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11 posts from January 2012

  • 01/31/2012
  • Posted by David Eber

Diabetes Awareness Activist "World Guy" Walks Through Lower 9

WorldguyDriving across the St. Claude Ave. Bridge this morning I saw something that I don't usually see every morning. I have seen some weird stuff on the bridge too, but nothing like this! Not everyday you see a man rolling a globe with a dog down the road.

It turns out this man isn't a crazy person though. His name is Erik Bendl, aka World Guy, and he has walked for over two thousand miles for the cause of diabetes awareness. In recent years he and his dog named Nice have walked in over twenty states and Washington, D.C. to help diabetes organizations and to encourage people to get healthy with excercise to control and prevent diabetes. If you see him on the road be sure to say hello!

  • 01/26/2012
  • Posted by staff

Seeds of Progress (VIDEO)

We just discovered this wonderful video on Detroit's thriving urban farming movement from the PBS show Need to Know - and thought we'd share!

Watch Seeds of progress on PBS. See more from Need to Know.

  • 01/25/2012
  • Posted by staff

Historic Buildings May Be Greener Than You Think

Classic Holy Cross_6

In a community with many historic homes and businesses dating back 150 years and more - and within a city like New Orleans with buildings much older than even that, we thought this piece in today's New York Times was as timely as ever!

By Joanna M. Foster

In New York City, a conflict has long been perceived between historic preservation and urban sustainability goals. Older buildings are often seen as outdated energy hogs that can’t pull their weight, efficiency-wise, in a city that is expected to add a million new residents by 2030. About 55 percent of the city’s 838,337 buildings were constructed before 1940, half a century before the notion of green LEED building certification was even dreamed up.

Estimating that the building sector is responsible for 75 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s sustainability plan for New York, made improving the performance of older buildings a top priority.

To help get the process started, the Municipal Art Society announced last week that it is working on a “greening” manual for owners of historic buildings protected by landmark status that will be available online at no cost this fall.

...

The greening process is often more about optimizing existing elements, like ensuring that cross-ventilation isn’t inadvertently blocked, than about radical retrofits. Many of the improvements suggested in the manual won’t even require a building permit or any special permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission but could reduce energy use by 20 to 25 percent, planners say. READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>

via green.blogs.nytimes.com

  • 01/23/2012
  • Posted by staff

News from LSU's Coastal Sustainability Studio: New Course on Wetland Revitalization Kicks Off

This week a major component of the CSS’s drive towards revitalization of our coastal wetlands begins with the first day of a new trans-disciplinary course at LSU. “Disturbed Systems” is a multi-level class in which geologists, environmental managers, and landscape architects will come together to design a coastal restoration project for Cheniere Caminada, a regressive beach ridge plain in Southeast Louisiana which has undergone significant changes in recent history due to human interaction.

The design projects chosen by student teams will start by first defining and then critically evaluating the variety of ecological and man-made systems at work in varying scales on the site. The students will then address this layered issue by offering design guidelines and a vision for intervention that seeks to revitalize this unique piece of coastal Wetlands.

This is the first course of it’s kind being offered at the school, using the trans-disciplinary working methods of the CSS  as model for collaboration

via css.lsu.edu

  • 01/22/2012
  • Posted by staff

NYTimes: Calculating the Carbon Value of a Swamp

By Mattew L. Wald

A nonprofit organization and a Gulf Coast electric company have come up with a way that might raise money to help protect New Orleans and surrounding areas from storms made worse by climate change – by collecting funds from people who feel bad about their carbon dioxide emissions.

The American Carbon Registry of Arlington, Va., runs a market for carbon credits. It has established methodologies for calculating how much carbon dioxide a certain positive action will sequester – planting an acre with trees, or burning methane from a landfill that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere, for example. It issues carbon credits with serial numbers, and if those are sold on a voluntary market to an organization that wants to reduce its carbon footprint, it records that fact and retires the serial number.

The idea, said Mary Grady, the organization’s director of business development, is to give buyers confidence that the credit really does represent a ton of carbon dioxide that is not emitted, and has not been counterfeited, or sold more than once. Without some verification, she said, “you don’t know how good it is.”

...

On Wednesday, the carbon registry group announced that it had published a proposed methodology for calculating the benefit of restoring wetlands on the Gulf Coast. The number of tons of credits that would be generated by an acre would vary according to the type of wetland – saltwater, fresh water, mangrove, cypress or something else.

The proposed standard is now available for public review, as if it were a proposed federal rule. The whole point, in fact, is to mimic what the group believes the government ought to be doing — establishing some kind of cap-and-trade system for emissions of global warming gases. READ MORE >>

via green.blogs.nytimes.com

  • 01/21/2012
  • Posted by staff

Join Us for a Special Community Arts Event: Friday, Feb. 3

Please join CSED for this special event on February 3: "Becoming Artfully AWARE: Linking Local and International Communities through the Arts", at the New Orleans Museum of Art. CSED's own staffers and photographers, Tracy Nelson and John Taylor, will have their work on display!

Artfully Aware


  • 01/16/2012
  • Posted by staff

In New Orleans, the St. Bernard Project is Proving There's No Place Like Home

Congrats to our friends and neighbors over at the ST. Bernard Project: featured now on GOOD Magazine's website!

GOOD and Toyota, co-sponsors of the People Are Awesome series, bring you additional stories about individuals and organizations that are making a positive impact in our world.

When Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney took a trip to help rebuild homes in post-Katrina New Orleans, they intended to stay two weeks. But that all changed when they saw the scale of need when they arrived. Even six months after the hurricane, homeowners were still living in deplorable, substandard conditions.

