Greetings all, its been a while! Wanted to share a few morsels of art and information for you to keep this blog fire alive. First, lets warm up with a reminder of the amazingness of tap dance:
Next, I was asked to share it…and so I will: an article about Eco-living which features some content by little old me. See link below! My blurb is about saving shower water (an idea I credit to my Grandma) and is below the photo of the bee. I’m not sure how I got on the radar for this Real Estate blog, but I appreciated the opportunity to write and share ideas with a wider audience. Boop! https://www.redfin.com/blog/living-sustainably-at-home/
On the subject of eco-living, I also came across an article recently about mobile phone energy saving tips and thought it interesting that turning one’s phone off vibrate is a way to save energy. Its the little things! If we all pick just one of these little things, we can help the world just a little bit. If we pick 2, so much good will ensue. Plus, ringtones can be fun! See article if you wish to learn something: https://earth911.com/eco-tech/mobile-phone-energy-saving-tips/
That’s pretty much it for now. A very belated Happy World Chimpanzee Day, year 4 to you all! The special day was on July 14th. I didn’t manage to properly commemorate it this year, so look out for next year’s festivities.
How bout some music to close us out. Here’s an artist I have been loving for the past few years. Her name is Sierra Ferrell and she started out as a busker and is really starting to make it big. So cool!
I wanted to write a little something about chimpanzees since July 14th was World Chimpanzee Day, the 3rd annual “global celebration of respect for our closest genetic relatives”.* Happy belated! This year, Chimp Day marked the 60th Anniversary of when Jane Gooddall first visited Gombe, Tanzania and began studying chimpanzees in the wild.
*all cited information comes from the Roots and Shoots newsletters
The takeaway from Dr. Gooddall’s work over the past 60 years is that chimpanzees are awesome and worthy of our attention and protection.
Currently, chimpanzees are considered an endangered species. Over the past 100 years, the population of chimpanzees has been reduced from 1-2 million in the wild to between 340,000-150,000 across their entire range in Africa today. That’s about a 15% loss over the last 100 years. Gorillas occupy similar zones and have been similarly endangered. Human population has grown by about 30% in that same time period.
Deforestation, wildlife trafficking (think: Tiger King), and poaching/bush meat trade are some of the main reasons for this decline. Unfortunately, the problem is complex, as many human livelihoods depend upon the very activities that are contributing to chimpanzee loss. For example, industrial and artisanal mining provides incomes for families to survive, but the resulting influx of humans into chimpanzee habitat and mining related deforestation are endangering chimpanzees. It is hard to argue to protect chimpanzee life when human life is also at stake.
Fortunately, there is a solution: education. Through education, people can be inspired and empowered to develop alternative livelihoods and industries that are less environmentally destructive (same goes for the whole world).
Education is particularly important amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Since chimpanzees are so genetically similar to humans, disease transmission is a real hazard, and viruses like Covid can easily infect chimpanzees and spread throughout their population. This once happened while Dr. Gooddall was studying chimpanzees in Tanzania during a polio outbreak. Unfortunately, the polio virus had infected individuals in a nearby human village and soon was transmitted to the local chimpanzee population, which resulted in the infection and death of many chimpanzees. If interested in that saga, you can read about it in Dr. Gooddall’s book, In The Shadow of Man.
Fortunately, groups like the Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) are currently working hard to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid to wild chimpanzee populations through education. JGI is also focused on improving captive care standards for chimpanzees worldwide by developing a Chimpanzee Welfare Index (CWI) which outlines care standards for captive chimps. The index consists of criteria that assess an individual chimpanzee’s entire existence in captivity including socialization, psychological behaviors, health, and diet. Using the Index, captive care facilities can assess their level of care and adapt their practices to better fit their animals’ needs.
Side note, the chimps rescued from the G.W. Zoo from Tiger King were transferred to The Center for Great Apes in Florida which is an accredited sanctuary. Tiger King could have benefited from the CWI Index.
Click HERE to find a list of CWI factors to look out for next time you visit a zoo or chimp in captive care, they include ASA and AZA accreditation, having limited visiting hours, having a veterinarian on staff, and a few other things to research and watch out for.
And that is what I learned from JGI’s World Chimpanzee Day 2020. Stay tuned for next year.
Now, on to updates on The Electronic Waste Awareness Project.
