Celebrating 50 Years of Carbon Dioxide (Measurement)

Monthly Mean CO2 for the Past 50 Years. Credit: NOAA
Mauna Loa, Hawaii Monthly Mean CO2 for the Past 50 Years

This simple graph of the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Record documents a 0.53 percent or two parts per million per year increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958. This gas alone is responsible for 63 percent of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases according to NOAA's Earth System Research Lab.
Fifty years ago the U.S. Weather Bureau, predecessor of NOAA’s National Weather Service, helped sponsor a young scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to begin tracking carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere at two of the planet’s most remote and pristine sites: the South Pole and the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. This week NOAA, Scripps, the World Meteorological Organization, and other organizations will celebrate the half-century anniversary of the global record of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere—often referred to as the “Keeling Curve” in honor of that young scientist, Charles David Keeling.
- NOAA Celebrates 50-Year Carbon Dioxide Record
NOAA's Mauna Loa, Hawaii CO2 Monitoring Station. Credit: NOAANOAA's Mauna Loa, Hawaii CO2 Monitoring Station
Carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases produced by humans and very likely responsible for the observed rise in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century. The Mauna Loa and South Pole data were the first to show the rate of CO2 buildup in the atmosphere. In 1974, NOAA began tracking greenhouse gases worldwide and continued global observations as the planet warmed rapidly over the past few decades.


Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Record
Mauna Loa Observatories
Earth System Research Lab


December 8, Red Hook: Observing the Edge

This looks interesting:
Brooklynites know better than anyone the havoc that development can wreak on a habitat. So on Saturday, Dec. 8, the Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook will host an artist’s talk on “Observing the Edge,” the gallery’s current show, which features works on paper relating to flora and fauna with habitats threatened by progressive development.

... anyone who has seen plants, or any other living creatures, displaced by development will surely want to take notice.
- Cutting ‘Edge’, Daniel Goldberg, The Brooklyn Paper
(Note: The Brooklyn Paper gave the date incorrectly as 12/4.)


Kentler International Drawing Space
353 Van Brunt Street
Red Hook/Brooklyn, New York 11231
Tel: 718-875-2098
Email: info@kentlergallery.org

The Volunteers

I'm guilty of rarely highlighting other gardeners or their blogs here. I read something wonderful today:
She embodied the spirit of volunteerism in both its meanings. She was a person who performed services willingly and without pay, providing an example to others who may have come to the garden for personal growth but stayed to cultivate that passion in others. But she was also like a stubborn volunteer plant, flourishing in our communal garden without being planted or cultivated.
- Death of a Gardener, Grow This
I've written many times here about the connections I feel among between gardening, grief and recovery. This echoes it beautifully:
Dorcas embodied the gardener’s faith that the ground we prepare, and the seeds we sow today, will bear fruit in the future – regardless of whether today’s gardeners will be there to witness the next harvest. While she will be greatly missed, the volunteers that she inspired will continue her work for many seasons to come.


Welcome to the (Online) Neighborhood

Our neighbors to the NorthWest in Windsor Terrace have formed the Windsor Terrace Alliance:
The Windsor Terrace Alliance (WTA) is made up of residents, community groups and businesses of Windsor Terrace interested in advocating for our neighborhood. We are your neighbors. The more voices we have, the louder our voice will be. Please consider joining us to get involved or for updates on issues affecting our neighborhood (click on the Contact Us button below).
via the StableBrooklyn Yahoo Group.
The WTA covers the area from Prospect Park West on the west, Prospect Park Southwest to Park Circle on the north, follows Ocean Parkway and then Caton Avenue on the east, and to McDonald Avenue on the south.
These boundaries include the East 4th Street Community Garden which I recently visited.


Windsor Terrace Alliance (WTA)
WTA Yahoo Group
StableBrooklyn Yahoo Group


Summary of the Kickoff Meeting of the Gardening Committee of Sustainable Flatbush

Updated 2007.11.30: Added the complete list of ideas which came out of the brainstorming session.

Last night I hosted the kickoff meeting for the Gardening Committee of Sustainable Flatbush. Clockwise from lower left in the photo are Mela, Anne, Lashonda, and Bruni.
Sustainable Flatbush Gardening Committee Kickoff Meeting

At the end of the evening, I asked if someone was willing to co-chair, and Bruni volunteered. She will report to the general meeting next Monday. What follows is my summary of how the evening went.
We opened with some quick introductions, everyone helped themselves to tea and cookies, then we settled in for a quick brainstorming session. As you can see in the photo above, my little card table wasn't big enough to hold all the ideas we generated in just a few minutes. Next time I'll use a bigger table.

Next we reviewed everything each of us had written while grouping and clustering the cards. For example, we had clusters for ideas related to composting, schools and youth, gardening techniques, street trees, and community. This sparked more discussion, questions and answers, and more ideas.

The strongest theme to come out of the meeting was "community." Each of us feels strongly about the connections between community and gardening. I talked about my experiences with the Daffodil planting on Cortelyou Road. Bruni talked about her experiences with a community garden, and the community of gardeners, in the East Village. Others talked about their desires to organize people in their buildings, and on their blocks.

