NETWORKING® 2020: - Networking Magazine

ex officio
Suffolk County Executive
ex officio
Nassau County Executive
ex officio
U.S. Congress
ex officio
NYS Senator
Managing Partner
Cameron Engineering & Assoc., LLP
Advanced Energy Research and
Technology Center
Chaleff and Rogers Architects
Rauch Foundation
“ There is no doubt that a few committed people can
change the world. In fact, it is the only
thing that ever has.”
President, CEO
LI Housing Partnership
Executive Director
Sustainable Long Island
President, CEO
Long Island Development
— Margaret Mead
Board Member, co-founder
Sustainable Long Island
Director, Division of Planning,
Environment; Dept. of Economic
Development & Planning,
Suffolk County
Executive Director
The Sustainability Institute
at Molloy College
Conservation Finance
and Policy Director
The Nature Conservancy, LI chapter
Chief Executive Officer
Long Island Builders Institute
Executive Director
Member of LI Commission for Aquafer
Protection and member of Board of
Governors for NYS SeaGrant
New York State Assembly Committee on
Environmental Conservation
“New York has taken up the challenge of improving sustainability, recognizing the importance of developing new systems to protect and enhance
our environment, while meeting the needs of a growing society. Our state
has made significant progress in developing and utilizing cleaner energy,
reducing pollution discharges into our waterways, lowering harmful air
emissions and protecting our valuable forests, wetlands and waterbodies.
From the vision and commitment of Gov. Cuomo through the hard work of
local officials and the public, we continue to build a greener, sustainable
New York that will improve environmental quality and our quality of life.”
CEO, President
Professional Evaluation
Medical Group
Adelphi University
Commissioner, New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation
NETWORKING January 2015 13
Adelphi University
Long Island Farm Workers
Need Basic Labor Law Protections
14 NETWORKING January 2015
ocally-grown food from small farms, an alternative to food from “factory farms,” has
become, thankfully, popular across the United States and on Long Island where Suffolk County remains the top agriculture county in terms of value of annual produce
in New York State.
But there’s an issue not being addressed according to a Long Island professor: the
situation of farm workers at these farms. “Food movement advocates and consumers,
driven to forge alternatives to industrial agribusiness, have neglected the labor economy
that underpins ‘local’ food production,” writes Margaret Gray in her just-published book,
Labor and the Locavore.
Thus, the call “to ‘buy local’ promotes public health at the expense of protecting the wellbeing of the farm workers who grow and harvest the much-coveted produce on regional
farms,” added Gray, who
is a professor of political
science at Adelphi University in Garden City.
“When it comes to factory
farms, the public hasn’t
“been reluctant to recognize the exploitation” of
workers. But now being
“overlooked” is “the role
of hired labor in smallerscale agrifood production.”
“Small farms,” she says
in her book, published by
the University of California Press, “like their factory farm counterparts,
are largely staffed by noncitizens, immigrant workers.” But “the prevailing
mentality within the alternative food movement has
Dr. Margaret Gray, Associate Professor of Political Science
not absorbed this reality.”
at Adelphi University, has been recognized with
“Food advocates and
two prestigious awards for her recent book.
their organizations display a tendency,” Gray
goes on, “to conflate local, alternative, sustainable, and fair as a compendium of virtues
against the factory farm that they so vigorously demonize. Yet this equation discourages
close scrutiny of the labor dynamics by which small farms maintain their operations.”
The situation for farm workers has long been a scandal in the United States. The great
journalist, Edward R. Murrow, did one of his most important TV documentaries, “Harvest
of Shame,” about the plight of migrant farm workers. Pointedly broadcast on Thanksgiving
Day, 1961, it exposed the conditions for, as Murrow said, the “humans who harvest the
food for the best-fed people in the world.” Paid outrageously small sums, exploited by
crew leaders who recruited them, housed in awful dwellings, they constituted “workers in
the sweat shops of the soil.” And critically, he stressed, laws that protected other workers
specifically excluded farm workers.
