Jan 2nd - Suhit Anantula
Jan 9th - Skye Creative
Jan 16th - Unplugged Living
Jan 23rd - The Ideal Bite
Jan 30th - Urban Eco

Feb 6th - Ecostreet
Feb 13th - Groovy Green
Feb 20th - Hip & Zen Pen
Feb 27th - The Naked Vegetarian

Mar 6th - EnviroPundit
Mar 13th - Dirty Greek
Mar 20th - BaloghBlog
Mar 27th - Greener Magazine

Apr 3rd - Green Thinkers
Apr 10th - Exuberant Pantaphobia
Apr 17th - Organic Authority
Apr 24th - The Evangelical Ecologist

May 1st - Spiral Visions
May 8th - Hippy Shopper
May 15th - EarthEcho International
May 22nd - Website Design and Promotion
May 29th - Animal Broadcast Network

June 5th - Dee's 'Dotes
June 12th - Science & Politics
June 19th - Savvy Vegetarian
June 26th - Jen's Green Journal

July 3rd - Head Way Youth
July 10th - The Ester Republic
July 17th - Powering Down
July 24th - Mykesweblog
July 31st - Treehugger

August 7th - City Hippy
August 14th - Camden Lady
August 21st - Frugal For Life
August 28th - The Disillusioned Kid

September 4th - Living Green in LA
September 11th - Worsted Witch
September 18th - Karavans
September 25th - Ecostreet

October 2nd - Greener Miami
October 9th - EnviroPundit
October 16th - TotalTactics
October 23rd - How To Save The World
October 30th - Groovy Green

November 6th - CityHippy
November 13th - TriplePundit
November 20th - Organic Researcher
November 27th - Great Green Goods

December 4th - Urban Eco
December 11th - Organic Authority
December 18th - Cocolico
December 25th - Season's Greetings - No Carnival - Ho Ho Ho!

Jan 1st - Happy New Year - No Carnival - [HIC]
Jan 8th - Hippy Shopper
Jan 15th - One/Change
Jan 22nd - Clay and Wattles
Jan 29th - Jetson Green

Feb 5th - Nonoscience
Feb 12th - Savvy Vegetarian
Feb 19th - Jen's Green Journal
Feb 26th - The Evangelical Ecologist

Mar 5th - The Business of America is Business
Mar 12th - Green Fertility
Mar 19th - The Goode Life
Mar 26th - Camden Kiwi

Apr 2nd - Sludgie
Apr 9th - Philobiblion
Apr 16th - Money and Values
Apr 23rd - The Evangelical Ecologist
Apr 30th - EnviroPundit

May 7th - EcoWorrier
May 14th - Natural Collection
May 21st - EveryDay Trash
May 28th - Sustainablog

June 4th - Groxie
June 11th - Victoria E
June 18th - Enviroblog
June 25th - Dianovo

July 2nd - Bean-Sprouts
July 9th - The Ester Republic
July 16th - The AIDG Blog
July 23rd - Hippy Shopper
July 30th - Nicomachus

August 6th - Organic Researcher
August 13th - Miss Malaprop
August 20th - Green Options
August 27th - Greener Magazine

September 3rd - Organic Authority
September 10th - Camphor
September 17th - GreenStyle
September 24th - Karavans

October 1st - World is Green
October 8th - Planet on a Plate
October 15th - Ethical Junction
October 22nd - Available
October 29th - Available
November 5th - Natural Collection
November 12th - Available
November 19th - Available
November 26th - Great Green Goods

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10:36 AM

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Patagonia chief speaks out

on business and environmental stewardship in his newest book...

The environmentalist picking up "Let My People Go Surfing," the new memoir by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, may feel inundated with growth targets and marketing strategies, in the way the vice president might be with Chouinard's passion for conservation. But conscientiousness and business savvy each tell half of this story. Chouinard and Patagonia say they're "committed to the core." Look there and you find both green values and a dedication to their customer base, the adventure sports junkies-- "dirt bags" as Chouinard likes to say, counting himself-- who live to climb mountains and surf. "Let My People Go Surfing" is his account of balancing idealism with growing a $200 million business, all while giving himself an excuse to get out in the fresh air.

Chouinard is clear from the first few lines where his heart lies: "I've been a businessman for almost fifty years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit being an alcoholic or a lawyer. I've never respected the profession." Still, he thinks like a businessman, even in those formative years. He chose the name Patagonia partly because of its exotic imagery and partly because the word is easily pronounceable in many languages—a requirement only if your intention is to export your brand abroad.

Chouinard, in truth, is every bit the CEO, by way of Earnest Hemingway. He cheerfully recounts achievements, such as converting his apparel line to organic cotton in the mid-90s, without shying from his shortcomings, such instituting layoffs during the recession early in that same decade. He takes advice, in equal measure, from modern management theory and Zen. Scattered throughout the book are anecdotes where Chouinard scales peaks in Yosemite, kayaks in the North Atlantic, surfs in Ventura and fly fishes in Tierra Del Fuego. Whether in the boardroom or on the surfboard, he conveys the tone of “dirt bag,” driving down a road with the reflection of a conquered mountain in his rear view mirror.

