In this week's Newsletter: Keep microfiber particles out of the waste stream with the Cora Ball, SVA students beautify Stuyvesant Cove Park, Supreme Court will continue to hear litigation on the Clean Water Act and much more!
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Kickstarter Project Keeps Microfibers from Escaping Your Laundry

As people who have grave concerns about our environmental future, readers of this newsletter are likely very much aware of the problem of ocean pollution and its effect on the global food chain. You may have seen pictures of sea birds or whales with stomachs full of plastic, but in fact the worst part of the problem is the plastics that you can't see. And we all contribute to that part of the problem every time we wash our clothes.

In the US, contemporary clothing is about 60% plastic, in the form of polyester, nylon, fleece, vinyl and about a million more fabrics made from petrochemicals. Even the natural fiber fabrics we use are treated with various chemicals, including dyes, flame retardants and other types of coatings. And water being the universal solvent, extremely tiny particles of plastic come loose from our clothes and flow through our drainage systems into our waterways, where they are consumed by fish, eventually making it back up the food chain and into us. Microfiber debris can be smaller than a red blood cell, and cannot be removed using current wastewater treatment technology.

But now a woman in Vermont has invented the Cora Ball, which uses a form of biomimicry (the Cora Ball was inspired by the way corals remove particles from their own ocean environment) and is raising money on Kickstarter to put the device into production. If you invest $20 before April 25, you can expect to receive your very own Cora Ball in July of 2017. Invest $55 and give two away to some ocean-loving friends or family. The campaign, which only sought to raise $10,000, is now at $132,000+ and counting. By keeping larger shed fibers from entering the water stream, the Cora Ball makes our oceans that much less polluted with every load of wash.

SVA Students Beautify Stuyvesant Cove Park

Stuyvesant Cove Park's beautiful little two acre stretch graces a part of the East Side that is otherwise quite urban. The native plants that flower throughout the season attract many different birds and butterflies and create a somewhat hidden green oasis where the community loves to eat lunch, exercise, fish and watch the river traffic.  There is one part of the park, however, that has long been in need of a little extra beautification, and that is the southernmost spot near 18th Street, where the Park turns into the Patrick Brown Walkway and the FDR Drive exits onto Avenue C. Here, the walking path passes under the highway creating a dark and unaesthetic corridor where pigeons roost and cars idle waiting for the traffic lights to turn. 

In partnership with our neighbors, the School of Visual Arts Cultural Partner Program, led by Regina Degnan, SVA's International Student Advisor, a team of young artists and illustrators put their creative minds to work to bring the brightness and beauty of the park gardens to 18th street. The students spent many hours sketching and designing a mural inspired by the park's native flora and presented these designs at the last Community Board meeting. With overwhelming support from Solar One and the community at large, over the course of two weekends the students painted a colorful mural across the wall that separates the FDR Drive from the Park at 18th Street. Many park goers stopped to watch the students paint, took pictures and thanked them for their wonderful work. The intent of the project is for it to be an annual collaboration between Solar One and SVA which in the future will potentially even become a painting event that would be open to the public. 

Supreme Court Deals Trump Administration a Setback on Clean Water Act Rule

While the Clean Water Act remains on the critical list, the Supreme Court decided it would continue hearing litigation over the Obama administration's Clean Water Act protections. The Justice Department filed a motion to ask the Court to halt the case while the administration tried to completely rescind or repeal the law. The issue before the Court is whether challenges to the law should be heard by the Appeals courts or by the federal district courts.

The Supreme Court decided to take up the case in January shortly before Inauguration Day, but the Trump administration this month asked the court to pause the case following an executive order compelling U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to take another look at the joint rule.

State supporters of the rule, trade groups and environmental organizations had urged justices to continue hearing the case, and environmentalists argued that the questions over the correct legal venue would continue to be relevant given that they would likely sue over whatever replacement rule the Trump administration issues. The choice of court affects the resources needed to litigate the merits of challenges, sets the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits, and helps determine whether actions can be challenged in subsequent civil or criminal proceedings.

You can read more about this at E& here.

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Upcoming Events at Solar One

Final Fridays Micro Film Series: Dirt! The Story of Soil
Solar 1, 24-20 FDR Drive Service Road East south of 23rd St at the East River, 6:30pm, $10 donation includes popcorn and 1 drink

Other Events

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Inwood
Inwood Hill Park, entrance at Seaman Ave & Isham St, Manhattan, 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

Stop 'N' Swap: Bensonhurst
Brooklyn Public Library, New Utrecht Branch, 1743 86th Street bet Bay 16th St & 18th Ave, Brooklyn, 12-3pm, free
Clothing, shoes, belts, hats, and accessories only, please. 

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Chinatown
Division Street bet Market St & Bowery, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Tompkins Square
Avenue A bet E. 9th & E. 10th Sts, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

Daylighting: The Measurable & Immeasurable
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 6-8pm, 

Water Cooperation and Conflict: The Local and Global Challenge
Schimmel Theater at Pace University, One Pace Plaza bet Spruce & Franklin Sts, Manhattan, 8am-5pm, $35 general admission
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