Suffolk County had a prominent place in “Harvest of Shame” with a migrant camp in
Cutchogue, now closed, featured along with a section of Riverhead where, the documentary related, migrant farm workers who escaped the migrant stream have settled.
Back then, most of the farm workers in Suffolk and elsewhere on the East Coast were
black. “From World War II through the early 1970s, the vast majority of migrant [farm]
workers in New York were African Americans from the South,” writes Gray. “This was a
labor market profile...uniformly evident, whether on Long Island potato fields, Hudson
Valley fruit and vegetable farms, Wayne County’s apple orchards...” Then in the 1980s,
“Latinos came to dominate the regional agricultural labor market.”
The farming picture in Suffolk County has changed dramatically as the county, although
staying the state’s top agricultural county, has shifted to growing wine grapes at vineyards
that have happily arisen and spread, and nursery stock especially ornamentals, plus still
fruits and vegetables—but with no longer the dominance of potatoes.
Yet, farm workers in Suffolk, statewide and nationally remain largely unprotected by
law. As notes the Hauppauge-based organization, Long Island Jobs with Justice, farm
workers “are excluded from basic labor law protections like minimum wage requirements,
overtime pay and the right to join a union, to name a few.”
A “Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act” has been considered by the New York State
Legislature. It would establish an eight-hour workday for farmworkers, allow them overtime pay after eight hours, provide one day a week of rest, require they be paid the minimum wage, have the right to organize and bargain collectively, ensure their housing meets
sanitary code standards, provide them with unemployment pay if laid off or fired and
allow them to receive disability benefits.
Gray concludes: “Buy local!” Yes, “support local farms,” she emphasizes, but at the same time “build a food movement that incorporates workers.” People, she says, should nicely explain to farmers
“your food ethic and how it demands fair labor standards needs to be
observed.” ■
Karl Grossman is an author, professor of journalism at the State University
of New York/College at Old Westbury, hosts the nationally-aired television
program, “Enviro Close-Up” produced by EnviroVideo (,
and is chief investigative reporter, WVVH-TV on Long Island.
As notes the Hauppauge-based
organization, Long Island Jobs with
Justice, farm workers “are excluded from
basic labor law protections like
minimum wage requirements, overtime
pay and the right to join a union,
to name a few.”
Gray’s Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food
Ethic (University of California Press 2013) won the 2014 Book of the Year Award
from the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the American
Political Science Association (APSA) Labor Project.
Second Annual Sustainability All-Star Awards
Members of Sustainable Long Island’s Board of Directors, Russell Albanese, Amy Engel, Ron Shiffman, Lauren Furst, Charles Rich, Jeff Kraut, Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch, Jeffrey Arestivo,
Len Axinn, Lidija Nikolic and Charlotte Biblow
Honoree, Andrew Kaplan, Executive Vice President,
New York Community Bank and
Amy Engel, Executive Director,
Sustainable Long Island
n Tuesday, December 2nd
Sustainable Long Island
hosted the Second Annual
Sustainability All-Star Awards at
Oheka Castle in Huntington, NY.
Sustainable Long Island honored:
The Albanese Organization, Chairman, Russell Albanese accepted
and New York Community Bank,
Executive Vice President Andrew L.
Kaplan accepted, for their
outstanding leadership in
sustainability across Long Island.
The two honorees were chosen
because of their commitment to
helping disadvantaged communities
by implementing various projects
and programs, engaging Long Islanders directly to help foster relationships and build capacity, and
advancing sustainability initiatives
Vanessa Pugh, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Suffolk County DOL LCA,
Amy Hagedorn, Board of Directors, Sustainable Long Island,
Honoree Russell Albanese, Chairman, Albanese Organization,
Amy Engel Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island
Sustainable Long Island to Conduct Comprehensive Recycling Analysis
Background Information
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate approximately 4.38 pounds of waste per person per day. Despite the fact that nearly 75% of
this material is recyclable (recyclable or compostable), only 34.5% is actually recycled. In 2012, Americans threw away 251 million tons of trash. At a possible 75% recycle rate, this should amount to nearly 190 million tons of recycled materials.
