Click the heading above to view environment & eco-friendly events this month in Queens. Click the following links to go directly into one of these Queens Neighborhoods: Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Long Island City and Sunnyside.
The Solar Eclipse of 2017 in NYC
The Solar Eclipse: A Shared American Communal Experience
I set about to experience the solar eclipse of 2017, departing for Manhattan at about 1.30 – a bit after the eclipse was to begin. As I made my way to the subway, I met a woman who was heading to Hunters Point South Park to do the same. She offered me the use of her eclipse glasses, which I examined but it was far to early to really use.
The eclipse glasses were opaque and I couldn’t see through them. Apparently they only work when you’re looking at the sun. The glasses this woman had were sponsored by Cisco Systems through a science camp in Rochester, NY. Consumers were advised to be careful about which eclipse glasses to use, as apparently some would not filter out the harmful, eye-damaging rays of the sun. One eclipse audience member told me that the glasses were being sold online – ten for $100. I’ll have more about the protective glasses a bit later as I used the glasses to take what I would call ‘meaningful’ photos.
There were many reports published about how one can damage their eyes by looking directly at the sun. The Washington Post noted that the damage can begin in as little as one and a half minutes, and that looking at the sun in a sequence of little peaks at a time, may not prevent you from doing real damage. It’s worth noting that one can also damage their camera by pointing it directly at the sun for a long period of time. The New York Times noted that the longest the full eclipse will last, is less than three minutes, and that in many places in America it will last less than a minute.
Historically, it’s worth noting that the moon eclipsing the sun happens every 18 months, but most eclipses happen over the oceans which cover about two thirds of the planet earth surface. According to the New York Times, the last time America experienced a full solar eclipse was in 1918, a full 99 years ago, so few if any who are old enough to experience the eclipse this time, are likely to see it again.
The eclipse began along the west coast in Oregon at about 1.15 pm, the peak was at about 2.45 pm and the final was at about 4 pm. I’ll note a few of my times as we run through the rest of this report.
Anyhow, I arrived at Lexington and 77th Street about 2 pm, about 45 minutes before the peak of the eclipse. A few folks were standing in the street looking up, so I shot a photo of the sun at that time, but it didn’t look like much at the blinding rays of light blocked any real photo clarity.
Rest of story with plenty more photos coming later Tuesday 8/22.
Floating Peace Lanterns
Harbor LAB Organizes Floating Peace Lantern Event on East River to Celebrate UN International Day of Peace
Last Sunday evening I made my way down to the East River waterfront in Gantry Park to observe a celebration of the UN International Day of Peace.
Harbor LAB [Learning / Adventure / Boating], an environmental educations non-profit whose activities center around East River & Newtown Creek kyaking and canoeing, had organized the event.
The celebration started in the afternoon along the East River waterfront at Gantry Park and lasted well into the evening. Activities began at 2.30 pm with public paddling of kyaks and canoes, while simultaneously there were meditations, yoga exercises and the preparing of the peace lanterns.
By sundown several speakers for interfaith and peace addressed the crowd before beginning the floating peace lanterns ceremony. The keynote speaker was Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury High Representative for the United Nations, Retired UN Under-Secretary General.
The peace lantern event began with a drum beating by about a half dozen Buddhist monks dressed in traditional bright orange garb. Several hundreds lined up along the shoreline to observe the solemn ceremony and enjoy sunset along the East River.
The first such event was organized by Harbor Lab Founder Erik Bard in 2002. This year Harbor LAB organized the event in conjunction with the Buddhist Council of New York, and the Interfaith Center of New York, Global Movement for the Culture of Peace, and New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The Great Evaporation - An Ozone Hole Parable
Short Story Fiction.
Once Upon a time ... on Another Planet
... in another solar system, there was a paradise that resembled planet Earth. Over a long period of time a certain species was blessed with the intellect and the physical capability of manipulating the world around them. In time this species came to completely rule the planet, although they were never quite able to put in place the methods and processes to rule themselves.
During the height of their planetary supremacy, there were ruling elites who controlled the primary sources of energy for the planet. An insidious by-product of using that energy, was that it began to change the environmental balance that enabled that species, and those species with which they co-existed, to originate and thrive.
What's Going On?
The general population of the ruling species began to realize that imbalances were occuring in their ecosystem, and some scientists on the planet began to make the case that one of the primary causes of the changes was the primary fuel sources used on the planet.
But the powerful ruling energy elite was able to stall the arrival of a general consensus to corrrect the problem, by leveraging their influence in efforts to conceal and discredit the evidence that linked the use of their energy products to the life-threatening, planetary environmental damage. Nonetheless, over time, the general population slowly began to realize what was really happening.
Private Profits Trump Communal Well Being
There were prior examples of similar ruling elites on this planet concealing health information from their customers, so they could sell their products to make more money. They concealed this information in spite of the fact that their products significantly shortened the life span of their customers. Thus, on this planet, it wasn't an unusual practice for some ruling elites to sacrifice the lives of others in order to enrich themselves.
The Great Evaporation
The ruling elites knew that they would lose a lot of money if the planetary population woke up to the fact that over time the planetary warming wouldn't just melt the planetary polar ice caps and wreak havoc with the weather patterns, but that it would ultimately lead to the Great Evaporation, wherein within years after the polar ice caps melted, all of the planetary bodies of water would quickly evaporate into thin air.
You see, the melting polar ice caps were releasing huge amounts of moisture into the eco-system, which hid the fact that the Great Evaporation was already well underway. Without the moisture from the melted polar ice caps, the plantary desiccation would have become more apparent, more quickly, to the planetary scientists and general population. And while the scientists continued predicting a wetter world, with huge rains and flooding, over time they continued to lower their estimates of higher sea levels, because their models failed to include a metric for the Great Evaporation that was going on simultaneously with the polar ice cap melting.
