Fresh Kills – Transforming a notorious landfill from awfulness to awesomeness

At 2200 acres, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island in New York City was once the largest landfill in the world. Begun in 1947 it was the first landfill in operation in the United States. It operated for decades, adding layers and layers of New York City garbage, like historical strata. At its peak 20 barges of city garbage arrived daily, depositing 30,000 tons of trash collected from all five city boroughs.

The landfill was officially closed in March 2001, although it reopened temporarily in the fall of 2001 after the 9/11 attacks as a sorting location for a portion of the World Trade Center debris.

Transformation from wasteland to dynamic ecosystem

Big plans are under way for transforming Fresh Kills from landfill to park. When completed, Fresh Kills park will be three times the size of Central Park. Will it ever get back to the way it was before the landfill? Unfortunately, no. But it will be green, and wild, and full of activity, both animal and human.

Read more about this transition in an article by Laura Bliss in CityLab by The Atlantic:
The Wild Comeback Of New York’s Legendary Landfill

Learn more about the plans for the park at the official website:
http://freshkillspark.org/the-park/the-park-plan

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Hearth Surgery – Developing efficient stoves for the third world, and beyond

There is a great story in the New Yorker by Burkhard Bilger about a group working on developing highly efficient and cheap stoves for third world countries. These stoves aim to significantly cut fuel use and emissions, as well as be cheap to produce, possibly even from local materials.

From the article:
In the small but fanatical world of stovemakers, Peter Scott is something of a celebrity. For the past seven years, under the auspices of the German aid agency GTZ, Scott has designed or built some four hundred thousand stoves in thirteen African countries. He has made them out of mud, brick, sheet metal, clay, ceramic, and discarded oil drums. He has made them in villages without electricity or liquid fuel, where meals are still cooked over open fires, and where smoke is the sixth leading cause of premature death. In the places where Scott works, a good stove can save your life.

Link to the article:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/12/21/091221fa_fact_bilger#ixzz0cXXHvJs6
(subscription required for full article, sorry)

Bilger followed up the story with a post to his blog.

Here’s a stove that Bilger mentions in his blog, the BioLite camp stove:

This stove is not yet in production (coming Spring 2010), but here are the specs for the prototype:
• Boils 1 liter of water in 4 minutes.
• Kindles in 2 minutes
• Burns twigs, sticks, underbrush, pine cones, pellets, rice husks
• Folds for easy packing
• 7.5” Tall X 4.75” Diameter
• Weighs 1lb 10oz
The BioLite website has a video of the camp stove in action.

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