However, only 87 million tons of materials was recycled in this year, a difference of
102 million tons of additional waste to our landfills and incinerators.
Under the Long Island Landfill ban, all landfills on Long Island have been closed
since 1990. The reason being Long Island gets its water from underground aquifers
that have the potential to become contaminated by these landfills. Waste can be handled in three ways on Long Island: burning, recycling, or out of state land filling.
Long Island has four incinerators that burn trash in order to convert it into energy
such as electricity. Of the estimated 4.6 million tons of waste generated on Long Island each year, 1.6 million tons get incinerated, 1.9 million tons get recycled and the
remaining 1.1 million tons are shipped off the island to landfills in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Sustainable Long Island is a nonprofit organization advancing sustainability
through community revitalization, brownfield redevelopment, and food access initiatives. Sustainable Long Island connects public and private resources and expertise
with communities that need them the most while promoting economic development, environmental health, and social equity. For information, call (516)-873-0230
or visit ■
NETWORKING January 2015 15
ustainable Long Island has been awarded $7,500 from the Angela and Scott
Jaggar Foundation to conduct a comprehensive analysis of recycling on Long
Island. The analysis will consist of examining existing recycling laws and codes
to clearly outline challenges and obstacles affecting the progression of recycling
practices across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
"Establishing a baseline of data on recycling is a critical first step before advocacy
changes can be made," said Amy Engel, Executive Director of Sustainable Long Island. "Very little information exists about the rates of recycling throughout Long Island, the policies that govern it, and what more can be done to encourage and
facilitate the practice."
The analysis will look at ways to reduce the waste stream itself, highlight impediments to recycling markets, and look at best case practices and success stories from
other parts of the country from which to learn. The information gathered will allow
stakeholders and decision-makers to examine Long Island's recycling system
through a comprehensive lens.
The analysis and review of existing recycling laws/codes on Long Island will
gather data from numerous secondary sources, including the US Environmental
Protection Agency, Waste Reduction and Management Institute, research teams from
Long Island University Post and Stony Brook University, and data from Long Island's 13 towns and two cities.
Recycling can be a way to reduce reliance upon landfills and incinerators. It is the
hope that thorough research will lead to dialogue, which will then lead to policy
change, market change, and finally, positive impact on Long Island communities.
Suffolk County Water Authority
Hosts Educational Seminar
Rosemary Mascali, Manager, Transit Solutions, Carrie Meek Gallagher, Chief Sustainablility
Officer, SCWA, Ellen Hanzl, Operations & Events Manager, Seatuck Environmental Association,
Enrico Nardone, Esq, Executive Director, Seatuck Environmental Association
Chris Niebling, Lab Manager, Organic
Area, SCWA, Carrie Meek Gallagher,
Chief Sustainablility Officer, SCWA
Steven Smith, National Energy Connection, Jack Monti, Hydrologist,
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Rich Brown
he Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) hosted an
educational tour and seminar for the Seatuck
Sustainability Business Council at their Hauppauge
facility. Topics included a State of the Aquifer presentation
and discussions on: Topography, Population, Land Use &
Cover, Hydrologic Cycle, Precipitation and Recharge, Surface
Water, Groundwater, Water Availability, Water Suitability,
and Potential Hazards. Following was an update on the Long
Island Commission for Aquifer Protection,
What Businesses Can Do to Protect the
Aquifer and a Tour of Education Center
and SCWA Drinking Water Laboratory. ■
Sue Avery, Nature’s Edge
Amanda Commando,
Assistant Supervising
Chemist, Inorganic Area,
L to R: Lisa Burch
(partially obscured in
background), NSLIJ Health
