Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Compost Redux

About 3 years ago, our family started composting out here in the wilds of Brooklyn, NY. Instead of throwing away apple cores and banana peels and cucumber skins, we stuck them in a bag in our freezer. And at the end of every week, we took the (very) full bag to the farmers market, where we could throw it in with compost collected by other Brooklyn folks. Then the Sanitation Department brought it all to a composting facility, where it was broken down into nutritious dirt. Which is great for anyone who has a garden and wants to fertilize it without using chemicals.

But maybe the biggest benefit of composting is that it cuts down on the amount of garbage we send to landfills. Landfills are so full of trash that stuff that should rot quickly away to nothing, sticks around for years and years, because there's not enough air circulating to break it down. We did a CSK episode all about composting, which you can watch here.

Now, the City of New York is expanding it's composting program, which is great news! Because now, even more garbage will go to composting facilities instead of landfills. Today, our building received its very own compost bin:

There are so many things to like about this but one of my favorites: Now we'll have some extra room in our freezer for some ice cream!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Don't Dump! A Post from Boston

While we've been gearing up for our next episode, City Science Kids friend Renee Riccardo has been traveling in Boston. She came across this plaque on a storm drain and wondered what it was:

Photo by Renee Riccardo
Renee's friend Robert Chambers, who used to work in marine science before becoming a sculptor and art professor, jus happened to know all about it! 

"The round symbol with three wavy lines represents the Lady of the Water, the deity Sulainor," he wrote. "She is the patron of ponds, bays, harbors, rivers. 

"The fish is a flounder, found in the Boston harbor and an important bio-monitoring tool (like frogs). [That's because] the liver of the flounder, a bottom feeder, metabolizes pollution like lead, cadmium, and pcb's that unfortunately end up in the harbor. Environmental scientists study the flounders' poor diseased livers to monitor pollution. 

‪"The cast iron plaque is letting you know that the nearby drain dumps (unfortunately) directly into the harbor and that gasoline, oil, or anything toxic should not be dumped down any drain connected to oceans, lakes, rivers."

We love citizen scientists who know so much about the world around us and how it works! What about you, have you seen any interesting plaques where you live?