Earth Day and Arbor Day Notes

Ash Tree

Credit: W. Carter (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

Having recently observed Earth Day, we thought it would be appropriate to share some tips for protecting the environment. First, however, since today is Arbor Day, it is important to take a moment to appreciate trees. Everyone knows that trees transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis. Trees cool the Earth during this process as well, not only by removing the greenhouse gas CO2 but also by the absorption of sunlight used to synthesize hydrocarbons.

Trees are used as building materials and to manufacture paper. Four billion trees are cut down each year to produce paper; and compared to building joists or wooden furniture, the lifecycle of paper tends to be ephemeral—used once, and then discarded. About four million tons of paper that could be recycled are thrown out each year in the US—enough to build a 12-foot-high wall from New York to California. Paper consumption in offices is particularly egregious; 45 percent of office paper printed each day ends up in the trash. Continue Reading…

Action Steps to Improve Your City

As we begin 2017, HAKS would like to share Curbed New York’s suggestions on initiatives we can launch to improve our cities.  We have culled a small number from the list; you can access them all at 101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City. Continue Reading…

Engineering the Cities of the Future

downtown-nySmart Cities use data, information, and communications technology to streamline urban infrastructure activities such as transportation and traffic management, water supply networks, waste and wastewater management, and power plants to improve the lives of their residents. Smart Cities not only present challenges to the A/E industry, but opportunities as well. Smart buildings can utilize building management systems to save energy; transportation systems designed for autonomous vehicles can be designed with a streamlined footprint and more effective flow of traffic; municipal management systems can incorporate sustainable materials and green infrastructure; and affordable and efficient ground transportation can increase convenience and quality of life. Continue Reading…

Hidden Perils in Summer Sunshine

Contributed by Brenda Gomez, Environmental Staff Engineer/Scientist

NYC (1)

August is the homestretch of summer, when people take to the beach, barbecue, and generally try to enjoy as much outdoor time as possible before the Labor Day holiday portends the onset of school, shorter days, and colder weather. Unfortunately, summer is also when air quality is at its worst. Heat waves like the ones we have been enjoying lately create photochemical oxidants as the sun’s ultraviolet radiation cooks the air to produce a layer of ozone smog. Continue Reading…

OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City

DSC07801 REVLast month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, the successor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability oversaw its development and shares responsibility with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency for ensuring its implementation. OneNYC addresses challenges such as a population of 9 million by 2040, changing climate conditions and aging infrastructure through principles of growth, sustainability, resiliency and equity. The plan builds on the four core challenges addressed in past PlaNYC reports with the addition of growing inequality, the importance of the region and New York City “voices”—a reference to the necessary input of a broad range of residents. The plan also acknowledges the growing gap between “technology haves and have-nots.” Continue Reading…

Earth Day 2015: “It’s Our Turn to Lead”

NY317, Lenevar Avenue

Lenevar Avenue, Staten Island

Today, April 22nd, marks the day when events are held globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Known as “Earth Day,” it was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 and has become a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy. Several changes were enacted after the first Earth Day in 1970—the Environmental Protection Agency was established; the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups; and, within the next three years, such landmark achievements as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed. Continue Reading…