Systems, Sue Avery,
Nature’s Edge, Katie
Dunne, (background),
511 NY Rideshare,
Ellen Lalier,
Seatuck Volunteer,
Rosemary Mascali,
Transit Solutions,
Ellen Lalier, Katie Dunne and Rosemarie Clipper
Gavin Marsden, Assistant Supervisor
and Catherine Nicoletti, Supervisor,
Bacteriology and Sample Collection, SCWA
16 NETWORKING® January 2015
Energy Prices Expected To Be Lower This Winter
lbany, NY – The New York State Public Service Commission, in an
effort to avoid a repeat of last winter’s large price increases, announced
that utilities and third-party energy providers have agreed to provide
customers with more information and more refined tools to help customers
manage their energy bills. In addition, the Commission said it is expanding its
own outreach efforts, including launching a newly enhanced website that can
help residential and small commercial consumers identify energy products to
meet their needs to help control energy costs. “The unprecedented cold
weather last winter was particularly challenging for the many people who
experienced unusually high energy bills,” said Commission Chair Audrey
Zibelman. “To help ensure such problems are avoided, we have been working
with the utilities and third-party energy providers on ways to reduce price
volatility and provide more options to help consumers better manage and
control their energy bills.”
In terms of energy resources, utilities providing natural gas service in the
state have adequate supplies, delivery capacity, and storage inventory to satisfy
customer demand under severe winter conditions. While bill impacts will vary
by utility, natural gas bills in general are expected to be lower this winter
compared to last winter. On the electric side, this winter’s (December through
March) commodity prices statewide are expected to be lower, although
commodity prices can vary due to weather and other conditions. On average, a
residential customer using 600 kWh per month is expected to pay about $55, or
about 20 percent, less than last winter, but the amount will vary by utility. A
website, accessible from, allows customers to easily find fixed
price energy products for electricity and natural gas service, identify those that
may meet their needs, and directly link to providers of those products. ■
Assessing the Risks of
Genetically Engineered Crops
Proponents of genetic engineering (GE) —
whereby DNA from unrelated species is
combined to produce improved or novel
organisms — insist that the benefits of
increased crop yields and less agricultural
waste outweigh the potential risks, but
many environmental and public health
advocates aren’t convinced.
According to the Union of Concerned
Scientists (UCS), one risk of GE is that our
new “frankencrops” could become
invasive, toxic to wildlife, or dangerous in
other as-yet unknown ways. “But the most
damaging impact of GE in agriculture so
far is the phenomenon of pesticide
resistance,” reports UCS, adding that
millions of acres of American farmland are
infested by weeds that have become
resistant to Monsanto’s popular herbicide
glyphosate (known to most by its trade name
Roundup). “Overuse of Monsanto's ‘Roundup Ready’
trait, which is engineered to tolerate the herbicide, has
promoted the accelerated development of resistance in
several weed species.”
As a result, farmers are now turning to older, more
toxic herbicides—and agribusiness companies are
responding in kind with new rounds of GE crops
engineered to tolerate these older chemicals. UCS
worries that the process repeating itself is only leading
us down the path of plants evolving quickly to
overcome our defenses however technically brilliant
they may be.
As for health risks, UCS acknowledges that eating
refined products derived from GE crops is unlikely to
cause health problems, but maintains that inserting a
gene from one organism into another could still have
unintended health consequences. For example, those
with food-borne allergies could be at increased risk for
reactions given the combination of genes in what looks
like any other vegetable or piece of fruit. “This
phenomenon was documented in 1996, as soybeans
with a Brazil nut gene — added to improve their value
as animal feed — produced an allergic response in test
subjects with Brazil nut allergies,” reports UCS.