We decided to focus on a single near-term action: a public community meeting in late February. The idea is to get people excited about the possibility of doing something with their building, their block, their neighbors in 2008, and connect them with opportunities to learn more and organize. I've contacted BBG's Brooklyn Greenbridge to see if they can do a Flatbush-oriented version of their "Greening Up Your Street" program. Even if not, we'll be able to put some kind of program together.

We don't have a date yet for our next meeting. We're thinking it might be sometime in January. When we have a date, it'll be announced here and on the Sustainable Flatbush motherblog.

I'm inspired by this definition of community gardening:
What is a Community Garden?
Any piece of land gardened by a group of people.
- American Community Gardening Association
By this definition, we can create "Community Gardens" everywhere:
  • Tree pits
  • Median strips
  • Planter boxes
  • Grounds and foundation planting areas of apartment/coop/condo
Imagine turning our streets into community gardens ...

I'll close with this photo. This shows the state of our table workspace after we had done the grouping and clustering. Visit the Flickr photo pages for this and the opening photo; they have notes with the text from some of the cards. This photo also shows that my home-made, from scratch, double Callebaut bittersweet chocolate chip cookies were well-received.
Sustainable Flatbush Gardening Committee Kickoff Meeting

The crayons were popular. I also ended up with some nice drawings and doodles on the paper covering the card table. I'll have to get some photographs of those as well.


Here's the complete list of ideas, in alphabetical order, which came out of our brainstorming session.

Adopt a tree
Apartment building gardens/landscaping
Aromatic gardening
Assisting renters in taking/using green space in or around buildings
BBG/Brooklyn Greenbridge
Benches around tree pits (wood benches)
Brooklyn College Garden
Buddy gardening
Build community
City repair (Portland model)
Community composting
Community garden
Demonstration gardens
Donate food grown to families with food challenges
Educate neighbors about types of trees in neighborhood
Engage youth/children
Find neighbors with farming experience
Food, not lawns
Gardens/farms in schools
Green roofs
Ground cover for older tree pits
Grow food
Guerilla gardening
Highlight/profile local gardeners
Kids education (PS 139, PS 217, and at other local schools)
Lawn care practices
Library Plaza Garden
Million Trees NYC
Planting in Newkirk Plaza
Public composting
Rain barrels
Rain gardens
Red Hood Community Farm
School compost
Sponsor a tree
Street arboretum
Tree signs
Window boxes

Monday, 12/3: Sustainable Flatbush December Meeting

This month's Sustainable Flatbush general meeting will be next Monday, December 3, from 7 to 9pm.

At the meeting, Gardening Committee co-chair Bruni will report on last night's kickoff meeting and our plans for a public community event sometime in late February 2008.

Related Posts

Gardening Committee Kickoff Meeting

Upcoming BBG GreenBridge Classes

I know Fall lingers on, and we haven't even reached the Winter Solstice, but it's time to start thinking about Spring! Registration for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Winter and Spring classes begins this Saturday, December 1. In addition to professional education, such as programs for Certificates in Horticulture or Floral Design, Brooklyn GreenBridge, BBG's Community Horticulture program, offers free and low-cost education to Brooklyn residents and communities:
Brooklyn GreenBridge is BBG's community horticulture program, including our Brooklyn Compost Project. For a free copy of our newsletter and more information about GreenBridge programs and events, call 718-623-7250. To reach our compost help line, call 718-623-7290. All classes are free, but you must preregister at 718-623-7220 unless otherwise indicated.
All classes are held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. All classes are free but require registration. I've highlighted some upcoming classes below. See their Web site for registration information and the complete class schedule.

Composting in the City

Thursday, January 17, 6–8 p.m.

Leaves, kitchen scraps, garden trimmings, and weeds can all become garden gold through composting. Making dark, rich, crumbly compost doesn't take much time, work, or space. This class covers the essentials: the composting process, how to compost even in small city yards, using finished compost, avoiding and solving problems, and helpful equipment and tools. Participants receive a copy of the BBG handbook Easy Compost: The Secret to Great Soil and Spectacular Plants.

Teacher Workshop: Worm Composting in the Classroom

Thursday, January 31, 6–9 p.m.

Working with worms in the classroom is a great hands-on way to teach ecology, recycling, and gardening. Learn how to set up a worm bin, feed worms with food scraps, and maintain the system successfully. Activities, curriculum ideas, and ways to incorporate worm composting into science, math, and language arts for students of all ages will be introduced. Teachers will receive a copy of the activity guidebook Worms Eat Our Garbage, by Mary Appelhof, and may purchase a $10 voucher for a pound of red wiggler worms and a plastic worm bin.

This class may also be held at your Brooklyn school for a group of ten or more teachers. For information contact 718-623-7290 or compost@bbg.org.

Composting with Lovely Redworms

Thursday, February 14, 6–8 p.m.

