The problem with environmentalism, at least from a city-dweller’s perspective, is that A) It doesn’t seem to have much to do with big-city life, and B) It’s just not cool. Righteous, yes, but not cool, at least not in a New York City way. But the folks at Solar One are trying to change both these problems. Pointing out that urban life is potentially one of the most sustainable ways of living, they’re trying to bring some of our most pressing environmental issues to the attention of the masses, all while cloaking it in the trappings of a non-irritatingly hippified outdoor music event.
A series of functional installations around Solar One, the solar-powered environmental education center in Stuyvesant Cove Park, highlights those issues, while providing a venue for the cool stuff — an all-day event which includes music, a “green lifestyle marketplace” and beer. Hang out under the “Solar Pavilion” exploring the idea of green roofs in a Fortress of Solitude-esque structure made from thousands of repurposed cardboard tubes. Mull over inner-city automotive congestion, and its solution, congestion relief pricing, as you wait in line for your beverages along a wall of used tires (but what’s the solution to beer-buying-at-music-show-congestion? Hmm…) Refreshments in hand, retire to the “Zero Waste” seating area, where you can perch on giant bales of recyclables and contemplate the phenomenal amount of garbage generated in our fair city every day.
Along the river a series of model wind turbines is the place to go if you’re ready to actually do something. Bring your utility bill, and you can sign up on the spot for wind power for your house, and get free beer for the rest of the day. Free beer, for doing something good. The very definition of a win-win situation, no?
Consumerism’s none too environmental, but the tables at the “green lifestyle marketplace” promise to hold eco-foods, sustainably made clothes for kids and grown-ups, fair-trade goods from far-flung places, and all manner of items designed to make spending dough an exercise in spreading good karma around. All kinds of righteous city organizations will be tabling too, so you can learn a thing or two about composting, solar energy, and more and more and more.
And there’s still some music to listen to....
So August 13th, CitySol will be hosting their third and final Sunday event, with a solar- and biodiesel-powered music showcase and plenty to do between sets. solar1.org
To-Do List for August 13 1. Bring any unwanted/broken electronics (TVs, VCRs, computers, cell phones, etc.) you have: there’ll be an e-waste collection from 10am-3pm. Remind yourself how important it is to keep those dangerous heavy metals out of the landfill if the carrying is heavy. 2. Take your electric bill with you (free beer!).