NY Climate Tech: February 13 - February 19, 2023
Community boards, cooperative climate games, nature inspired architecture, bookmaking with bioplastics, and a visit from our friends across the pond!
This week’s events start off on Wednesday: play a cooperative game to understand climate change at Chelsea Market, head to Bushwick for a gathering on building a just and sustainable economy, stop by Brooklyn Bridge Park for Green Drinks Brooklyn, learn about how change in the built environment affects communities at City Tech, visit SoHo to hear about architecture with plants and earth, or attend a nature and science inspired opera on the UWS. On Thursday, dive in to another full day of events with a London for Sustainability reception next to Grand Central and a sustainable investment forum next door, an AMA with the NESEA Executive at Building Energy Exchange, an XR intro in Brooklyn Heights, and a discussion of climate knowledge transfer at Columbia. If you’re in NJ, head to a talk at Princeton Jennifer Wilcox from the Dept. of Energy. After those two jam-packed days, take a break until Sunday, then sign up for a workshop on bookmaking with bioplastics.
Next week, don’t forget to join us for the NY Climate Tech Meetup on Thursday, February 23! We promise another great gathering with our favorite climate rockstars!
Alec and Sonam
Hot Take: Show Your City Some Love 💕
You may have seen my incessant posting imploring you to join your local Community Board in the shoutouts section below over the past several weeks. Today, I’ll tell you why. Tomorrow, you’ll show your city some love on Valentine’s Day and submit your application!
I do *lots* of career chats with people transitioning into climate – most of you know my mantra, the more the merrier fighting the food fight! One of the most frequent questions I get: “How can I start to get involved?” My answer: get your boots on the ground and change the equation in your own streets and neighborhoods!
For all the time we spend talking about the hundreds of billions of dollars coming down the pipe through the IIJA, CHIPS, and IRA, these funds have to be deployed in local communities across the country. It means funds for new, sustainable, affordable housing. It means green (and hopefully not too much gray) infrastructure on your waterfronts to protect against sea level rise. It means funds for solar panels on the rooftops of your kids' schools. It means wind turbines in the farms upstate and waters off your coasts. It means transmission lines to bring power from renewable generation sources to the population centers that need it most.
Unfortunately, naysayers abound left and right. The NIMBY phenomenon of “not in my backyard” not only runs deep, but very much so runs across every corner of our society. Case in point: a project I worked on when I was at NYC City Hall aimed to turn a giant parking lot on the edge of the South Street Seaport historic district into a state-of-the-art, energy efficient building with 270 new housing units, with 70 of them set aside for lower income residents. A few weeks ago, a judge ruled against the development and shut it down in the face of community opposition.
Mind you, this is one of the densest zip codes in America and one of the most expensive plots of land in the country – and we will continue using it as a parking lot for gas guzzling vehicles sitting 3 blocks from a train station that connects 8 subway lines. This is exactly where we should be building tall, beautiful, sustainable buildings. And a lot of them, as per my twitter rant!
The reality is that it often takes a village to get this stuff off the ground, literally. One of the best ways you can ensure that these types of transformative projects get going is by joining your local Community Board – showing up to make your voice heard on how we can make our city sustainable. Rather than community opposition, YOU can be the voice of reason and make the case.
So down to the details: There are 59 community boards across NYC that each represent up to 250,000 people. Each board has up to 50 members, all of whom are volunteers for two year terms and members spend about 10-15 hours per month on board matters. The Borough President’s office ultimately selects people from the pool of applicants - which varies between neighborhoods. Chances are fairly decent that you’ll get a spot if you show your enthusiasm for the issues at hand. Needless to say, you must live in the district where you apply and there’s a big push to diversify whose voices are represented (unsurprisingly, these boards tend to skew whiter, older, richer, and male than the neighborhoods they represent – you can change that!).
If you’re not ready to commit this year, not to worry! Applications are open every year and each borough has their own deadline (with my borough of Brooklyn due tomorrow!). In any case, you can attend your local board meetings at any point throughout the year and share your ideas. Community Boards by definition are the “entry level” to local government - where groups discuss everything from housing proposals to stormwater management to bike lanes (we need all of these and more!). The board’s vote serves as guidance, and they hold a lot of power to escalate issues to operational agencies across the city. Having spent many an evening explaining the merits of a new coastal protection project, dedicated bus lanes, or a new Citibike station to various Community Boards across the city, I and many others can assure you that it’s a fun and impactful way to learn how your city works! There are countless small ways to make NYC a better place, I’ll leave you with this!
Community Shout Outs
🌎 Climate Tech Cities
NY Climate Tech is expanding! We started as an 8-person dinner and now have almost 3,000 members in our community. We’ve had people across the world reach out to us to start their own chapters - so we’re launching a new Climate Tech Cities organization to kick of 2023! If you have friends who are interested in becoming chapter leads, please share the word! Here’s to a global network of local communities making a positive impact!