Did you know that redworms have 5 pairs of hearts? Come to this workshop and learn other things about this unique species. Learn all about vermicomposting, or composting with worms, including how to make and maintain a home for redworms. Participants will receive a copy of the book Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Appelhof, and may purchase a $10 voucher for a pound of redworms and a plastic worm bin.

Register with Karla Osorio-Pérez at 718-623-7368.

Make Compost With a Touch of Spanish / Haz Abono Orgánico con un Toque de Inglés

Thursday, February 28 / Jueves, 28 de febrero, 6–8 p.m.

Karla Osorio-Pérez

This class addresses two audiences—English and Spanish speakers—and is translated in both languages simultaneously throughout the session. We cover the basics of composting in a complete, practical, and interactive way. Participants receive handouts and literature to review at home.

Esta clase esta diseñada para el público de habla hispana e inglés y será brindada en ambos idiomas al mismo tiempo. El taller ofrece una gran oportunidad para aprender cómo hacer abono orgánico en una forma práctica, sencilla y de una manera interactiva. Participantes recibirán material informativo para estudiar en casa.

Register with Karla Osorio-Pérez / Llama a Karla Osorio-Pérez, 718-623-7368

Good Place for a Haunting Landmarked

2274 Church Avenue, Flatbush, Brooklyn
2274 Church Avenue

Remember me? I'm now a landmark:
A former public school in Flatbush has been approved for designation as an individual landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. At its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20, the commission voted 8-0-0 to approve a recommendation by its research department to designate the former Flatbush District No. 1 School, later named PS 90, at the corner of Church and Bedford avenues and adjacent to Erasmus Hall High School.
- Landmarks Commission Designates Former PS 90 in Flatbush, Linda Collins, Brooklyn Eagle, 11/26/2007
Given the condition it's in, I hope this action hasn't come too late to save this building. I bet this would make a terrific community center in an area that's sorely lacking public meeting space.

Related Posts

Good Place for a Haunting, October 27


[where: 2274 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY]


Requesting photobloggers experiences with Schmap

Update 2007.12.10: I gave them permission to use the photo - a view of Governor's Island from Red Hook - and they included it.

I got an email this evening notifying me that one of my Flickr photos has been short-listed for inclusion in a Schmap guide. I've never heard of them before this, and just want to know if anyone has any experiences with them as a content contributor. Please share publicly in the comments or email me privately at [xrisfg at gmail dot com].

Schmap is advertising-driven. My photos are licensed Creative Commons for Attributed, Non-Commercial, Non-Derivative works, so they're asking me for my permission for them to use my photo:
While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

The creative commons license that you've assigned your photo(s) provides for non-commercial use. Our Schmap Guides, though free to readers, are ad supported: if you would like your short-listed photo(s) to continue to our ... final selection phase, please therefore read our 'Terms of Submission' and press the 'Submit' button, no later than our editorial submission deadline – Sunday, December 2.
Here are their Terms of Submission to which they're asking me to agree:
The term "Photos" refers to one or more photographs and/or images licensed by You to Schmap pursuant to the Terms.

Subject to the terms and conditions herein, You hereby grant Schmap a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual license to include the Photos in the current and/or subsequent releases of Schmap's destination/local guides.

Nothing in these Terms is intended to reduce, limit, or restrict any rights arising from fair use, first sale or other limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner under copyright law or other applicable laws.

The license granted in Section 2 above is made subject to and limited by the following express limitations:

(a) Schmap may only distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, and/or publicly perform the Photos pursuant to the Terms.

(b) Schmap shall be required to keep intact all copyright notices for the Photos and provide, reasonable to the medium or means of utilization, the name of the original author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, for attribution in Licensor's copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, and a credit (implemented in any reasonable manner) identifying the use of the Photos in any derivative Photos created by Schmap.

(c) Schmap shall, to the extent reasonably practicable, provide Internet link(s) to your Photos.

(d) Schmap shall not sublicense the Photos.

(e) Schmap shall indicate to the public that the Photos are licensable to others under the Creative Commons license that you have assigned to the Photos prior to Schmap's initial short-listing of your Photos, and provide a link to this license, where reasonably practical.

(f) Schmap shall continue to make its destination/local guides available at no cost to end users.

You confirm that You own or otherwise control all of the rights to the Photos and that use of the Photos by Schmap will not infringe or violate the rights of any third parties.

Schmap shall have no obligation whatsoever to reproduce, distribute, broadcast, or otherwise make use of the Photos licensed by You to Schmap hereunder.

While the Flickr website and/or Flickr API have been used to short-list your Photos, Schmap claims no affiliation or partnership with Flickr.

[Lots of legalese ...] If there is any dispute about or involving the Terms or the license granted hereunder, You agree that such dispute shall be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflict-of-law provisions. You agree to personal jurisdiction by and venue in the state and federal courts of the State of California, City of San Francisco. The license granted in the Terms may not be modified without the mutual written agreement of You and Schmap.