“Let My People Go Surfing” begins as an autobiography. Chouinard becomes increasingly captivated with nature as a kid growing up in Southern California. Soon after learning to climb, he set out to improve the equipment of the day. He bought an anvil and materials and began turning out handcrafted carabiners and pitons. It was in those early days that he found the design aesthetic that he carries with him today: Good design strives for elegance and durability and consists of nothing superfluous. Whether it’s an ice ax or a fleece pullover, “complexity is often a sure sign the functional needs have not been met,” he says.

If Patagonia’s product design is simple, its mission statement, by contrast, is multi-layered and nuanced. The first goal: to make a great product. The second goal is to do no environmental harm. Chouinard admits the second goal is impossible in absolute terms, but he has pushed Patagonia on this point. An ad from the company in 2004 states: “Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base. Without a healthy environment, there are no shareholders, no employees, no customers and no business.” Chouinard details what he says are the “real costs” of items ranging from hamburgers to his own jackets and shirts. He goes as far as to say, “the most responsible way for a consumer and a good citizen to buy clothes is to buy used clothing.” By staying above the fray of fashion trends, this apparent economic kiss of death is transformed into an opportunity. Some of Patagonia’s vintage designs from the 1980s sell today for thousands of dollars, says Chouinard.

In fact, he says that every time he did what was right for the environment, he has made a profit. It’s a fact that he would like to impart on other business owners and executives, who make up half of the target audience of “Let My People Go Surfing.” Patagonia is an acknowledged leader of corporate innovation—from its environmental stance to its early implementation of child day care at the office. The title of the book is an illusion to Chouinard’s role as prophet of flextime. As long as the work gets done, he posits, why shouldn’t you hit the waves when they’re breaking right?

The other half of the book’s audience is the consumer. One of the main reasons Patagonia resisted explosive growth followed by selling-out to the highest bidder, Chouinard says, is so the company could be a vehicle for continued environmental activism. The corporation donates one percent of net sales to causes, encourages employees who are involved with conservation issues, and even holds seminars to train and nurture grassroots action. But while productive, these efforts are small compared to educating consumers, Chouinard says: “Ninety percent of what we buy in the mall ends up in the dump within sixty to ninety days. It’s no wonder we are no longer called citizens but consumers. A consumer is a good name for us, and our politicians and corporate leaders are reflections of whom we’ve become.”

It’s possible, though, to have it all—a superior product that’s ecologically responsible—if you believe Chouinard. Look at Patagonia, where you find threads with soul. Rugged threads with soul, he would no doubt add.

By Gregory Yanick - New York
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

Partnerships in environmental activism between corporate good citizens like Patagonia, government and private individuals can have dramatic affects for the future of our planet. Margaret "Mardy" Murie who once said, "The United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by, or not so poor she cannot afford to protect them." To advise your representatives in government of your commitment to the Endangered Species Act, sign the
Legacy Pledge.

Mardi devoted her life to the preservation of our nation's wild lands, 1902-2003. A new film examines the rich environmental legacy of this remarkable woman

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10:05 PM

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The House That Ruth Built, re-built?

Step down to the street from the 161 Street subway platform in the Bronx and you’re unmistakably in the heart of Yankee country. Blue and white painted buildings stretch for blocks in either direction selling wares adorned with the overlapping “NY” logo, memorabilia and four-dollar hot dogs. Every day is a carnival held in celebration of one of the most storied franchises in professional sports.

Look across the street and you’re confronted by the towering limestone façade of the House that Babe Ruth built—Yankee Stadium. Built in 1923, the stadium has been home to a team that won one out of every four World Series championships in the twentieth century. Fans refer to it as the “front office of Major League Baseball,” alluding to the organization’s influence within the league. The Yankees are valued at $950 million, according to Forbes Magazine, a figure nearly double that of the nearest competitor. The Yankees are nothing less than an icon of America and New York City.

And they want a new stadium—nothing ostentatious, just a sensible, attractive structure located a few hundred feet north of their current digs. After years of wrangling over finances and navigating New York’s political terrain, the Yankees agreed to fund the entire $800 million stadium project, provided that the city chips in $400 million for "infrastructure improvements." Chief among the improvements are land for new parks and an additional Metro North stop. State law stipulates that the Yankees must replace an equivalent amount of green space elsewhere in the Bronx to that which the new stadium consumes.

The upheaval will affect the area between 161 and 164 Streets-- blocks currently reserved for McCombs Dam and John Mullaly parks. At the site's northern edge, the future location of the stadium’s outfield seats, sits an equipment shed where Willie ("just Willy is fine," he says) coordinates a youth tennis league.

"I'm kind of biased," Willie says, when asked about the new stadium. "Groundbreaking is supposed to happen in the spring of 2006. If they don't move the tennis courts by the beginning of summer, then the kids will lose the whole season."