🙋🏽♀️ Community Board Applications
Community Board applications are live! If you’re interested in getting more involved with local government, learn more about what Community Boards do and consider applying using their online application form.
📣Uptown Chats with WEACT
Our friends at WEACT for Environmental Justice have launched an awesome new podcast! Join Jaron Burke and Lonnie Portis every month as they explore issues in their community through the eyes of everyday people, and discuss how environmental justice is showing up in the news. It’s not just for experts, it’s for everyone! The latest episode brings us a fascinating conversation with Nando Rodriguez of BroSis, a local organization at the forefront of social justice, educating, organizing, and training young people to build the future they want to live in!
Events This Week
🎲 Climate Fresk at Eat Offbeat (Chelsea Market): Wed, Feb 15
🌐 Just and Sustainable Economy Gathering- NYC: Wed, Feb 15
🍻 Green Drinks Brooklyn: Wed, Feb 15
✍️ Good Trouble: A Speaker Series: Wed, Feb 15
🏗 From Field to Form: An Intro to Building with Plants and Earth: Wed, Feb 15
🌳 Embracing the Root: Music & Science Salon: Wed, Feb 15
0️⃣ Transition-IQ Forum 2023: Thu, Feb 16
🌏 The Role of Carbon Capture in Meeting Net-Zero Carbon Goals: Thu, Feb 16
🇬🇧 London For Sustainability - Reception for the NYC community: Thu, Feb 16
👷♀️ WISE AMA with NESEA Executive Director Florence MacGregor: Thu, Feb 16
✊ How to Save a Planet (Before it is Too Late): Thu, Feb 16
🤝 Climate KT in a Time of Crises, Transitions, & Collaborations: Thu, Feb 16
📖 Bookmaking with Bioplastics: Collage, Fuse, Weave: Sun, Feb 19
Read on for more details about this week’s happenings and upcoming events this month
🌎 SILC's Sustainability Professionals Networking Event: Tue, Feb 21
🍎 USV x SOSV: New York as a Hub for Climate Innovation: Tue, Feb 21
🗽NY Climate Tech Meetup: Thu, Feb 23
⛓ Renewable Launch: Sat, Feb 25
👖 Sustainable Fashion Community Meeting: Mon, Feb 27
🎬 Technological Ecologies: Wed, Mar 1
✅ Decarbonization Accelerator Demo Day (Spring 2023): Wed, Mar 1
🎭 Art & Climate Solutions Workshops: Wed, Mar 1
🍄 Bio Arts Workshops w/ Mycelium, Kombucha & Seaweed: Wed, Mar 1
🌿 Plants for Climate Action: Growing a Resilient Society: Thu, Mar 2
🦒 9th Annual New York WILD Film Festival: Thu, Mar 2
⚡️ Clean Energy Leadership Institute's Fellowship Meet and Greet: Thu, Mar 2
🌱 Sustainable Harlem Tour: Fri, Mar 3
🧬 The Art of SynBio: Microbial Painting: Sat, Mar 4
🏳️🌈 Out in Climate - NYC meetup at Free Agency + panel on talent: Thu, Mar 9
💵 2023 Wall Street Green Summit: Mon, Mar 13
🏙 Urban Green Council Spring Member Reception: Wed, Mar 15
🥗 A Seat at the Table: Uplifting Voices for Equitable Food Systems: Mon, Mar 20
👩🌾 Indoor Farming through Hydroponics, a solution based practice: Sat, Mar 25
🥦 Food and Energy Resiliency with Small Scale Biogas: Sat, Mar 25
🧫 Exploring the Microbiome: Sat, Mar 25
🧶 Sustainable Fashion: A Mending and Repair Workshop: Wed, Mar 29
Events This Week
🎲 Climate Fresk at Eat Offbeat (Chelsea Market)
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Want to help tackle climate change but don’t have the time to become a climate scientist? In just 3 hours, the collaborative Climate Fresk workshop will teach you the fundamental science behind climate change and empower you to take action. The workshop will take place at Eat Offbeat and will include a full dinner featuring the best home cooking from around the world made with love by refugee chefs in NYC.
🌐 Just and Sustainable Economy Gathering- NYC
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Farm To People, 1100 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Join policymakers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors who are developing and advocating for solutions that support an equitable, regenerative, and just economy that benefits all - people and planet.
🍻 Green Drinks Brooklyn
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Estuary Brasserie & Bar, 159 Bridge Park Drive, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Is your work related to the environment or sustainability? Are you interested in sustainability or environmental issues. Do you want to meet some like minded folks and share your thoughts and passion. Come down to Estuary at ONE15 Brooklyn Marina for Happy Hour drinks. We'll have a few folks introduce themselves and their work. Tell anyone from NGOs, academia, government, business or anyone interested in the environment/sustainability issues and ask them to bring a friend!