Two of my favorite things


And bugs.

via Bug Girl's Blog

Forgotten Flatbush: The Albemarle Road Pedestrian Bridge

In the first Imagine Flatbush 2030 workshop, we enumerated "Assets" and "Challenges". At our table - and it sounded like the experience was shared at others' - where someone lived emerged as a primary determinant of what appeared in which category. Sometimes shared concerns, such as transportation, appeared as both an asset and a challenge, depending on where one lived. It became clear to me that the lines can be sharply drawn, sometimes block-by-block.

I'm a newcomer to the area, having moved here only in Spring of 2005. I researched more and more about the area and its history as we committed to buying a home and moving here. I've still only visited a small portion of Flatbush. IF2030 is making me curious about exploring more of it.

Part of what I want to explore more of is literally "on the other side of the tracks" from where I make my home. The B/Q subway line runs through this neighborhood as an open trench. There are several places where there is no crossing, and the cut forms a geographical barrier, a steel river, separating one side from the other. It wasn't always so. With homage to Forgotten NY, here's a little piece of Flatbush that's not quite forgotten, still part of living memory, the Albemarle Road pedestrian bridge.

Google Map of the location of the old Albemarle Road pedestrian bridge. 143 Buckingham Road is also highlighted; it's a landmark in all the historical photos of this crossing. The markers show where I took the photos for this article.

View Larger Map
The BMT as I remember -- never rode it much, but had relatives on East 17th & Beverley Road. We would always go to the Albemarle Road footbridge by the tennis courts over the BMT cut, and watch the trains.
- Steve Hoskins, SubTalk Post #93389, NYC Subway
Eastern Dead End of Albemarle Road at Buckingham Road. 143 Buckingham Road is at the left of the photograph.
Dead End, Albemarle Road at Buckingham Road

Western foundation of Albemarle Road Pedestrian Bridge
Western foundation of Albemarle Road Pedestrian Bridge
“I seem to have a memory - or is it just a dream? - going back to my earliest childhood, associated with a place about a mile in a different direction from where I lived, towards Prospect Park: it is a stretch of about five blocks of Albemarle Road, going from the Brighton subway underpass to Coney Island Avenue. One got there from our side of the subway tracks by crossing over on a small footbridge. On the far end of the bridge, Albemarle Road suddenly widens, and in the middle of it there is a traffic island, covered with trees and extending a 11 the way to Coney Island Avenue; there are also trees on both sides of the street. My first encounters with this scene are in my memory entirely intermingled with my dreams of it, a recurring vision of overwhelming loveliness at the edge of things, beyond which something entirely new and different must lie.”
- Ronald Sanders, A Brooklyn Memoir, via Living in Victorian Flatbush
Western Dead End of Albemarle Road near East 17th Street. 143 Buckingham Road is at the right of the photograph, across the tracks.
Western Dead End, Albemarle Road, near East 17th Street

East Foundation of Albemarle Road Pedestrian Bridge. 143 Buckingham Road is in the center, across the tracks.
East Foundation of Albemarle Road Pedestrian Bridge

Albemarle Road is interrupted by the subway cut for the B/Q lines. In the late 19th Century, several rail lines were developed to take passengers from the City of Brooklyn, what we now think of as downtown Brooklyn, through the other villages and towns such as Flatbush, to the beach resorts on Coney Island and Brighton Beach. By the 1870s the Brooklyn Coney Island Railroad ran along Coney Island Avenue. By the 1890s, the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroad (BF&CI) ran along what is now the current route of the B/Q subway line. Most of Flatbush was still farmland at the time. When the Flatbush farms were sold and the area was developed at the turn of the 20th Century, the tracks still ran at grade.

In this 1873 map of Flatbush, Prospect Park and the Parade Grounds are already laid out to the north, and the Brooklyn Coney Island Railroad runs along Coney Island Avenue. On this map, Parkside Avenue is named Franklin Avenue, Church Avenue is named Church Lane, and Cortelyou Road is named Turner Harrow (or Narrow?) Lane. The Waverly Avenue shown on this map no longer exists; it's later replaced by Albemarle and Beverly Roads Road, whose future locations are shown, but neither named nor yet built. The future route of the B/Q line is not shown. The families whose landholdings and houses appear on this map lent their names to several streets and neighborhoods: Turner, Hinkley, Ditmas and Vanderveer.
Map of Flatbush, Brooklyn, 1873

In an 1888 USGS Survey Map of Brooklyn, just a small portion of which is shown here, Waverly Avenue has been "de-mapped." The roads built in its place, unnamed on this map, are Avenues B and C; these will be renamed later to Beverly and Cortelyou Roads. Between them run East 11th through East 14th Streets; in the early 1900s, these will be renamed to Stratford, Westminster, Argyle and Rugby Roads to cash in on the cachet of Prospect Park South. The BF&CI, which began service in July 1878, is also now in place. East of that, the eastern half of Avenue A (Albemarle Road) has been built, along with East 17th through 19th Streets.
Detail, 1888 USGS Survey Map of Brooklyn

Through the early 1900s, all these railroad lines ran at grade, at street level. There were also trolley lines, at first horse-drawn, then later electrified, on many of the crossing streets. Development brought a burgeoning residential population, more traffic, and more traffic conflicts and accidents. The decision was made to separate the rail and street traffic by moving them to different levels, passing above and below each other.

