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City's Parks Contributing to Global Warming
October 25th, 2007

As you sit on a bench at South Street Seaport and take in the grand view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Tim Keating might like you to think for a second about all of that wood. The wood you sit on, walk on, even the subway ties the trains ride on. Where does all that wood come from?

Keating is the director of Rainforest Relief, and his organization says that all that wood just might make the New York City government the largest consumer of tropical hardwood outside of the tropics themselves.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made cutting the city’s contributions to global warming a signature issue. But while the United Nations estimates that deforestation (which occurs almost entirely in the tropics) causes up to 30 percent of global warming, no attempt has been made to change the city’s policy on the wood it uses in a decade. Gifford Miller introduced a bill in 1997 that would have banned the city or its contractors from using tropical hardwood, and in 1998 a resolution was introduced calling on the Parks Department to use plastic lumber. But neither of those went anywhere and nothing has happened since.

“Mother Nature has made this wonderful wood that cannot yet be duplicated artificially,” Henry Stern, then the parks commissioner, told the New York Times in 1998. ”Science hasn’t developed a substitute for wood for boardwalks any more than it has for newsprint.”

While the current commissioner told AlterNet, a liberal magazine that published an article on the issue last week, that the Parks Department is looking into the use of renewable materials, the City Council has turned to the state for help. A resolution introduced in March by Bronx Councilmember Oliver Koppell asks the state to mandate the use of recycled plastic lumber where economically feasible. But with things the way they are in Albany now, the plea is unlikely to be noticed – if the resolution is even passed.

By on October 25, 2007, 7:09 am
In category: Environment | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “City's Parks Contributing to Global Warming”

  1. Wondering Says:
    October 25th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    What are the relavent probleums of using petroluem based substitutes? I understand that cutting down all the wood is bad but wjat about the oil? I think there needs to be some sort of real recognition amongst the”greens” if you wii alow me this crude generalization of what a wholistic approach to the environment esecially in our urban environment may look like instead of always putting out just facts that help your cause.

  2. Henry Says:
    October 26th, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Thanks for printing this, need to hear more about it. and that aternet piece is well done and comprehensive, everyone should read it. what can we do? contact the mayor, get Koppell to do more?

  3. Dan Says:
    October 29th, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    I think the point of the “plastic lumber” is that it’s made from RECYCLED PLASTICS, isn’t it?

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