Given these risks, some 21 countries and the
European Union (EU) have instituted policies requiring foods
created with GE technology to be labeled as such so
consumers can know what they are buying and putting into
their mouths. EU rules mandate that if any ingredient in a
food has 0.9 percent or higher of genetically modified
organisms, it must be marked accordingly on its packaging.
Environmentalists in the U.S. would like to see the federal
government put in place a similar policy — research from the
non-profit Just Label It found nine in 10 Americans to be in
favor of mandated GE labeling — but lobbying interests from
agricultural states with a vested interest in selling more GE
products still hold lots of sway over elected officials. So for
now, Americans concerned about what’s in their food will
need to do their own homework regarding what’s safe to put
on their dinner tables.
Luckily some natural foods retailers are making it easier
for consumers intent on avoiding GE foods. Whole Foods, for
one, is working toward full disclosure via labeling in regard
to which of the foods on its store shelves contain GE
ingredients. While Whole Foods may be a pioneer in this
regard, environmentalists are hoping other U.S. grocery store
chains will follow suit so that Americans can decide for
themselves whether or not to take the risk of eating GE foods.
Contacts: UCS,; Just Label It,
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine
( Send questions to: [email protected]
ollow Me to Masdar: The First
Carbon-Free City is a
documentary film introduced at
the Hamptons Film Festival about
building a carbon-free city, Masdar. In
2007, the government of Abu Dhabi,
an emirate that controls 8% of the
world’s oil reserve, announced it
would build Masdar, the world’s first
zero-carbon city. In his film, director
John Paul Redmond, a Captain in the
U.S. army who served in Kunar,
Afghanistan, returns home, falls in
love with the girl of his dreams, goes
to film school and finds an answer to
the world’s energy crisis in Masdar
City (which means source in Arabic.)
In 2009, the International Renewable
Energy Agency made Masdar City its
world headquarters. See
he Sierra Club is inviting
visitors to its site to contact
beverage club giants asking
them to slash oil use in their vehicle
fleets. According to the Club, the soda
industry owns more than 100,000
vehicles and uses more oil to fuel
them than any other industry. This is
among Sierra Club’s first efforts of the
new Future Fleet initiative and
ForestEthics who are asking
supporters to visit their site and send
in a letter (they have provided one)
requesting beverage companies to
slash oil use. Go to
overnor Andrew Cuomo
continues to position New
York as a recreation
destination. This year’s state budget
included $6 million in NY Works
funding to support the creation of 50
new land and water access projects
connecting hunters, anglers, bird
watchers and others to more than
380,000 acres of existing state and
easement lands that have been
underutilized. To date, construction
has started on all 50 sites, with 14 of
them complete. Approximately 30
projects will be completed by the end
of the year. For more information on
these access projects, visit:
NETWORKING® January 2015 17
upporting the goals of the
administration’s Climate Action
Plan, the Energy Department
announced $15 million in available
funding to help integrate distributed,
on-site solar energy systems into the
nation’s electrical grid. With more
solar power installed in the United
States in the last 18 months than in 30
years prior, solar is shattering records.
As more solar comes online, the
Energy Department is working to
address the challenges of solar power,
such as the variability of available
sunshine during the day, and
developing solutions to better
integrate solar photovoltaics (PV)
with electric power systems
throughout the grid. See eere-network
[email protected] ■
Governor Cuomo Bans
Fracking in New York State
Price of Solar Panels
Installed on Roof Tops is
Lower Than Ever
New York State Department of
Health Completes Review of
High-Volume Hydraulic
Acting DOH Commissioner Zucker Recommends Activity
Should Not Move Forward in NY State
he state Department of Health (DOA) has completed its public health review of highvolume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) and Acting DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard
Zucker recommended that high-volume hydraulic fracturing should not move forward
in New York State. Dr. Zucker announced his findings and recommendations at a Cabinet
Meeting in Albany. “I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks
to public health which as of yet are
unanswered,” said Dr. Zucker. “I think it
would be reckless to proceed in New York
until more authoritative research is done.