The Electronic Waste Awareness Project
So far, from March to present, I have collected 30 items illegally dumped on the sidewalk that would have wound up in the landfill and are now instead *hopefully* being recycled. Unfortunately, I am not confident in the recycling process, but hope, through this project, to become more clear on that matter, ie – Where exactly is “Away?”.
This is my running list of items picked up on the sidewalk since EWAP Update #1
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DW
Haier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television Receiver
Kenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converter
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
*Sticker (in TINY text) on back of this item states: “THIS LCD TV Contains a lamp with Mercury, please dispose of according to all local, state, and federal laws.” It was not treated as such.
Following is the breakdown of my project expenses, for transparency’s sake. Funding was awarded in November 2019, collection activity began in January 2020, better record keeping began in March:
Transportation to and from recycling drop-off facility (taxi+tip)
Total – $115
Storage (in my own tiny apartment, RE- precious real-estate–> $75/month)
$225 (for March-May)
Total – $450
Labor Stipend (for time spent collecting and transporting)
Total – $300
Funding allotted for creating an annual report: $300
Grant total – $1400
Total used so far – $1165
*Grant cycle to end October
Since I am recognizing that my method of recycling action is limited in its impact, I’m not certain I will continue this activity for much longer, given that storing and transporting materials is taxing- energetically and space wise. I feel that education (ie talking to people face to face) is probably a more effective and sustainable solution to reducing illegal/improper disposal of electronic waste. Am I an Eco-prostelytizer? Methinks yes.
That being said, I do continue to find items on the sidewalk and recently discovered most items can now be brought to Staples (up to 3 printers/person/day and TVs less than 20 inches) for recycling. This is a huge relief since there is a store in walking distance and relieves the need to use my own apartment for longer term storage. In the height of Covid, that was not an option since Staples had been closed.
I also found out that Goodwill does not accept electronic waste, only electronics that are in working order and suitable for resale. I haven’t been testing the items I collect to see if they are working, but suppose that is something to consider since there is also a Goodwill in walking distance. Note: in the recycling hierarchy, reuse comes before recycling:
Best buy has a recycling program similar to Staples. Re-these are all places people can go to recycle electronics. It takes more energy than setting them out in the trash, which is probably why most people don’t do it. There is really no incentive to exert the extra energy…unless one cares a whole awful lot…
It seems that a lack of enforcement on illegal dumping is making current regulations ineffective. Supposedly there is a $100 fine for setting electronics out with the trash, but I doubt these fines are being issued. Perhaps if fines were issued, people would start to make the effort. But who will issue the fines?
Last week, while walking home from work late at night, I saw 2 TVs set out in the trash, one on each side of the street. By the time I picked up one and went back for the 2nd, it was already gone. It had been picked up by the garbage men who were making their way down the street. I decided to stop and ask the sanitation workers what they do with electronic waste when its set out with garbage. The gentlemen explained that they used to have special trucks that would come around for electronics, but that was now suspended. He said that now, if the items are large, too large for the recycling trucks to pick up, that they put them in the garbage trucks. They go to the landfill, hazardous waste in all. He candidly expressed doubt in the recycling system as well. Sad. I felt defeated by the system, but also glad that at least I had saved that one TV and all the other items I’d picked up in the past 6 months. There has got to be a better solution.
Thankfully, the city has recently resumed collection of e-waste from building of 10 units or more, but for smaller residences, nothing, which is why it is difficult to identify who is responsible for the electronic waste that is currently, needlessly, heading for the landfill when placed next to curbside garbage and recycling.
My next step is to interview the Sanitation Department for their official statement. I’m curious how the department itself would describe its policy on how to handle e-waste that is left out with regular garbage or dumped randomly.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
As a treat for readers who have made it this far, a music video collaboration made with my music and produced by choreographer Jenn Rose for a “Screen Dance” class at Steps on Broadway. The dancer is Becca Fox and the guitar track (pre-whistles) was recorded and produced by my guitar teacher Dave Muto. It was recorded in Ridgewood, Brooklyn.
Also another video by Jenn Rose, showing how tap dance can be used for political commentary:
This past Thursday was the late, great, crazy Queen of Soul Nina Simone’s birthday. I was lucky enough to catch this celebration on the radio, hearing many songs she recorded that I’d never heard before. So good!