The twenty courts are slated to be moved due west of the stadium to the bank of the Harlem River. The Bronx is set to receive 70 parks improvement projects, according to a speech by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a ceremony for the newly founded Barretto Point Park. The Bronx is one of the greener boroughs in New York City with 191 residents per acre of parkland. It ranks second behind Staten Island and seems bucolic compared to Manhattan's 569 residents per acre of parks. The city envisions a bold "South Bronx Greenway" by turning several miles of largely abandoned industrial properties into public access waterfront.

But critics of the stadium plan accuse the city of taking on too many costs in pandering to private interests, and some Bronx residents remain skeptical. "Harlem River Drive is too far away," says Willie, waving his hand towards the river about four blocks from where he sits. "The community center across the street is staying, so if the tennis courts are blocks and blocks away, they'll be isolated. You don't know if it's safe for kids to walk down there."

"And you don't know what's in the ground, like soil contamination from the plants along the river," he says. A South Bronx resident all of his life, he’s cautious of redevelopment plans, whether proposed by private interests or City Hall. He’s witnessed inequities in his neighborhood over real estate, where “mixed income” housing inevitably ends up favoring the affluent, he says. "The Yankees say they need a new stadium, but what they mean is they want more luxury boxes. The stadium will actually have fewer seats. None of this stuff is ever for the average person."

"They want to move the sod from the original field and keep the [stadium’s] original facade. They have the original sod and facade right where they are now," ha adds, before echoing a common theme among sports fans: "It's that building" -- he says, jabbing at the air in the direction of the old stadium-- "that has the mystique. That's where Babe Ruthpointed up to the stands and hit home runs. The new building won't have that mystique." Some Yankees fans have pushed to declare the current stadium a protected historical landmark.

Another concern voiced by environmental and community groups is traffic. According to project planners, fewer seats mean fewer vehicles commuting to games. But Teresa Toro, New York City Coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, believes otherwise.

“It is not the number of seats in the stadium but the number of parking spaces that influences how many people will drive,” Toro said at a public scoping meeting at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in July. “This project includes the construction of four new parking garages. Although the new stadium has fewer seats, the Project involves constructing many more parking spaces – from 7,079 to 11,044 in a half-mile radius.”

The American Lung Association gives low marks to New York City’s air quality. A 2004 report found one million residents suffering from asthma including 300,000 children. The city’s asthma mortality rate was the highest in the country last year.

Toro chided planners for favoring parking garages to a new mass transit station. “[The Department of Transportation’s] Bronx Arterial Needs study also found that many people who usually take Metro North drive to Yankees games so they don’t have to return to Grand Central or 125th Street to catch a train,” she said. “Unfortunately, proposals to build a Metro North station at Yankee stadium have been languishing for years. Instead of displacing parkland for parking, why can’t the Yankees bring this project to fruition?”

Directly north of 161 Street from Yankee Stadium are a running track and a group of covered bleachers. Both are filled with activity on this mild summer afternoon. Beside the track is Babe Ruth Field—comprised of two baseball diamonds with imperfect edges that share an outfield. After the tennis courts, the track and the backstops are all cleared away, the field will hold the new Yankee Stadium's home plate.

By Gregory Yanick - New York
Greener Magazine Staff Writer

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9:12 AM

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Water's journey"

Tonight's PBS special Water's Journey: The River Returns is a tale told in 3 dimensions: water, time and film by filmographer, spelunker and Floridian Jill Heinerth with her partner and film producer Wes Skiles which traces the journey of Florida's St. Johns River following upstream from its mouth above Jacksonville south to locate its hidden origins north of Lake Okeechobee. The film is beautifully filmed through underground springs to urban landscapes and emerges to open air as we travel above the river's course to get a sobering view of the intimacy we all share with our watery landscape.

Living in Florida or any land surrounded by water we often forget how much our lives are affected by the very water we take for granted. Oh, we opine and disclaim whenever an oil spill or some corporate polluter damages a stretch of beach or disturbs protected nesting grounds but all too often we ignore the more obvious signals that what we do and where we live has as much if not more impact on the natural course of water in our environment than it has on us.

The film's team takes us on a sometimes excruciatingly beautiful and at other times wretchedly ugly tour of this once pristine waterway. Enter the world of underground caverns and culverts, passing through urban decay and concrete channels that are a manmade solution to carrying the stream. Instead of arriving at a lake Victoria-like head waters of the great Nile, Heinerth and her fellow explorers stand behind the parking lot of a Wal-Mart and despair at the tangle of twisted, abandoned shopping carts and plastic debris that marks one of the well springs of the river and we begin to understand that we hold the fate these great healing water courses in our hands.

Check your local listings and by all means watch this important PBS documentary and when you are next outside doing yard work question what becomes of the debris and runoff that you contribute to the local system and where it travels.

For more information and resources regarding Florida water systems go to Florida EPA Education and Outreach.

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12:04 PM