In this week's Newsletter: 2016 could be a big year for education funding in NYS, what's hot in solar: transparency, what if the world turned vegetarian and much more!
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Will 2016 Be the Year that New York Increases Education Funding?

Funding for public school education is a tricky, highly politicized subject ll over the Untied States, and New York is no exception. Nearly a decade ago, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision ruled that the state was failing to provide students with funding necessary to receive a “sound basic education", and the state set aside additional funds, known as foundation aid, to try and close the funding gap between upper income and lower income schools.  Unfortunately, the recession of 2008 eliminated the additional funds. Now those funds are flowing to schools once again, as part of the 2016-2017 state budget.

The new budget restores $266 million in foundation aid, along with some other measures that, in all, add up to over $900 million in increased education funding, for a 4.3% total budget increase to a proposed $24.22 billion.

Foundation aid is specifically set aside to help low income schools get the supplies and pay the teachers they need to provide a solid education, particularly since they receive little funding through property taxes, as wealthier school districts do. 

“There are 20 different ways that you could change the way public schools are funded, but at the end of the day the only number that matters is the final school aid number,” said Carl Korn, chief press officer for NYSUT, the state teachers union. “There have been many proposals over the last few decades on how to change how schools are funded. It would be a little flippant to say we don’t care how they’re funded, but at the end of the day, what’s most important is that our public schools are funded properly to ensure any child – no matter their zip code – has an equal opportunity to succeed.”

You can read more about the proposed education funding on City and State here.

What's Hot in Solar: SolarWindow Technologies

When most of us think of solar panels, we tend to envision the classic, blue-black silicon wafer panels, like the ones that power CitiBike stations and roadside electronic signage or sit on rooftops, crisscrossed with silver wires to conduct the electricity. But last week, SolarWindow Technologies released this video of the transparent solar panel technology that they've developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Transparent panels could add many benefits, including making the windows on skyscrapers power generators and reducing the environmental impacts of panel production (silicon, while extremely abundant on Earth, still has to mined in the same way as coal). SolarWindow believes they could generate 50% more energy because they could cover much more of the south facing surface of a building than traditional solar pv.

You can read more about this on here.

What Would Happen if We All Became Vegetarians?

Food production is a very carbon- and methane-intensive process, and meat is a very big part of that- a new study published last week showed that, among other benefits, switching to a global vegetarian diet would reduce food-related emissions as much as 63%.

Of course, the whole world will not decide to give up meat all together, at once, and as this cute video from AsapSCIENCE explains, there are the 1 billion people worldwide (mostly small farmers in minimally developed countries) who earn their livelihoods through animal farming. But reducing our meat consumption is very doable, especially in the developed world; here's  handy guide to help get you started.

Upcoming Events at Solar 1

There are no upcoming events at Solar 1. See you in the spring!

Other Events

Designing for Life and Death: Sustainable Disposition and Spaces of Remembrance in the 21st Century Metropolis
Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Low Memorial Library, Faculty Room, Manhattan, 9am-5pm, $25 general attendance
Columbia students, staff and faculty can register here.

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Flatbush
Flatbush Food Coop, Cortelyou Road bet Rugby & Marlborough Rd, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Carroll Gardens
Smith Street bet President & Union Sts, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Forest Hills
Forest Hills Jewish Center, 69th Road bet Queens Blvd & Austin St, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

#ParisAgreement: Climate Change and COP21 - What's Next?
Columbia University, Morningside Campus, International Affairs Building, Kellogg Center, Room 1501, Manhattan, 11am-2-pm, free

Shared Security: To End War, Poverty, Racism, and Address the Climate Crisis!
New York Society for Ethical Culture, Ceremonial Hall, 2 West 64th Street bet Central Park West & Broadway, Manhattan, 6:30-9pm, free/donations welcome

How to Start or Join a Community Park Group - Queens!
Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center, 93-29 Queens Boulevard bet 62nd Ave & 62nd Dr, Queens, 6:30-8:30pm, free
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