This photo from the 1918 "Reports of the Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Commission" shows the Albemarle Road Footbridge. The line has been widened to four tracks and now runs below grade. Today, the local Q train runs on the outer tracks, while the express B runs on the inner tracks. 143 Buckingham Road is visible on the upper left of the photograph. Thanks to Art Huneke for permission to use this photograph. This photo appears on his page Brighton Beach Line, Part 3.
Albemarle Road Footbridge

The physical contrasts could hardly be stronger across the tracks: a wide, tree-lined boulevard with large, detached wood-frame houses on one side, and tall, multiple-unit residential buildings with few trees on the other. It is tempting to imagine what it would be like to restore the pedestrian bridge, eliminating at least a geographical barrier between these two halves of the same neighborhood. Would it help us to make other connections, to recognize our common assets and challenges, and work together to create a future we can all live with?

Related posts

Imagine Flatbush 2030


My Flickr photo set
Brighton Line, NYC Subway
ARRT's Archives, Art Huneke's Web site
Rapid Transit Net
The Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Project, 1903-1918

The Luminous Streets

P.S. 139, Cortelyou and Rugby Roads, Beverley Square West, Flatbush, Brooklyn
P.S. 139, Beverley Square West, Brooklyn

This has been a spectacular year for fall foliage. We had ample, sometimes record, rainfall over the summer. We didn't get a long drought at the end of the summer which often ruins the fall colors. And temperatures finally got cool at night, while warm during the day. We just had our first hard freeze this week.

Barbara Corcoran, avert your eyes. The rest of us can enjoy this gift. We're just past peak this weekend, but there's still plenty of great color. So get out and walk around.

Fothergilla, Vinca minor, and Maple leaves, 329 Westminster Road, Beverley Square West
329 Westminster Road

Japanese Maple, 1505 Albemarle Road, Prospect Park South
Japanese Maple, 1505 Albemarle Road, Prospect Park South

Field 11, Parade Grounds, Caton Avenue
Field 11, Parade Grounds, Caton Avenue

Abandoned, East 16th Street
Abandoned, East 16th Street

315 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East
315 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East

346 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East
346 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East, Brooklyn

196 Marlborough Road, Prospect Park South
196 Marlborough Road, Prospect Park South

Beverly Road, Beverley Square West
Beverly Road, Beverley Square West, Flatbush, Brooklyn

Japanese Maple in front yard, 260 Westminster Road, Beverley Square West
Japanese Maple in front yard, 260 Westminster Road

I've been walking past, beneath, this every morning on my way to the Beverly Road subway station. Nothing like starting your commute in awe.

1422 Beverly Road, Beverley Square West
1422 Beverly Road


Gardening as if our lives depended on it

2014-10-13: I just discovered that none of the original links are good. Two web sites linked from this post - Climate Choices, and the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) - now redirect to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

I first started writing this post in the Fall of 2006. I drafted it in October 2006, but never published it. I think I was too overwhelmed by the impact of what I was writing to release it. The IPCC report has been issued since then. What I wrote over a year ago no longer sounds so alarmist to me. A post on Garden Rant spurred me to dust this off and get it out there, however imperfect I may think it is.

There's a lot to this, and I've gone through some changes just to take it all in. Here's the short version:
  • Climate change is inevitable. It's happening already. We can't undo the damage we've already caused. We can only ride it out.
  • If we continue as we have, the impacts will be severe. It's going to get really, really bad.
  • Actions we take now can reduce the impact. If we start doing things differently now, it won't get as bad as it could. We can affect the future.
There are those who cling, at times violently, to ignorance and dismissal of the facts of climate change induced by human activity. "De-nial ain't just a river in Egypt." It reminds me of the classical stages of grieving described 40 years ago by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, all of which are demonstrated in different responses expressed around this topic:
  • Denial. The three-dog argument - denial, minimization, projection - applies here: There's no climate change (it's not a problem). The climate change is within historical ranges (it's not so bad). It's a natural process (it's not my problem).
  • Anger. Protest, boycott, rage against the machine, fight the system, fight the man.
  • Bargaining. Carbon "credits" is the most obvious example. Little different from buying indulgences from a corrupt church.
  • Depression. There's nothing we can do about it.
  • Acceptance. It's going to happen. It's happening. Now what do we do about it?
In July 2006, I wrote about the Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship:
The seventh generation would be my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren's children. (If I had, or were going to have, any children to begin with.) If a generation occurs within the range of 20-30 years, we're talking 140-210 years. Call it 175 years from now.

It's the year 2181. It's hard for me to imagine anything I can do to stave off or reduce the multiple disasters which we will have caused.
That was the voice of depression. I feel some hope now. The changes I make now, the work I do now, can make a difference. But only if I accept what's going to happen if I do nothing.