I asked myself, ‘would I let my family live
in a community with fracking?’ The
answer is no. I therefore cannot
recommend anyone else’s family to live in
such a community either.” In 2012,
Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe
Martens asked the DOH Commissioner to
conduct a review of the draft
Supplemental Generic Environmental
Impact Statement for High-Volume
Hydraulic Fracturing (SGEIS). Dr.
Zucker’s report fulfills that request. As a
result of Dr. Zucker’s report,
Commissioner Martens stated at a recent
cabinet meeting that he will issue a legally binding findings statement that will prohibit
HVHF in New York State at this time.
“For the past six years, DEC has examined the significant environmental impacts that
could result from high-volume hydraulic fracturing,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.
“DEC’s own review identified dozens of potential significant adverse impacts of HVHF.
Further, with the exclusion of sensitive natural, cultural and historic resources and the
increasing number of towns that have enacted bans and moratoria, the risks substantially
outweigh any potential economic benefits of HVHF. Considering the research, public
comments, relevant studies, Dr. Zucker’s report and the enormous record DEC has amassed
on this issue, I have directed my staff to complete the final SGEIS. Once that is complete, I
will prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State at this time.” ■
18 NETWORKING® January 2015
DEC Commissioner
Martens will issue
a findings statement
early this year
to prohibit
Hydraulic Fracturing
Source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. DOH’s review can be
found at:
ooftop solar panels have always been the province of
well-to-do, eco-friendly folks willing to shell out extra
bucks to be green, but that is all starting to change.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL), the cost of putting solar panels on a typical American
house has fallen by some 70 percent over the last decade and
a half. And a recent report from Deutsche Bank shows that
solar has already achieved so-called “price parity” with fossil
fuel-based grid power in 10 U.S. states. Deutsche Bank goes
on to say that solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or
cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in all but three
states by 2016—assuming, that is, that the federal government
maintains the 30 percent solar investment tax credit it
currently offers homeowners on installation and equipment
But therein could lie the rub. The federal tax credit for
residential solar installations expires in 2016, and it’s
anybody’s guess whether and to what extent the Republicandominated Congress will renew it. Legislative analysts report
that while Congress is unlikely to abandon the program
entirely, big cutbacks could be on the way. But Deutsche Bank
maintains that even if the credit is reduced to 10 percent, solar
power would still achieve price parity with conventional
electricity in some 36 states by 2016.
Meanwhile, homeowners in states where additional local
incentives are available and there’s lots of sunshine—such as
across the Southwest—may in fact already be able to power
their homes cheaper with the sun than from the grid.
Homeowners looking to go solar should check out the
Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency
(DSIRE), a free online database of all the different state and
local incentives for solar and other forms of renewable energy.
And prices for solar are expected to keep falling as
technologies improve and financing becomes more affordable.
Solar leasing has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans
realize the dream of going solar without breaking the bank.
The companies behind such programs—SolarCity, SunRun
and others—take care of installation, maintenance and
upgrades while the customer ends up paying about as much
for clean, green power as for grid power from coal or other
fossil fuels.
Of course, solar is still a bit player in the scheme of things
in terms of U.S. and global electricity production. But with
costs coming down, we can expect to see a lot more solar
panels going up on rooftops across the land in the coming
decade. Environmentalists concerned about our changing
climate say the sooner the better, as our dependency on coal
and other fossil fuels for electricity is a big contributor to
global warming.
Congress will definitely be considering whether or not to
extend the solar investment tax credit when it reconvenes in
2015. If you’re part of the silent majority of Americans who
would like to see the credit extended so that middle class
Americans can continue to afford to convert to solar power, be
sure to speak up and let your Congressional delegation know.
Contacts: Deutsche Bank,; National
Renewable Energy Laboratory,; SolarCity,; SunRun, ■
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and
is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine
( Send questions to: [email protected]