In this week's newsletter: S1 in the news: CareerCLUE at August Martin HS, can NYC's buildings adapt to a much hotter world, come to the next Clean EC panel discussion during Climate Week 2019 and much more!
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S1 in the News: GDL CareerCLUE at August Martin High School


For the past three years, students from South Jamaica's August Martin High School have participated in the CareerCLUE program, a collaboration between the Department of Education, the city's Summer Youth Employment Program and Solar One. If you're a high school sophomore or junior, you can sign up for CareerCLUE and get paid to explore emerging green careers.

Last Friday, the Queens Courier gave the program some much-deserved love and attention, featuring the program, its educators and participants. 

“CareerCLUE provides experience for 14- and 15-year-olds to get paid while learning about green jobs and careers growing here in New York City,” said Karen Alsen, Director of Education at Solar One. “During this program we deliver our Green Design Lab curriculum, which is our K-12 curriculum. It focuses on environmental sustainability, energy, food, water, materials, recycling and air quality.”

“I hope this program lasts a very long time,” said Treasure Russell, 15, a rising junior. “It’s very fun and educational for science. I wanted to learn about topics like water pollution and how our food was sent to us. So far, I’ve learned the different types of farming, food waste and the amount of water we use … we built solar cars, went on trips to different areas like a recycling center in Brooklyn.”

You can read the whole article on the Queens Courier website here. Congratulations to the whole CareerCLUE team on another successful season!

Compostable Bowls May Be More Evil Than We Think

Takeout containers (and other single use objects like water bottles, shopping bags and straws) are part of modern working life; they also create a ton of waste. Hard plastic, styrofoam, plastic coated paper- none of these get recycled enough, and sometimes not at all. But a busy lifestyle and a packed day sometimes make using them unavoidable.

Over the past few years, chains like Chipotle and Sweetgreen, and many lunch emporiums all over the city, have offered what are supposed to be fully biodegradable, compostable bowls in a bid to make fast casual takeout more sustainable.

Unfortunately compostable fiber containers are not exactly what they seem to be.

According to experts consulted for this story on the New Food Economy website, all molded fiber bowls contain PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a broad class of more than 4,000 fluorinated compounds that do not biodegrade naturally in the environment. This means that the bowls used at restaurants like Chipotle and Sweetgreen aren’t truly compostable, as has been claimed. Instead, they are likely making compost more toxic, adding to the chemical load of the very soil and water they were supposed to help improve. And rather than degrade quickly, they contain potentially hazardous ingredients that never break down. Not in five years, and not in 500.

The New Food Economy tested fiber bowls from 14 locations of 8 different New York City restaurants, including multiple outposts of Chipotle, Dig Inn (which has since changed its name to Dig), and Sweetgreen. All of the samples tested contained high levels of fluorine, which experts including Notre Dame Chemist Graham Peaslee, who conducted the testing, say indicates treatment with PFAS compounds. These powerful compounds are what allow these bowls to hold hot, wet, and greasy food, which would quickly destroy any untreated paper product. PFAS is what keeps your lunch from falling into your lap. 

The public health implications of this finding are not yet clear. The very worst PFAS chemicals are linked to a range of serious health outcomes, from colitis and thyroid disorders to kidney and testicular cancers, and have been mostly phased out of production in the U.S. These bowls are more likely to contain newer varieties that are just as persistent in the environment and are of grave concern to scientists, but have not been studied as closely for potential health effects.

One more reason to just pack your own lunch in a reusable container. Bon appetit!

Next Clean Energy Connections Panel Discussion: Carbon to Value on September 26

Come to the WNYC Greene Space on Thursday September 26th for a Climate Week Clean Energy Connection panel discussion! 

The topic is the next frontier in climate change solutions: capturing, sequestering, and utilizing atmospheric carbon. While many industries can move to carbon-free energy sources, others, like cement production, materials manufacturing, and liquid fuels, have serious technical barriers to fully decarbonizing. Additionally, at the rate we are currently pumping carbon into the atmosphere, mitigation strategies will be necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change coming this century.

Capturing this atmospheric carbon and converting it to something with economic value is one solution to many of these problems, and we are seeing a number of exciting technologies and businesses emerge to rise to this challenge. This panel will discuss these challenges and the related opportunities for innovation, as well as the current and future policy decisions, such as a price on carbon, necessary to enable this future.
 

Moderator:

Nicholas Eisenberger, Managing Partner, Pure Energy Partners

Panelists:

Stafford Sheehan, CTO and Co-Founder, Air Co

Denise Grab, Western Regional Director, NYU School of Law Institute for Policy Integrity

More panelists TBA

Agenda:

6:30 - Doors open

7:00 - Panel discussion

8:30 - Networking

Tickets are $25 general admission, and $12.50 for students (limited availability). You can purchase tickets here!

Clean Energy Connections: Carbon to Value
Thursday September 26
6:30-9pm
The Greene Space
44 Charlton Street at the corner of Varick St, Manhattan

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Upcoming Events at Solar One

10/2
Solar One Oktoberfest
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, Manhattan, 6:30-10:00pm, $85+

Upcoming Events

8/23
Ruffle Bar Kayaking Excursion
Floyd Bennett Field, Seaplane Ramp, Aviation Road, Brooklyn, 12:30-3pm, free

8/28
Port of New York Boat Tour
Pier 83, Hudson River & E. 43rd Street, Manhattan, 6-8:30pm, $40 general admission/$30 OHNY members
 
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