Hard Frost Tonight

The National Weather Service is predicting lows in the mid-20s tonight. So bring in those houseplants, if you haven't already!

This will be the first freeze of the season here.


Give Thanks

I am thankful, grateful, for ...

... family.

Spot (left) and Blog Widow John (right)
Spot (left) and Blog Widow John (right)

Family at 50th Anniversary Dinner Party
Family at 50th Anniversary Dinner Party

... that I and my parents have lived long enough to become friends.

Parents, Front Porch, Woodfield Inn
Parents, Front Porch, Woodfield Inn

... the home my partner and I create with each other.

The Front Porch
The Front Porch

... friends, neighbors, and community.

The Backyard, House Opening Party, October 2005
The Backyard, House Opening Party, October 2005

Group Shot, Daffodil Planters, Cortelyou Road
Group Shot, Daffodil Planters, Cortelyou Road

... dogs.

Rascal, a neighbor's dog

... abundance.

Plums and Grapes
Star of the Show

I leave you with something from my younger days, even, dare I say, from my youth. This is "Reasons to be Cheerful," performed by Ian Dury and the Blockheads live at the Hammersmith Odeon, August 1979 (Audio only). See below for sing-along lyrics.


From LetsSingIt

Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed
Why don't you get back into bed

Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3

Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats

18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You're welcome, we can spare it - yellow socks
Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on 40 - no electric shocks

The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot
A little drop of claret - anything that rocks
Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain't spotty,
Sitting on the potty - curing smallpox

Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3

Reasons to be cheerful part 3

Health service glasses
Gigolos and brasses
round or skinny bottoms

Take your mum to paris
lighting up the chalice
wee willy harris

Bantu Stephen Biko, listening to Rico
Harpo, Groucho, Chico

Cheddar cheese and pickle, the Vincent motorsickle
Slap and tickle
Woody Allen, Dali, Dimitri and Pasquale
balabalabala and Volare

Something nice to study, phoning up a buddy
Being in my nuddy
Saying hokey-dokey, singalonga Smokey
Coming out of chokey

John Coltrane's soprano, Adi Celentano
Bonar Colleano

Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3

Yes yes
dear dear
perhaps next year
or maybe even never

in which case

Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

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Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

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Job Opening: Urban Agriculture Coordinator

East New York Farms, one of Brooklyn's handful of urban farms, is seeking an Urban Agriculture Coordinator. The position will start part-time February 1, 2008 (for training) and become full-time with full benefits March 1, 2008.

Deadline for applications is December 14. See their blog for details.

* Recruit and train new and experienced gardeners from East New York and surrounding communities in urban production for market (primarily vegetable production, possibility of chicken raising and bee-keeping)
* Lead and coordinate trainings for gardeners, as well as provide individual technical assistance
* Organize local gardeners and develop their capacity to support each other, sell at the farmers market, and oversee a micro-loan fund
* Provide group development assistance to 20-30 members of new 1/2 acre urban farm, and assist them in further developing the farm
* Supervise and support Urban Farm Manager in cultivating and maintaining a half-acre urban farm
* Co-supervise and train teens (ages 13-16) to grow vegetables, serve other neighborhood gardeners, and help run the farmers’ market
* Assist with designing and leading lessons to build skills and help youth understand the social context of their work
* Track and assist with reporting activities to funders
* Support farmers’ market operations
* Support outreach/promotion efforts of project

* At least one full season of growing experience, primarily in small fruit and vegetable production
* Experience facilitating trainings for both youth and adults
* Experience working with diverse communities and individuals
* Responsible and able to work independently
* Drivers’ license a must
* Ability to work weekends (work week is Tuesday – Saturday from March through November) and occasional evenings
* Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
* Spanish language skills a plus

This is a full-time position with full benefits

Position will start part-time February 1, 2008 (for training) and become full-time March 1, 2008.

Please send resume and cover letter by December 14, 2007 to:

Sarita Daftary
East New York Farms! Project Director

Thanks to the Contributors to Gardeners for Recovery

Thank you to the anonymous contributor or contributors who donated $100 to the Gardeners for Recovery Cobblestone campaign over the weekend. Your contributions increased the fund from $100 to $200. I matched your $100 yesterday. The total now stands at $300. Just $200 more - your $100 plus my matching - will bring us to the minimum of $500 needed to have our own paver in the National September 11 Memorial Plaza:
An eight-acre landscaped Memorial Plaza filled with more than 300 oak trees will create a contemplative space separate from the sights and sounds of the surrounding city. The design is unique in its use of ecological considerations which exceed sustainability standards.
Campaign to donate a Cobblestone
Gardeners for Recovery is a Cobblestone Campaign for the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. Gardeners for Recovery recognize the importance of gardens and gardening for individual, community, and global healing and recovery.

Monday 11/26: Kickoff Meeting for the Gardening Committee of Sustainable Flatbush

At last week's Sustainable Flatbush Town Hall Meeting, six committees were established to focus on different areas:
  • R3 (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
  • Livable Streets
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Businesses
  • Schools
  • Gardening
Next Monday, November 26, at 7pm, the Gardening Committee will have a kickoff meeting.

