In this week's Newsletter: Emissions cuts for NYC buildings will now be mandatory, join us for Community volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove Park, excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might be making food less nutritious and much more!
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NYC Announces Mandatory Emissions Cuts for Existing Buildings


Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new mandates that will require building owners to make sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The new rules will compel owners to meet fossil fuel caps – requiring deeper upgrades to boilers, water heaters, roofs and windows on an accelerated 2030 timeframe – with sharp penalties for failure to comply.

“Time is not on our side,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York will continue to step up and make critical changes to help protect our city and prevent the worst effects of climate change. We must shed our buildings’ reliance on fossil fuels here and now. To do this, we are mandating upgrades to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings, helping us continue to honor the goals of the Paris Agreement. No matter what happens in Washington, we will not shirk our responsibility to act on climate in our own backyard.”

The mandates announced today frontload the most dramatic reductions into the coming decade, and are the first step the City must take to help hold global temperature increases to just 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change.

Mandated fossil fuel caps will apply to all buildings over 25,000 square feet, and will trigger replacement of fossil fuel equipment and efficiency upgrades in the worst-performing 14,500 buildings, which together produce 24 percent of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to meet these targets, building owners will make improvements to boilers, heat distribution, hot water heaters, roofs and windows, requiring deeper changes during their replacement or refinancing cycles over the next 12 to 17 years.

You can read more at the NYC.gov website here.

Join Us in the Park This Saturday

It's been a busy and fruitful summer at the park, thank you to everyone who has come out and helped us weed and water and get through the hottest (but not driest thanks to all the rain!) part of the season. 

This Saturday, September 16th from 10am-1pm we will be hosting our second to last volunteer day of the season and we hope you will join us! 

When/Where: We will meet at Stuyvesant Cove Park at the Solar One office just south of 23rd street on the East River 24-20 FDR Drive, Service Rd East, New York, NY 10010 at 10am for sign in and to collect tools before heading out into the park. If you need further directions please let me know. 

What to bring: Plan to wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty, close toed shoes and bring water bottles, hats and anything else that will make you feel most comfortable working outside. You're welcome to leave personal belongings in our office where they will be secure. There is a restroom and water cooler to refill water bottles. We provide all tools and gloves.

What we will be doing:
We are receiving shipment of our fall plant order this week and will be adding 25 new plant varieties to our roster (of currently over 120 diverse species) and getting in a total of approximately 2,000 individual plants, many of them plugs-  very small, rooted plants that work well for mass plantings. It is always exciting to add new plants to the park, but this order is particularly unique and includes some very rare and hard to find varieties of which we are thrilled to be able to grow in Stuy Cove. We look forward to sharing why we chose these particular plants, and a bit about the history of where the seed was collected (sustainably from naturally existing plant communities) on volunteer day as we plant and water. 

RSVP to liza@solar1.org. We hope to see you on Saturday!

Is Excess CO2  in the Atmosphere Making Food Less Nutritious?

Among the many worrying affects of climate change, there are some we are more aware of than others. Stronger storms (hello, Harvey, Irma and Jose!), rising sea levels, melting sea ice and, of course, rising temperatures have all been studied pretty extensively. But now a mathematician is raising questions about how rising CO2 levels might be affecting the nutritional content of the plants we eat.

Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

It turned out that when the algae became too successful, they didn't produce more nutrients. Surprisingly, they produced less protein, minerals and vitamins and more sugar. 

Asked to comment for this story, Marion Nestle, a nutrition policy professor at New York University who’s one of the best-known nutrition experts in the country, initially expressed skepticism about the whole concept but offered to dig into a file she keeps on climate issues.

After reviewing the evidence, she changed her tune. “I’m convinced,” she said, in an email, while also urging caution: It wasn’t clear whether CO2-driven nutrient depletion would have a meaningful impact on public health. We need to know a whole lot more, she said.

You can read the whole (long but worthwhile) article on Politico.com here.

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Upcoming Events at Solar One

9/16
Community Volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove Park
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 10:00am-1pm, free
RSVP to liza@solar1.org.

Other Events


9/16
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Elmhurst
New Life Fellowship, 82-10 Queens Boulevard bet Simonson & Goldsmith Sts, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Chinatown/LES
Southwest corner of Christie & Rivington Sts, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

9/17
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Upper West Side
Amsterdam Avenue at West 110th Street, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

9/18
Offshore Wind in New York: What is Next?
Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street bet Amsterdam Ave & Morningside Dr, Manhattan, 7-9pm, free with advance registration

9/19
Harlem River Geenway Link
Pelham Fritz Rec Center, Marcus Garvey Park, Mt. Morris Park W at 122nd St, Manhattan, 7-9pm, free

Meet a Solar One Staff Member: Liza Mindemann, Park Manager

Liza joined Solar One in the spring of 2015 and took over as the manager of Stuyvesant Cove Park in the spring of 2016 bringing fifteen years experience in the field in a variety of capacities including garden design, installation and management.

Growing up in New Hampshire, the majority of her childhood was spent outdoors learning through exploration and adventure, the habits of the natural world. This instilled a life-long connection and love of the earth that eventually led her to pursue a career in horticulture. Her favorite thing about gardening is that it touches on many elements, including the aesthetic, creative and conceptual coupled with the physical, scientific and practical. It is Liza’s vision to draw from elements of her own childhood so that students of all ages can have hands-on experience with nature in this urban environment where such opportunities are not as readily accessible.

Current projects at Stuy Cove include turning part of the park into an interactive outdoor classroom where visitors can explore, experiment and interact with the native plants of the park to develop their own connections to the natural world.

Liza, along with seasonal gardener Maggie Herskovits, will be running Saturday's Community Volunteer Day. Sign up if you haven't already!
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