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What’s Going On: Lack of adequate recycling services and outreach in the city’s public housing along with a culture of consumerism and fast fashion have meant that the NYC Sanitation Department exported nearly 3.25 million tons of residential waste in the past fiscal year, up from 3.17 million tons when de Blasio made the promise.
A Trashy Problem: Politico’s investigation revealed that city trash haulers don’t always disclose where they ultimately dump collected trash, but a lot of the waste is dumped far outside of New York City where it pollutes local communities:
Why The Lack of Success? As Politico noted, Mayor De Blasio blamed population and economic growth for the lack of success in reducing city waste, though it was anticipated at the time of his pledge that New York’s population would continue to grow.
Politico put it best in saying that “two consecutive mayors of the city launched their presidential bids last year on a promise of combating climate change, yet neither was able to stem the tide of garbage flooding the nation’s largest metropolis.“
Why This Matters: As a nation, we’re addicted to plastic and because of public garbage disposal services we rarely think about what happens to our waste once we toss it. Truly tackling waste in America will involve retailers and manufacturers taking responsibility for packaging and for consumers to be far more cognizant of their consumption. Options for food scrap disposal are also greatly needed. It’s not an easy task, but if NYC can accomplish zero waste, there becomes an important roadmap for the rest of the nation.
The planet needs an optimistic woman and fortunately for us, we have a really powerful one — Christiana Figueres. After having guided the Paris Climate Accord to completion — she served as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016 — now Figueres is trying to change the narrative around achieving a sustainable future.
North Carolina Coastal Federation has a nature-based plan for dealing with heavy rainfall that captures and filters water instead. Green infrastructure includes solutions like rain gardens, restoring wetlands, and permeable pavement. The state plan calls for comprehensive incorporation of nature-based stormwater strategies across roadways, farmland, and in new building construction.
Why This Matters: It’s not just sea-level rise that causes increased flooding and infrastructure damage: heavy rains can be just as disruptive. Using plants, dirt, and other natural ways to handle excess water is often simpler and more cost-effective than their conventional counterparts.
The world is becoming more and more like The Matrix every day, at least in one particular way: scientists have figured out how to use the human body as a battery. No, your body can’t produce enough energy to create a global simulation, but it can produce enough heat to charge wearable devices like smartwatches and implants like pacemakers.
Why This Matters: Battery production and disposal have been problematic for decades. Mining for rare earth metals like such as cadmium, mercury, lead, and lithium threatens environments and communities across the globe.
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