There are three main items on the agenda:
  • Brainstorm ideas about what the committee can do. Sustainable Flatbush's mission is to educate, advocate, and act on issues of sustainability in our area. What are our ideas for how gardening relates to that mission?
  • Identify a couple of things we can do immediately, especially over the winter
  • Identify co-chairs for the committee who will coordinate with the other committees and larger organization and recruit and support committee members.
If you want to attend next Monday's meeting please email me at [xrisfg at gmail dot com]. I've setup a Google group for committee planning. If you can't attend next Monday but want to help with gardening committee planning, let me know as well.


Imagine Flatbush 2030

Update 2007.12.13: Added link for all related posts on Imagine Flatbush 2030.

Imagine Flatbush 2030 Winning Logo, Credit: Imani Aegedoy, 11-9-2007

Last night I attended the first of a series of four workshops for Imagine Flatbush 2030. Brooklyn Junction and
Sustainable Flatbush were also in attendance. Sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC), IF2030 is a community-based process to develop goals and indicators to inform any future planning for the area:
The Mayor’s PlaNYC2030 is a citywide sustainability agenda that lays the groundwork for achieving and maintaining affordable housing, open space, good transportation, clean air, water, and land and reliable energy. It affords an enormous opportunity to rethink the development of the city. As part of Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, MAS will work with the residents, business owners, and civic leaders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, with the partnership of the Flatbush Development Corporation, to assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals.
- Imagine Your Neighborhood 2030: a Community Visioning Project
The project study area [PDF] comprises the northern half of Brooklyn's Community District 14, north of the old LIRR right-of-way which runs between Avenues H and I.
Northern Half of Brooklyn's Community District 14

There will be three more meetings, one each in December, January and February. The final report will be published in March 2008. The next meeting will be Wednesday, December 12, likely to be hosted at Brooklyn College. If you live or work within the study area and would like to get involved, contact Sideya Sherman of MAS [ssherman at mas dot org] or Aga Trojniak of FDC [trojniak at fdconline dot org].
Flatbush is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city, growing at a rate of eight percent annually, and mirroring the needs and attributes of a growing population within a district that is both architecturally and historically distinct. Yet the lack of affordable housing undermines the ability of the neighborhood to stay diverse, the resident to open space ratio is among the highest in the city, and heavy vehicular traffic compromise the quality of life.
This area is one of great diversity: ethnic, cultural, religious, and other. It is also an area of great disparity in economics, services, and environmental amenities.

"Welcome" in eleven languages on street sign for Newkirk Family Health Center, 1401 Newkirk Avenue
Newkirk Family Health Center, 1401 Newkirk Avenue

Kings Theater, Flatbush Avenue
Kings Theater, Flatbush Avenue

GreenBranches, Flatbush Branch, Brooklyn Public Library
GreenBranches, Flatbush Branch, Brooklyn Public Library

Da Pride a Flatbush, FDNY Engine 281
Da Pride a Flatbush

Greenmarket, Cortelyou Road
Greenmarket, Cortelyou Road

Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church, Ditmas Park
Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church

599 Coney Island Avenue
599 Coney Island Avenue

2274 Church Avenue
2274 Church Avenue

Christ My Sufficiency, Brooklyn Foursquare Church, 603 Rugby Road
Christ My Sufficiency, Brooklyn Foursquare Church, 603 Rugby Road

Townhouses in Caton Park
Townhouses in Caton Park

Flatbush E-Cycling, Cortelyou Road
Flatbush E-Cycling

Together We Can Change the World
Together We Can Change the World

Susan Siegel of FDC opened the meeting and introduced the MAS team. Conducting the meeting on behalf of MAS were:
  • Eve Barron
  • Sideya Sherman
  • Lacey Tauber
  • Elizabeth Yeampierre (Executive Director, UPROSE)
  • Juan-Camillo Osario
The IF2030 Advisory Committee includes:
  • State Senator Kevin Parker
  • State Assembly Member Rhoda Jacobs
  • State Assembly Member Jim Brennan
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
  • City Council Member Mathieu Eugene
  • Ms. Anne Pope (Sustainable Flatbush)
  • Ms. Gretchen Maneval (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, Brooklyn College)


Imagine Flatbush 2030 c/o
Municipal Art Society
457 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212.935.3960, x259
Fax: 212.753.1816

Related Posts

Imagine Flatbush 2030


Municipal Arts Society (MAS)
Flatbush Development Corporation


Tree Pits are not Dumpsters

Commercial Trash Dumped in Tree Pit on Cortelyou Road
Commercial Trash Dumped in Tree Pit on Cortelyou Road

I had a great community experience of planting Daffodils in the tree pits along Cortelyou Road the previous two weekends. So I was especially disheartened to find this afternoon that someone placed their trash in one of the tree pits.

You can see from the photo that it's mostly recycling. There's a bundle of cardboard on the right. The blue bags contain plastic and metal recyclables. The black bag contained mixed garbage, including papers identifying the business whose trash this was.

