In this week's newsletter: NY State's new climate law is the most ambitious in the country, two hours a week in nature confers health and happiness benefits (according to science), reduce plastic packaging through dehydration and much more!
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NYS to Pass the US's Most Ambitious Climate Law


This week, the New York State legislature passed the most ambitious action plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in the country. All that remains now is the Governor's signature, which he has pledged to give. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is on its way to becoming a reality.

Climate plans have been introduced and passed in the State Assembly repeatedly, but have never before passed the State Senate, which underwent a change in power dynamics after the 2018 election. The plan that passed has a few changes from previous plans, including a target for 100% economy-wide net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (a concession from previous plans mandating zero emissions period), 100% carbon free electricity by 2040, no less than 35% of investments will be made in "frontline" communities (mostly low income communities that are threatened by sea level rise, bad air quality or other climate-associated factors), and the creation of a council to figure out how best to achieve the bill's goals.

While provisions to create high quality jobs targeting underserved and underemployed people didn't make it to the final cut, the law will be a huge step forward in fighting what now seem to be inevitable effects from the changing climate.

You can read all the details of the changes to the CCPA and why it's such a big deal for New York on the Vox website here.

Spend Two Hours a Week in Nature for Health and Happiness Benefits

It's intuitive that spending time in natural settings is good for us. But how much time do you need to spend outdoors to get the benefits, which include lower blood pressure, less anxiety and depression, increased creativity and cognition, and even lowering the risk of developing certain diseases? A new UK study has attempted to quantify that, and the results are pretty doable: All it takes is two hours per week!

Of course, the natural setting part is important. If all you're doing is walking around your urban block, you probably won't benefit as much as if you spent those two hours in a park or wilderness area surrounded by trees, plants and wildlife. And the study only considered the effects from being outside, and not extra benefits from exercise.

The study comes as doctors are starting to prescribe spending time in nature as part of an overall wellness regimen, but no one knew how much time was optimal. The UK study, which followed the weekly activities of 20,000 people, is the first to quantify this.

So get out, and get healthy! You can read more about how nature affects our health and wellness on the Fast Company website here. 

Is This the Solution to Our Plastic Packaging Problem?

Plastic pollution is a big problem; just a cursory glance at any roadside or sidewalk makes that crystal clear. Most plastics- especially the most ubiquitous single use examples- never get recycled, and while plastic never breaks down completely, it does break down just enough to cause massive amounts of trouble. From the stomachs of marine animals to our own bloodstreams, plastic is everywhere.

But even though the mass use of plastic has only been going on for less than 100 years out of all of global history, humans have used petroleum and petroleum products to hold water in or keep it out since ancient times. But what if we stopped adding water before we ship certain items?

Personal care and cleaning products are mostly water, and removing the water and saving the additive would likely have even more profound benefits than just eliminating a large volume of plastic from the environment. It would also lower transportation costs (transportation itself is a big climate culprit) by saving fuel, both in shipping and for the purchaser. Imagine if you could take home a whole year's worth of laundry soap in a small box!

There are several companies that have jumped on the dehydration bandwagon, as it's known. Learn who they are and what they make on Treehugger.com here!
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Upcoming Events at Solar One

7/9-7/30
Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Summer Music Series
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30-8:30pm, free
Please check this space for exact program info, or visit the SCPA website here.

7/27
Community Volunteer Day
Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, Manhattan, 9am-12pm, free
For more information and to RSVP, email Park Manager Emily Curtis-Murphy. Pizza lunch will be served.

Upcoming Events

6/22
Kayak the Bay!
Little Bay Park, Totten Avenue & Cross Island Parkway Service Road, Queens, 1-4 pm, free

6/25
Sims Recycling Tour
SMR Material Recovering Facility & Education Center, 472 Second Avenue on the 29th St Pier, Brooklyn, 4-5:30 pm, $10 Urban Green members

6/27
The Future of Clean Energy Transmission
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 8:30-10:30 am, $50 general admission
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