Help Me Win a $2000 Grant from GOOD Magazine — Vote for My Book! Your Vote Matters!

Hi Blog Readers,

If you’ve appreciated my work here at WSP Blog, I’d appreciate if you would take a minute and vote for my project, The B-girl Guide: Rethinking the Way We Live (Living in Earth, Animal & People-Friendly Ways), which is up for a $2000 grant to fund the final editing, illustration and printing of the book.

It just takes a few minutes! It’s me and 60 other projects and it’s totally dependent on your vote. There’s a lot of great, great projects there & I’d love to win!

The project with the most votes as of May 30th at 3 p.m. Eastern Time wins!

Click for “Vote for this Idea” to vote for me! If you don’t have a GOOD account, you just need to log in with an email address or Facebook account to register. You will be emailed a link to validate and, once you’ve voted, you’ll get verification that your vote has been counted. You can only vote once – please tell your friends to vote and spread the word! (Good recommends using Firefox or Google Chrome to access their site. It does not work as well with Internet Explorer apparently.)

GOOD Maker is a project of GOOD Magazine and is “a tool to help you make good things happen. GOOD Maker gives individuals and organizations the ability to tap into the public’s creativity and energy to address an issue that’s important to them.

Please vote for me and The B-girl Guide here at Good. Thank you!

The Commercialization of Earth Day

A piece I wrote for Earth Day (it’s the 42nd today) after visiting the Earth Day Fair at Grand Central Station and reflecting on the day; at my other blog, the B-girl Guide:

The Commercialization of Earth Day: “Saving” The Environment; What We Can Do About It

For Earth Day, Banner Launched Via Balloons At Washington Square Arch to Protest Use of Rainforest Wood In New Park Benches


Environmental activists took to Washington Square Park on Friday, Earth Day, with a flamboyant action in which large, colorful, helium-filled balloons ascended to the top of the Arch with a banner proclaiming, “Mayor Bloomberg: Why was the Amazon logged for Wash. Square Park Benches?” The new benches at Washington Square, installed as part of the Park’s “multi-million renovation,” are harvested from Ipe wood, a tropical hardwood logged from the Amazon rainforest. This usage goes against pledges made, according to organizer of the event, Rainforest Relief, over 3 years ago by the NYC Parks Department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stop its use in city construction.

From Rainforest Relief and NY Climate Action Group:

This ongoing use of ipê contradicts the pledge that Mayor Bloomberg made to United Nations General Assembly on February 11, 2008: “Our City’s agencies will immediately reduce their use of tropical hardwoods by 20%. They will do that by specifying domestic wood, recycled plastic lumber, and other materials in the design of park benches and other construction projects.” He was following the lead of the Parks Department, which had declared an end to the use of tropical hardwoods for bench construction in late 2007.

The ipê wood can be found in new construction at the High Line Park, Union Square, Hudson River Park, & Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The organizations made a statement about the impacts of privatization of our public space:

[These parks] are also part of a larger trend occurring throughout the city: duties and responsibilities concerning public space are largely being transferred from public agencies to private entities such as business improvement districts and public benefit corporations. These entities are assemblages of private investors and stakeholders who operate without public oversight.

The Village Alliance, a business improvement district, had substantial sway concerning both the redesign of Washington Square Park as well as its maintenance.

“The privatization of NYC’s public space is allowing the city’s destruction of the Amazon to continue unchallenged,” stated Tim Doody, the New York City campaign coordinator for Rainforest Relief.

Photo of old Washington Square benches here.

Stacy Walsh Rosenstock commented at the time of that post: Isn’t the 1934 World’s Fair Bench, designed by Robert Moses and Kenneth Lynch, a New York City classic? Why would we ever choose to use some earth-hostile imitation?

As for the new benches, I hear repeatedly from people that the new benches are uncomfortable and they liked the old ones just fine. Perhaps promises could have been kept and that rainforest could have been left alone after all?

** More on the action which took place yesterday (Friday, April 22nd) around noon here. **

Photos: http://rfny.net