I don't want to identify them right now. I want to give them a chance to respond. If I have time, I'll try calling them tomorrow. I emailed them earlier this evening:
This afternoon I noticed that the tree pit in front of your building on Cortelyou Road had several bags and bundles of recycling and garbage in it. I looked for any items that could identify where it came from. I found several pieces of paper from your business.

You may not know that your neighbors spent the past two weekends working on the tree pits along Cortelyou Road from the subway station to Coney island Avenue. We removed all the accumulated garbage, weeded the pits, and planted Daffodil bulbs, which will bloom next April.

Please dispose of your commercial trash properly, at curb-side, and not in the tree pit.
I called 311 to register a complaint. They didn't even have a category for this. They said they would add it to their system, and to call back in a few days. I can't believe that noone has ever complained about this kind of thing before. If I have time, I'll try calling Parks, who have responsibility and authority for tree pits, and ask them what to do the next time this happens.

I removed the trash from the pit after I took my photos.

Barbara Corcoran Hates the Earth

Welcome, Apartment Therapy readers! If this story interests you, be sure to learn more by checking out the related posts linked at the end of this article.

Barbara Corcoran thinks the owner of this "townhouse" [sic] should chop down this maple tree, pave over the front yard, and park cars there instead to increase their property values.
1422 Beverly Road

Queens Crap has the goods on this (Daily News columnist advocates paving). I learned about it through Brooklyn Junction (Barbara Corcoran Weighs In On Proposed Yard Change), who was alerted to it by commenter "dbs" on his post about the Yards Text Amendment. I've read some excellent follow-up by my neighbor, Crazy Stable (Get a cement truck over there fast) and Forgotten New York (Cuckoo Corcoran).

Trees increase the selling prices of residential properties. Paving over the front yard will decrease the resale value of a home. It will also incur other annual costs to the homeowner, such as energy costs.

As a realtor (not just any realtor, "New York's top realtor" the byline for her column asserts), Corcoran should know better. She should at least know better than to advise her readers out of ignorance. But then, it's her Manhattan-myopic company that, even after years of doing business in Brooklyn and the other "outer" boroughs, has no category for "house" in their listings. And ascribes the name "Ditmas Park" to most of Victorian Flatbush. Not to mention she should know something about the Department of City Planning.

Barbara Corcoran thinks this is a townhouse.
1423 Albemarle Road
Oh, and as soon as possible they should chop down that pesky Cherry tree and pave over the front yard so they can park cars on it. She's sure it will increase the property value.
Q. My wife and I have lived in Queens for the past 10 years and we plan on staying in the area for about another five. We are noticing lately that all of our neighbors are paving their yards and then use the space to park their cars on.

My wife has spent many hours cultivating her plants and would like to keep the garden, but I think having a driveway will help us increase the price of the house when it comes time to sell. What do you think?

A. Hey, a flower garden might look pretty and keep your wife happy, but the space in front of your house is worth a hell of a lot more as a driveway. [emphasis added]

You should know that the city council of Queens [sic, it's the DCP proposal, the Yards Text Amendment] has just proposed a zoning change that would prohibit residents from paving their yards in some areas.

So get your wife on your side and get a cement truck over there fast.

- Ask Barbara, New York Daily News, November 8, 2007
What do you think? Leave a comment below. Even better, write Barbara herself.

Factoid: Street Trees and Property Values, December 2
The State of the Forest in New York City, November 12
Preserving Livable Streets: DCP's Yards Text Amendment, November 6
Victorian Flatbush at risk from inappropriate zoning, October 23
Another reason to loathe real estate brokers, April 6
NASA Earth Observatory Maps NYC's Heat Island, Block by Block, August 1, 2006


Daily News columnist advocates paving, Queens Crap
Barbara Corcoran Weighs In On Proposed Yard Change, Brooklyn Junction
Yards Text Amendment, Brooklyn Junction
Get a cement truck over there fast, Crazy Stable
Cuckoo Corcoran, Forgotten New York


If you email Barbara Corcoran, you'll get this robo-response:
Thanks for sending a question to "Ask Barbara”. Look for Barbara’s answer to your question in her "Ask Barbara" column appearing every Friday in Your Home only in the Daily News. Look for more real estate questions and Barbara’s helpful answers at www.nydailynews.com.

Would you like to speak to Barbara directly? Simply reply to this message with your full name, town and daytime phone number. You may be invited to ask your question on Barbara’s new show!
The title of this post comes from the Dilbert comic of June 19. Dogbert has been hired as a green-washing consultant for the company. He advises the pointy-haired boss, "Stop eating, breathing, driving, defecating, and procreating. Sit in the dark and decompose on some garden seeds. Or do you admit you hate the Earth?" The boss responds, "A little." The cartoon was taken up by anti-environmental bloggers such as Moonbattery: "Thank you Dilbert, for attempting to rescue us from militant kooks who think the global warming hoax is real."

This is not Barbara Corcoran
Jane Lynch as Christy Cummings in the movie 'Best in Show'