Rosenburg, a lawyer, and McCartney, a teacher, had no family ties in New Orleans and had no experience working in disaster recovery or construction, but the slow pace of recovery efforts spurred them to action. Inspired by the perseverance of  the community and frustrated by the redundancy, lack of coordination, and efficiency of the recovery efforts, they left their lives in Washington D.C. and moved to New Orleans. “It was our only choice: we could be part of the problem, or we could be part of the solution,” Rosenburg says.

They established St. Bernard Project (SBP), a nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding homes in New Orleans.  Named after one of the hardest hit parishes, SBP serves the St. Bernard Parish area, the only U.S. county to have been declared 100 percent uninhabitable after a natural disaster. After the flood waters receded, only eight homes in the parish (of more than 27,000) were deemed safe. READ MORE >>

via www.good.is

  • 01/13/2012
  • Posted by staff

NOLA.com: Louisiana coastal restoration 50-year blueprint released

2012 Coastal Plan

By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune

Declaring Louisiana’s loss of coastal wetlands “nothing short of a national emergency,” state officials today released a $50 billion, 50-year strategy for rebuilding land and increasing protection from storm surge for coastal communities that they say can be paid for with money the state is reasonably sure it will receive.

The strategy is outlined in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s draft five-year master plan update, which for the first time contains maps showing the location and scope of proposed projects and maps showing what the state’s coastline will look like in 2061 if they’re built. Lists of the projects also show their cost.

The master plan was made available on the Web Thursday  at noon at www.coastalmasterplan.la.gov.

Also included is a map showing the wetlands loss that will occur by 2061 if the master plan isn’t implemented and the extent of flooding from storm surges that will accompany a 100-year hurricane in 2061 if the projects aren’t built.

The document makes clear that some smaller coastal communities, and some segments of rapidly eroding coastal wetlands, will be losers in the expensive race to restoration. READ MORE >>

via www.nola.com

Read through the entire draft plan below:

  • 01/10/2012
  • Posted by staff

Home Energy Magazine: Neighborhood Inroads

A really wonderful article from Home Energy Magazine on sustainable recovery in the Lower Ninth Ward and the work of CSED!

By Roger Hahn

In many ways, Deloris Wells is a pretty average resident of New Orleans. In other ways, she’s a remarkably accomplished woman. Her family moved from rural southern Mississippi to the outskirts of urban New Orleans in the late 1950s, when Deloris was about 15. They were looking for opportunities to better themselves. When Deloris and her brother graduated from high school, her father insisted that she continue her studies, and she became the first college graduate in the family. For most of her working life, she worked for the Social Security Administration, evaluating and accepting or rejecting disability claims. Over time, she worked her way up the organizational ladder to supervisor and eventually, to assistant area manager.

As we talk, it becomes clear that Deloris Wells loves to nurture close relationships with a wide range of "youngsters," from nieces and nephews to members of her own staff. It comes from her upbringing, Wells says, which is why she signed up to be a block captain in her neighborhood. "I've always felt that I've just been given so much that it's only right to give something back. I don't mind helping out at all, especially if it means I can help my neighbors come back, because I know so many of them still want to, and if I can help, that's what I’m going to do."

I've come to talk with Deloris Wells about a program that installs radiant barriers in the attics of homes belonging to people who are rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. I'm accompanied by Tracy Nelson, executive director of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), a post-Katrina extension of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, which stepped in right after Katrina, formulating plans for rebuilding and restoration, and engaging partners nationwide to find ways to implement those plans.

Right now, the CSED is focused on three problems: the post-Katrina lack of grocery stores in the immediate area; the restoration of adjacent wetlands; and need to create a more sustainable built environment by influencing decision makers about preserving housing stock, and by working to make the neighborhood carbon neutral. Hence, the CSED's radiant-barrier program. READ FULL ARTICLE >>

via www.homeenergy.org

  • 01/06/2012
  • Posted by staff

Silicon Valley in the bayou? New Orleans hopes so

Great piece that ran recently on the Reuters News Service - covering the challenges, and promise, of bringing a green grocery to the Lower 9th Ward:

By Mark Guarino

(Reuters) - Developers and business owners are flocking to New Orleans, thanks to factors that can be traced back to Hurricane Katrina, an event that shook the old ways of doing business in the city and created opportunities for experimentation.

"It's a fascinating time to be in this city," said Ralph Maurer, who teaches at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business.

"If you talked to people in Silicon Valley in the 1970s and 80s, they would have said the same thing: There's something afoot."

Tracy Nelson hopes so. She isn't able to buy a loaf of bread or a quart of milk without driving across the parish line to a bordering suburb. The area where she lives -- the Lower Ninth Ward, ravaged by the floodwaters of Katrina six years ago -- hasn't seen a grocery store in more than two decades.

That may be changing. Next year, a multi-purpose complex featuring rental units, retail shops and a full-service supermarket is expected to break ground on the shuttered campus of a former Catholic boys high school.

To Nelson, and the nearly 5,500 people who returned in her neighborhood and rebuilt their homes, the prospect of finally shopping local is a long time coming.

"The whole community is ready for it, excited about it and wants it to happen today," said Nelson, a community organizer.

Although the recession certainly took hold in New Orleans, it did not cripple the economic forces there as national philanthropies and federal and state dollars delivered direct assistance to revitalize neighborhoods, improve schools, rebuild libraries and streets and create new models for charter school education and neighborhood health care clinics. READ MORE >>

via www.reuters.com