It’s hard to imagine this city ever being free of pollutants—car and bus fumes leaving trails on busy thoroughfares, smoke billowing out of factory chutes, and trash speckling street corners are synonymous with urban living. No wonder an eco-friendly lifestyle may seem unattainable to some. Still, it can be done. Take me, for example. I live in a geothermally heated building, where solar energy is absorbed directly from the earth instead of using resource-depleting gas. Aside from my home, I’ve added environmentally conscious items to my daily routine, so an average day goes something like this:
In the morning, I scrub up with the aid of a water-saving OXYGENICS SHOWERHEAD [$30-$60, Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond]. It uses only 1.5 gallons per minute, saving hundreds of gallons a year. Breakfast consists of antibiotic-free OLD CHATHAM SHEEP’S MILK YOGURT [sold at most gourmet shops, $3] mixed with soil-enriching, sustainable-farmed strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts from the volunteer-run 4TH STREET CO-OP [58 E 4th, 212-674-3623]. Any uneaten bits get tossed into a BOKASHI HAPPY FARM COMPOSTER [$49.95 for container, $9.45 for Bokashi, scdworld.com]. It’s compact and perfect for apartments since there’s no rotting smell and no Fear Factor–like worms involved. Microorganisms called Bokashi break down the food, turning leftovers into nice potting soil.
Then I ride my refurbished bike from RECYCLE-A-BICYCLE [75 Ave C, 212-475-1655] to work with a solar VOLTAIC POUCH [$229, voltaicsystems.com] on my back. The pack serves as a charger for my cell phone, iPod, and other small electronic devices. If I could bring in a laptop and use the four pound SUN CATCHER SOLAR LAPTOP CHARGER [$465, froogle.google.com], that would help reduce the electricity I consume in the office, but there’s only so much I can do at work.
In the evening, I hop on the subway (public trans is an easy way to reduce emissions like car exhaust) and head over to Fort Greene for dinner. At HABANA OUTPOST [755-757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-858-9500], the city’s first entirely solar-powered restaurant and market, I sit with a handful of fashionable granola-type friends—yes, we can be stylish. There, we chow on damn-good corn and veggie burgers that arrive on biodegradable plates.
By the time I get home, I’m ready to wrap myself in soft LEGNA SHEETS [full sheet set $632, daxstores.com]. Made to feel and drape like silk and created “from the wood of sustainably harvested trees,” the Italian import has me dreaming of an all eco-friendly city in no time. Maybe in 50 years, green urban living will be just a walk in the park. One can hope!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2005