In this week's Newsletter: Have a green baby, lots about ladybugs, organic vs. conventional farming and much more!
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Having a Green Baby


Deciding to have a child is one of the most life-altering decisions a person can make, and also one of the most environmentally impactful. Rapid growth makes clothes, toys and infant furniture seem obsolete almost as soon as they're purchased. There's always laundry to be done, and of course all those dreaded diapers.

On the other hand, children are wonderful, and where would we end up without them?! Nowhere, of course. Since it's impossible and unrealistic to ban reproduction (and even trying to limit it is highly controversial), here are some great green tips from the NY League of Conservation Voters to help you raise a green baby.

We Released Thousands of Ladybugs in Stuyvesant Cove Park and It Was Awesome

Spring has sprung, and Stuyvesant Cove Park has some serious spring fever. Lots of flowers are blooming, all kinds of plants are springing up as fast as they can and we hope you'll come join us for our Community Volunteer Days!

But spring also brings pests, and because Stuy Cove is a completely organic, sustainably managed park, we can't use chemical pesticides to get rid of unwanted little visitors. Instead, we use an Integrated Pest Management system, which basically means recruiting other, beneficial insects to get rid of the nasty ones.

To that end, we ordered 140,000 ladybugs online (yes, you can do that!) and released them last week during our Wildflower Day event. And as a result, we l;earned some fascinating things about ladybugs!

For example, ladybugs are not actually bugs but beetles. while they may come in a variety of colors including yellow and pink, most native species are red. Some ladybugs has spots on their backs and some don't; however those spots only indicate which exact species of ladybug they are (there are more than 500 in the US alone), not the age of the insect. The number of spots do not change during the ladybug's life cycle. As larvae, they look like tiny spiky alligators, and as adults, they are bad-tasting and poisonous to birds and other insects, just like most red-colored animals. When startled or threatened, they secrete an orange liquid that smells and tastes bad. You might think that secretion is some kind of waste product, but it isn't! It's their blood, and it seeps out through their leg joints!

You can learn more about the fascinating world and life cycle of the ladybug on Wikipedia here.

Organic Farming Is Better than Conventional Farming, Right? Not So Fast

Since at least the 1960s and the back-to-the-land movement, there has been a conversation across the United States about what constitutes sustainable food production, and that conversation has only become more intense over the past 15 years with the rise of the locavore movement. And so far, that conversation has mostly involved evaluating the process of food production ans whether organic farming is moire sustainable than conventional farming. 

But this article from the Environmental Defense Fund proposes a different approach: evaluating farms according to their performance rather than their processes. In some cases, conventional farms produce more usable food with a smaller environmental footprint; in others, organic wins.

So it turns out that a sustainable farming solution is much the same as the renewable energy solution. It will not rely on one process or technique alone, but on careful assessment to apply the correct process in the right situation to create the most favorable outcome.
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Upcoming Events at Solar 1

5/21
Community Park Volunteer Day
Solar 1/Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 11am-2pm, free
RSVP to liza@solar1.org. Pizza lunch provided by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association.

Other Events

5/20
2016 Left Forum
John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street bet 10th & 11th Aves, Manhattan, all day through Sunday, sliding scale admission $10+ 

BPI Multifamily Building Operator Training
Solar One Workforce Training Lab, 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Queens, various times and prices, check link above

5/21
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Astoria
St. George's Church, 14th Street bet Astoria Blvd & 27th Ave, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

5/22
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Upper West Side
UWS Jewish Community Center, Amsterdam Avenue bet W. 75th & W. 76th Sts, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

5/23
Advanced Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training (IEMA Approved) in New York
Beacon Hotel, 2130 Broadway bet W. 74th & W. 75th Sts, Manhattan, Mon-Frti 9am-5pm through June 24, various prices from $1,390 + fees

BPI Multifamily Building Operator Training
Solar One Workforce Training Lab, 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Queens, various times and prices, check link above

5/24
Parks Without Borders Summit
The New School, 63 Fifth Avenue bet E. 13th & E. 14th Sts, Manhattan, all day, $10

GPRO Operations and Maintenance Training
Solar One Workforce Training Lab, 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Queens, various times and prices, check link above

5/25
Securities Disclosures and Climate Change in View of Peabody and ExxonMobil
Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104, 435 West 116th Street bet Amsterdam Ave & Morningside Dr, 6:30-8:30pm, free

BPI Multifamily Building Operator Training
Solar One Workforce Training Lab, 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Queens, various times and prices, check link above 

5/26
GPRO Operations and Maintenance Training
Solar One Workforce Training Lab, 29-76 Northern Boulevard, Queens, various times and prices, check link above
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