Over time the general population woke up to the fact that the evaporating planetary water no longer condensed, and thus didn't gain mass, and hence didn't return to the planet via planetary gravity - like it normally did. Instead the vapors became permanently dispersed or exited through the ozone hole. And so it was, that in time, the water evaporated and never returned because the ruling energy elites had warmed the planet too much, and concealed the problem for far too long. By the time the general population took notice and started to act, it was too late to fix the problem, which could have been corrrected by migrating the planetary energy sources to renewables.
Nature recycles everything, but this species did not learn that lesson in time. As anyonewho's traveled in the desert knows - it's very hard to stop water from evaporating, especially on a planetary scale.
No Fairytale Ending
Thus our story has an unhappy ending as the surface of this planet dried up. It wasn't long after the Great Evaporation that this planet's surface looked very similar to its barren dry moon and nearby deserted planets.
The Great Desiccation followed the Great Evaporation. As food cannot be grown without water, most of the creatures on the planet perished due to starvation and dehydration and asphyxiation - as all of the planetary vegetation was destroyed.
Of course some of the ruling elites that had caused this terrible planetary genocide survived, but they had to move into controlled air and water environments, similar to the ones found at some of the Texas conference centers.
by Michael Wood - (c) Copyright 2016 / All Rights Reserved
- The last four graphic images link to four different stories by highly respected information sources about the changing ecological system of planet earth. And here's another just in 3/4/16 NYT
- Anchorage receives less than half its normal snowfall and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that warming in Alaska is happening twice as quickly as in the Continental United States.
- One has to ponder whether continuing our current practice of using non-renewable energy sources, is worth the risk of possibly being wrong about what can happen.
- I hope you enjoyed this little planetary parable.
Queens Green Drinks Is Back
Grass Roots Eco-Socials Come Out Of Hibernation
Gathered within were several dozen people who had come from many parts of the borough to have a drink or two and to socialize. The attendees were generally interested or involved in community efforts to create a more sustainable lifestyle in Queens and NYC.
The event was organized by Katie Ellman of GreenShoresNYC, in tandem with Angela Stach Co-Chair of Transportation Alternatives Queens, and Len Maniace the President of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Publisher of PlanetNYC.com. Katie is shown with scarf at front, Len Maniace is standing behind her and Angela Stach is shown with name badge at right. Phillip Papas, an avid cyclist, is shown standing on the far right.
Queens Green Drinks is a non-profit grassroots idea that went viral and went global over a decade ago. The intent of it was simple, to organize socials where people interested in a more sustainable lifestyle could meet and get to know each other. That was it. What came of those new relationships was up to those involved in them.
Helen Ho, of Queens was the first to pick up the torch and begin organizing Queens Green Drinks events at various locales around the borough. She kept Queens Green Drinks going for a number of years and through her efforts a community evolved of people who were involved in things like: East River kyaking, cycling in Queens, urban tree and tree bed planting, public park space advocates and defenders, organic food folks, urban farmers, green energy, green architects and green government officials ... to name just a few.
But organizing these get togethers, especially as they were held monthly, was a time commitment and personal effort that can't last forever. In time Helen reduced the frequency of the socials, and eventually the events went on hiatus ... until Wednesday, April 29th when Katie Ellman picked up the "torch of a new generation" and held the first event at Terraza 7 in Jackson Heights.
Air Beam: What Are You Breathing?
Adventurous Bike Ride With TA Queens ... On The Road To Find Out
November 10, 2014 / Queens Neighborhoods / Biking Queens / Queens Buzz. I just returned from a bike ride that began at the Central Park Boathouse and ended in Jackson Heights at 34th Street and the BQE Expressway. Celia Castellan, who is the organizer for Transportation Alternatives Queens [aka TA Queens] collaborated with me on this story which is about Queens & Manhattan air quality and also about biking. Celia is shown in the photo to your right, atop the Queensboro Bridge around 6 pm Monday night as we bike commuted from Manhattan to Queens.
It was a beautiful night with clear, dry air and temperatures around 60. Our mission was to test the Air Beam, a new device designed to enable people to measure the air quality, and then map the information to a public website, so that the public can begin to see what's going on with the air they breathe. The Air Beam is a blue, slightly-larger-than-a-cell-phone device, that you wear to measure the air [quality].
We began the ride in Central Park. We were on our way after receiving only a couple minutes of instruction. The device is brand-spanking new and must be sync'ed to an Android cell phone. The inventors work for a non-profit and are trying to raise a bit of money to mass produce it.
I'm going to take you on the rest of the ride, including a sampling of the air quality readings along the way, and provide some photos of the Queensboro Bridge bicycle commute a bit later this week. In the meantime, check out the Air Casting website and if you want to help, there are a few more days left on their Kickstarter campaign.
Queens Gold Coast - Vision Plan
Waterfront Vision Plan Unveiled For Public Recreation Along East River
June 20, 2011 / Astoria & Long Island City LIC / Eco-Friendly Queens / Queens Buzz. Last Thursday Green Shores NYC and the Trust For Public Land unveiled a sketch of what could one day be called Queens Gold Coast. The Waterfront Vision Plan was put together through a series of town hall meetings held last summer in the communities along the East River in Astoria and Long Island City in Queens. During these meetings volunteers gathered input from local residents regarding what issues they currently encounter in using the parks along the East River and what enhancements they would like to see.
Hundreds of people participated in the event and following a summer of gathering information, the Green Shores NYC volunteers and the Trust for Public Land spent the next nine months editing the work into a coherent framework with actionable recommendations to submit to city officials.
Later today you can click here to read more about the Waterfront Vision Plan for Queens Gold Coast.
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