✍️ Good Trouble: A Speaker Series
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: City Tech - New Academic Building, 285 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Good Trouble: Creativity + Collaboration” features architects, academics and change makers - and considers solutions to some of the most pressing problems in the built environment. The AIA framework for design excellence serves as an anchor and a springboard to explore sustainability, inclusivity and resilience in our borough, our city, and beyond. This event is: “Design for Change: How does change affect communities in the built environment?”
🏗 From Field to Form: An Introduction to Building with Plants and Earth
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Scholastic's Big Red Auditorium, 130 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012
Plant- and earth-based materials present an opportunity to reinvent what and how we build. From biogenic materials like straw, hemp, and bamboo to geogenic materials like mud and stone, the translation of renewable resources into building materials presents both new design opportunities and logistical challenges.
🌳 Embracing the Root: Music & Science Salon
When: Wed, Feb 15th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Where: The Center at West Park, 165 West 86th Street, Entrance on Amsterdam Ave. New York, NY 10024
Come join us at this extraordinary event with music and scientific perspectives on the life of trees, roots and fungi -- the actual level of human stress -- and how the nature inside of us can learn from nature surrounding us. Embracing the Root is a modern opera presenting the story of a scientist at the peak of her master project about how stress influences the human brain.
0️⃣ Transition-IQ Forum 2023
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Where: Convene, 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Building on the success of our annual in-person ESG-IQ Forums in New York, Transition-IQ Forum 2023 in NYC will be deep-diving into high-priority sustainable investment themes across asset classes that enable asset owners to accelerate the low-carbon transition.
🌏 The Role of Carbon Capture in Meeting Net-Zero Carbon Goals
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Where: Maeder Hall, 92 Olden Street, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment (Corner of Olden Street and Prospect Avenue), Princeton, NJ 08544
A seminar by Jennifer Wilcox, U.S. Dept. of Energy: President Biden has laid out a bold and ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2050. The pathway to that target includes cutting total greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and eliminating them entirely from the nation’s electricity sector by 2035. The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management will play an important role in the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by reducing the environmental impacts of fossil energy production and use – and helping decarbonize other hard-to abate sectors – through investments in technology solutions.
🇬🇧 London For Sustainability - Reception for the NYC community
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: 22 Vanderbilt, 335 Madison Avenue 7th Floor, New York, NY 10017
We are delighted to invite you to a reception to bridge the cleantech and climate tech communities of London and the New York City Area. New York and London are pioneers in addressing the climate crisis and in this session, we will share best practice on how cities and companies can innovate to address the challenges and ensure that economic growth is sustainable and green.
👷♀️ WISE Ask Me Anything with NESEA Executive Director Florence MacGregor
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers St #609, New York, NY 10007
Florence MacGregor is the Executive Director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, where she has contributed significantly to advancing sustainability practices in the built environment during her seven years with the organization. She joins Building Energy Exchange for a conversation about her career path and her impact in strategic and equitable community-building and programming efforts within the building industry.
✊ How to Save a Planet (Before it is Too Late)
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM
Where: Interference Archive, 314 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a mass movement that is bringing people together to avoid total climate breakdown. This talk will (a) lay out the climate science that drives our urgency to act and (b) describe how we use nonviolent direct action to demand change from government, corporations, and media.
🤝 Climate KT in a Time of Crises, Transitions, and New Collaborations
When: Thu, Feb 16th from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Columbia Innovation Hub Room 202, 2276 12th Avenue New York, NY 10027
Drawing from his recent experience at Columbia University’s Climate School, as well with environmental justice alliances and municipal public-private climate partnerships, Jean-Noé will identify knowledge transfer challenges in the context of shifts and transitions in inter-sectoral collaboration dynamics.
📖 Bookmaking with Bioplastics: Collage, Fuse, Weave
When: Sun, Feb 19th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Where: Genspace, 132 32nd Street #108, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Imagine an edible book that melts instantly with hot water or biodegrades within a few months. How would you “consume” such a book? What sculptural form would this book take? What are the ingredients, textures, and flavors of this book? In the world of artist’s books and zines, bioplastics present a unique opportunity at the intersection of art, science, and design.
Join the Fun!
We know all of you are cooking up great events that highlight the latest and greatest in our collective effort to save our city - and our planet! 🌍 We would love to spread the word. Please share any event details and we'll add them to the list.
Share Your Ideas
We're excited to grow the Climate Tech community in cities across the globe! What started as an 8-person mid-pandemic outdoor dinner has since morphed into a 3,500+ strong and ever-growing group of rockstars trying to change the world. We aim to be a community resource - built for and by our community. Share your thoughts!