As Published on PolicyMic
Lines, lines, and more lines.
This morning, my father practiced his 30-years-old Election Day tradition of voting before he typically catches the B6 to work. Much to his surprise, there was a line that went up and down Vermont St. in the heart of East New York.
The result: I got an early morning tirade that woke me up from sleeping in on my day off.
“I swear they’re trying to pull another Gore! This is a travesty! They’re giving out numbers to vote! They can’t stop us from voting! You better find out if this is happening in minority neighborhoods around the country.” Then I went back to sleep.
The answer to his question probably has a lot to do with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issuing an executive order that gave New Yorkers that were displaced by Sandy permission to vote at any site. So long as you fill out an affidavit on site, you can vote.
As Published on PolicyMic
Last August, Tropical Storm Irene barreled through the east coast and left over 1 million people without power (over 300,000 in the tri-state area alone), caused 50 deaths nationwide, and cost the nation over $15 billion — and that was over $1 billion in New York State when you take into account the amount of money that the MTA lost from shutting down its services. The effects were most devastating for New York state’s dairy farmers who suffered tremendously due to inundated feeds for their cattle and flooded routes that impeded dairy deliveries. But even with nearly 200 upstate family farms left under water, a quick glance at any native New Yorker’s Facebook newsfeed or New York City pub promotion ringed of a single motif: “Storms aren’t that serious here because New York is storm proof!”
But arrogance is an awfully expensive vice (or virtue). As Sandy continues her 800 mile voyage across the east coast and whistles at the speed of 75 miles per hour, it is time for New York to shed itself of its sense of natural disaster impalpability — which is the same mentality of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2011 blizzard blunder — and begin to get serious about truly creating a storm proof city that is technically structured the same way as the overly confident New Yorker boasts. Read More
It has only been six years since our nation learned a valuable lesson in storm preparation: Infrastructure is everything. In 2005, Katrina caused 28 levees to collapse, leaving nearly three-quarters of New Orleans inundated by storm waters.
This past August, New York City’s infrastructure was challenged. Luckily for us, the much less powerful tropical storm Irene did not make a direct hit. However, with State Farm reporting over 360 homeowner claims, 370,000 people being left without power, and politicians playing Texas Hold ‘Em over how to manage the $1.1 billion bill left for FEMA, there are clearly some structural adjustments that the city should make in order to reduce storm damages in the future. It is imperative that city governments update their infrastructure and exhaust measures to protect their residents. For New York City, this means that the city’s green infrastructure plan should emphasize the use of landscape swales and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings as the best approach for dealing with storms.
If NYC can take anything from Irene, it is two things: we are lucky and we are prepared.
Unfortunately, most upstate farms were neither. According to today’s Daily News, more than 80 percent of upstate family farms that provide produce for NYC’s 53 green markets were damaged by the storm. When it is this late in the summer crop season, it’s highly improbable that the nearly 190 inundated farms will be able to recuperate in time to yield the carrots, onions, spinach, baby beets, arugula, winter squash and pumpkins that we normally expect to see by the fall.
But that does not mean that farmer market lovers should freight. If anything, I see this as an opportunity for urbanites, both upstate and downstate, to support one of our most underutilized assets: empty lot gardens. These urban diamonds turn vacant lots that are otherwise filled with shredded tires, rodents and debris into a bearer of community empowerment.
As published in the Campus Times
Toss the lettuce, hold the buns, add the peppers — but where did they come from?
While the origin of Dining Services’ produce may not be in the backs of students’ minds when they’re drooling over a juicy Commons burger, 2011 Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year students Caitlin Smigelski and Annalise Kjolhede are working hard to increase the likelihood that the produce we eat is grown by our very own peers.
Smigelski and Kjolhede, both environmental science majors, started a nonprofit micro-farm under the guidance of the Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence earlier this year. As their KEY project, “Student Supported Agriculture,” description states, “The aim is to create a campus garden in which UR students and community members can cultivate edible crops such as vegetables and herbs to either be sold to Dining Services or used for their own consumption.”