Jul 31 2014
What Are We Doing Here?
A sad plastic bag takes up residence in one of Brooklyn's magnolia trees
Photo credit: Jeff Tancil
July 31, 2014
What Are We Doing Here?

Category

Waste

Hello there. My name is Jeff Tancil. My web shop proudly produces the New York Environment Report.

Simple as it sounds, I decided to make this site because I have way too many questions about our environment.

For instance, the plastic bags. You’ve probably seen them many times—the sad plastic bag, snarled in the branches of an unsuspecting tree. I used to ignore them. As a long-time Brooklynite, I’d gotten used to seeing them tumbleweed along the sidewalk, waft into the air on a gust of grimy bus-wind, and take up residence in one of NYC’s 5.2 million trees.

But lately, the plastic bag stuck in the tree drives me nuts. All litter does, really. I get so mad that I momentarily lose all of my carefully-concocted New York cool and I pick up the trash with my bare hands. Yes, it’s a weird (and foolish) thing to do.  I promise to regain my senses soon.

While I am picking up the litter, though, I wonder about a few things—and not just the diseases I risk contracting. Where do these bags and other litter come from? Where do they end up? How does their journey impact all of us? And what the heck ever happened to that plastic bag tax?

Perhaps you’re wondering about plastic bags as well.  Or, maybe you’d like to know about our water—is it safe to drink? Is it ok to take a dip at the local beach? What about the air where you live? Or the future of Indian Point? Or what’s going on with fracking across the state?

One New York, One Environment

That’s where New York Environment Report comes in. We’re here to fill the void in regular coverage of New York’s environment. And by New York, we mean New York City and State—it’s hard to cover one without the other.

New York does not lack for media coverage. And there’s been a welcome uptick in reporting on all environmental issues—not just climate change. But, New York’s environment is a vast, rich and complicated rubric. Many important stories are under-reported or simply not reported at all. Take a look back at our report on the use of fracking water on roads and see if you don’t agree.

From the Rockaways to the Finger Lakes, we live in a richly interconnected state. Our water comes from the Catskills, our energy flows through pipelines and transmission lines that crisscross the state, at least some of our food comes from the Hudson Valley, and at least some of the garbage that doesn’t end up in trees gets trucked and shipped upstate.

Questions and Story Pitches Welcome

So far, we’re what you might expect: a small but deeply passionate team of writers and web people. We’d love your help: New York is a big place and five people (only 2.5 of whom write for the site) can only cover so much.

If you’re a writer, please pitch us stories about the environment. It can be anything from a report on the day’s weather to a data piece about food policy.

And, if you live anywhere from Battery Park to Buffalo, please send us your questions and comments about the environment—it can be as local as the water quality of your nearest beach to statewide questions about the status of fracking.

Please drop me a line if you have any questions or suggestions. My email is jeff(at)nyenvironmentreport.com. Yes, the (at) is intentional. I hope to hear from you.

In the meantime, you’ll be happy to know that I now own a sturdy pair of gloves for when I get that uncontrollable urge to pick up litter.

 

A sad plastic bag takes up residence in one of Brooklyn's magnolia trees
Photo credit: Jeff Tancil
  • Tracy Leone Burgess

    Love this article. I live near Lake Ontario and it is known to have its beaches closed due to bacteria and often wonder just what is the real problem and a REAL solution. I love New York and am a proud resident who enjoys all the beauty that our state offers and would love more information on what is being done to improve and maintain it.

    • jtancil

      Thank you, that made my day – and my day needed making. We will do our absolute best, Tracy!