Ethical Coffee In NYC

For many people, the only thing that will get them going in the morning is a cup of coffee. Knowing that the coffee is ethically sourced and eco-friendly should give drinkers an added boost. Drinking Fair Trade and organic coffee means that farmers are compensated fairly and your coffee is free of harmful chemicals, and bird-friendly certification ensures that farmers are maintaining forest covers which house local bird species, provide shelter for migrating birds, and encourage reproduction. In order to obtain bird-friendly certification, farmers must maintain a variety of shade trees throughout their plantation, which protect […]

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New York’s New Breed of Cabs

In the last few years, the city’s iconic yellow cabs have had to make way for a new breed of car service. Mobile ride hailing and ridesharing services like Uber, Gett, and Lyft, that allow users to hail a cab via smartphone, have faced fierce opposition from yellow cab drivers, advocates and labor groups, and have been criticized as irresponsible and dangerous. Unlike yellow cab drivers, the new breed of cabby doesn’t need a medallion, and uses her/his own car. Drivers are considered independent contractors in most cases, which has shielded […]

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Sustainable Business Spotlight: Algramo

A company based in Santiago, Chile is revolutionizing the way we package, distribute, and buy our staple foods. Algramo, (Spanish for 1 gram), was founded by José Manuel Moller in 2012 after a period of time spent living and working in one of Chile’s poorest communities. Moller realized that much of the cost attached to the food we buy is the result of a convoluted means of distribution and a general lack of access to food in bulk. The increase in cost amounts to a “poverty tax” as people with low incomes and […]

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Tesla: A Lot has Happened in the Last Year

Since I last wrote about the unveiling of the Powerwall Home Battery in May, a lot has happened over at Tesla. Shortly after an April Fool’s Day press release poking fun at recent smartwatch announcements from competitors, Tesla introduced the Model S 70D, an all-wheel drive car with a 250 mile range at 65mph. With a starting price of $75,000, the 70D is a slightly more affordable version of the Model S for those who don’t wish to give up features such as access to Tesla’s Supercharger network (which, by the way, […]

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How Tech is Changing Food Production

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there are 795 million people worldwide who don’t have adequate access to food and proper nutrition. One of the major causes of hunger is the increasing drought, flooding, and changes in weather patterns due to global warming. Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the countries of Somalia, Ethopia, Kenya, and Uganda, have been hit particularly hard by food shortages in recent years. As the human population continues to grow, we can only expect to feel more pressure on the food supply. By 2050, we will need […]

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The Perennial: A New Standard in Sustainable Dining

San Francisco is now home to The Perennial, a new leader in sustainable dining that was just written up by Fast Company. Every element of the business has been created with sustainable living in mind. The grains used to make the flour for the bread were designed to suck carbon out of the atmosphere, and the food scraps are composted by worms that are later fed to fish that create fertilizer used for the greens that are served in the restaurant. Read about this inspiring restaurant founded by restaurateurs Anthony […]

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Urban Beekeeping 101

20 years ago, if I had written about beekeeping in the city, it may have been a light-hearted piece of informative fluff. These days, the situation is a bit too dire for that. Honey bee populations around the world are being threatened with extinction by a constellation of old and new environmental stressors and the mysterious disappearance of adult bee populations in hives, which scientists have dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Since 2007, when the disorder was first publicly identified, honey bee populations have seen a dramatic decrease in their numbers. While […]

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Li-Fi: Faster Internet with a Potential Reduced Carbon Footprint

After Estonian startup Velmenni successfully tested a commercial application of Li-Fi technology in their offices last month, many are wondering whether wi-fi is soon to become a thing of the past. Li-Fi is a method of delivering data which uses the visible light spectrum rather than radio waves. It requires a light source (such as an LED bulb), an internet connection, and a photo detector. The result is internet access that is 100 times faster than wi-fi, with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. The technology was first introduced to […]

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Sustainable Design: 20 Beautiful Objects Made out of Waste

From recycled denim sunglass frames to breathtaking bottlecap tapestries, designers and artists are constantly finding innovative ways to turn waste into eco-friendly works of art and high-end products. Anything we can do to divert trash from landfills is a step in the right direction towards living a more sustainable life, so I often share the work of innovative sustainable designers whose work is inspriring.  Here are 20 surprisingly beautiful objects made out of trash. Dirk Vander Kooij’s Endless Chair This chair is made out of one plastic string, crafted by a […]

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Upcycling: Everything Old is New Again

You may have heard the term “upcycling” in terms of crafts and DIY projects – upcycling means that waste materials or unwanted products are given a new life and turned into something useful. Recycling, on the other hand, means breaking down or extracting materials from a product to make something entirely new. Both practices keep items out of landfills, but upcycling keeps items out of the waste stream entirely and reduces the consumption of raw materials when creating new products. On a small scale, upcycling can mean sprucing up clothes that are […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Bloomberg’s plaNYC and de Blasio’s OneNYC

You’re probably hearing the word “resilience” a lot lately. While the buzz is somewhat new, the concept isn’t. With roots in ecology science, the term arose to define the ability of systems to adapt or bounce back from shocks and setbacks—be it the environment or a niche ecosystem. Today, the concept has found prominence in wide-ranging disciplines from childhood development to city planning. As far as “future-proofing” cities to be resilient goes, NYC is ahead of the curve. In 2007, the Bloomberg administration introduced “PlaNYC,” a groundbreaking effort to address […]

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Brooklyn, the Next Solar City?

Brooklyn may soon join Freiburg, Germany in a growing movement of solar cities, or cities that live completely off the electrical grid with the help of solar power. Over a decade ago, Rolf Disch designed Freiburg’s solar infrastructure, which produces 4 times as much energy as the city consumes. In February of this year, Governor Cuomo announced the state’s $40 million NY Prize energy competition, which will provide funding for designing and building microgrids across the state. Up to 10 communities can earn $7 million to support construction of a […]

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Rooftop Reds, New York’s First Rooftop Vineyard

Later this month, Rooftop Reds will officially launch New York City’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard. There are plenty of craft breweries and a few spirits distilleries in NYC, but until recently, the closest we could get to “local” wine came from Long Island or upstate, sometimes several hours away. Devin Shomaker hopes to change that with his 14,000 square foot rooftop vineyard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In 2013, Shomaker recruited winemakers Evan Miles and Chris Papalia along with Thomas Shomaker to develop their Brooklyn-grown wine business, named Rooftop […]

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