I’m not sure when I first heard Ms. Simone’s work, but have grown to really love and enjoy her music over the past few years, since one of my favorite tap teachers (Derek Grant) used this song for an improv exercise in a class. This was the song:
Another favorite teacher, protégé of Mr. Grant, the young and always so lovely Chirstina Carminucci, used the following song in a class once, which was great for whatever across the floor excercise we were learning at the time that got me all turned around, as usual. This was that song: (ignore the smoking, its bad mmmmkay)
And another great example of Nina Simone in a live recorded performance:
So good! Ok ok, one more video which I love because it uses glitter! Plus it will give you a visual for Christina Carminucci (red pants), a dancer that I’ll likely be mentioning in the future because she performs a lot and is just great:
Alright, next topic:
Fire Safety for DIY Spaces
Tonight I went to a free talk hosted by an NYC artist and fire safety expert Tara McManus. I’m mentioning this because I learned some basic fire prevention tips that I’d like to share with you in case you don’t know, and especially if you’re like me and reside in communal spaces that may or may not follow official codes but want to be safe.
#1 Fire Extinguishers: know where your fire extinguishers are and check them frequently (maybe once/month) to make sure they have pressure. It is important to keep them in a place near an exit as opposed to in a dead-end space like a bedroom; you want to be able to spray the fire as you are making your exit, as opposed to getting stuck in a bedroom.
#2 Extension chords: if you’re plugging in equipment or appliances like heaters that take a lot of energy, plug them into wall outlets and disperse them, so they’re not all plugged into the same outlet. If you have to plug something like a heater into an extension chord, make sure you use a chord meant for higher powered appliances, as opposed to the dinky 2 pronged ones. Also, unravel the chords as opposed to keeping them in a coil (in a coil the chords will get hotter and are more likely to catch fire). And finally, if using multiple extension chords, do not mix 2 pronged chords with 3 pronged chords.
Those are the two main things I think are useful for anyone to know…here is a link to more information if you’re hungry for it: Fire Safety Resources.
Which leads me to my next point:
**E-waste Art: Model of NYC by Zayd Menk
The Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) has released a new campaign to encourage people across the globe to become more aware of the impacts of technology on wildlife. That’s what I’ve been talkin’ bout! This campaign is called “The Forest Calls” and I’ll include a snippet from their latest email update to clue you in:
The forest is calling, can you hear it? It’s been a long time since you’ve listened – really listened – to its call. What is it saying? It’s a faint mummer, but if you try you can still hear it’s message: It’s saying that our endless consumption and reliance on new technology is silencing ecosystems, humans and wildlife. It’s saying that you are the only hope the forests have. The forest is calling, and the power is in your hands to answer the call.
The international technology industry is devastating human and wildlife communities, while destroying vital habitats, particularly in the Congo Basin in Africa. Right now, you can do something about it. JGI is launching ‘The Forest is Calling’, a campaign to inspire action around recycling, reduced consumption and extending the useful life of used electronics. The annual campaign will culminate with Mobile Recycling Day on February 26th, getting JGI’s friends and supporters around the world to help protect chimpanzees, people, other species and their habitats.
So, if you’ve got any old, broken, un-used phones tucked away somewhere, February 26th: Mobile Recycling Day is a decent choice of day to recycle them, or at least research how/where to do that and get the ball rolling. Also, its a good time to think about if you really need a new phone or if your current phone can still serve you. The Chimps will benefit from your conservation efforts as will the chimp part of you (ecopsychology concept to be expanded upon).
More info about The Forest is Calling can be found here.
That’s all, have fun out there, be safe, be creative, and locate your fire extinguishers!
Want an easy way to do something good for the world while you surf the web? Aka effortlessly?
Switch from Google to Ecosia!
Ecosia.org is like Google.com, but instead of supporting who-knows who or what like google, each time you search something though the Ecosia search engine, a tree is planted.
The idea was started by someone in Germany named Joshi. You can set up the Ecosia search engine on your computer by going to ecosia.org. Check it out! Takes less than 5 minutes and will make a great impact starting the moment you make the switch. So far, Ecosia has planted more than 20 million trees in several different countries facing deforestation problems, all made possible through internet searches.
Planting trees helps restore ecosystems and soil fertility, enabling people in once deforested areas to once again grow food, rise out of poverty, and send their kids to school. Thats good!
Whats more, Ecosia has partnered with the Jane Gooddall Institute to plant trees in Chimpanzee habitat in Uganda. This will promote species health and help the chimpanzee population stabilize into the future. Here is a nice video of Jane Gooddall talking to the founder of Ecosia about their new partnership.
And another video to help illuminate the impact Ecosia is making around the world. Your surfing can improve the livelihoods of others make the switch!