Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 finally gives NYC a sustainability plan we can sink our teeth into. Thankfully, it sets forth goals for greening NYC schools around energy education, cleaner boilers and buses, and opening our schoolyards as public playgrounds. (Don’t bite down too hard though, because it doesn’t give you anything trashy to chew own—the Department of Sanitation’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan is supposed to take care of the waste side story.)
In order to increase the impact of energy efficiency, there are plans around energy awareness campaigns in schools (see page 111). This could be why there were conEdison comic books all over the place at the beginning of the school year. (Did someone feel the best way to reduce our City’s energy consumption long-term is to educate our youth? Perhaps the same principle could be applied to school recycling?)
City Council passed a Local Law 42 in 2005 mandating full-size schools buses be retrofitted to reduce emissions. PlaNYC gives this law a tougher jawbone by including small buses that tend to run on diesel. Plus, there’s a plan to get the old, gassy yellow dogs off the road a little sooner (127).
For those choking on the number four and six burn-off particulates coming from the monstrosities that hang out in our basements, breathing their heavy breath into our classrooms and asthma-ridden neighborhoods, there’s a plan too: “Currently, 478 city schools burn No. 4 or No. 6 heating oil; many of these are in neighborhoods where the asthma rates are over three times higher than the national average. By 2017, the City will modify the boiler systems of 100 of these schools, to enable the boilers to burn a cleaner fuel. Schools located in neighborhoods with the highest asthma hospitalization rates—generally rates greater than seven per 1000—will be prioritized in order to achieve the maximum local benefits (129).”
It’ll take a short while though, so crack the window a bit more than what might seem comfortable if you happen to live in one of the stricken, yet blessed to be chosen, areas in the neighborhoods of Bronx, Harlem, Central Brooklyn and along Jamaica Bay.
In the meantime, bring those carbon-eaters to you. You can request a tree be planted in the sidewalks surrounding your school building and because of the milliontreesnyc campaign, some dudes very well might arrive with thirsty, greenish creatures come spring (117).
Even yummier, of course, would be if NYC schools would recycle all of their paper. That way we could save a whopping four million trees by the time NYC puts down its millionth. Nothing like loving the world like your own backyard.
If you’re into a meatier bite—or let’s just say you like a bit more texture—why not try and beef up the Plan when it’s up for revision in about four years. It could use more waste management to round out the palate. Or, you could ask for exactly what you’d like on your school plate right now, “Daddy Bloomberg, can I have a little more school recycling with that?”
Listen, don’t take our word for it. Gorge yourself on the entire document. Please. Because then we’re sure you’ll want more.