Reduce your environmental footprint one strategy at a time.

If you only have 20 or 30 minutes…

Posted on | July 13, 2009 | No Comments


If you have a half hour to spare, you should watch this presentation by Saul Griffith, founder of WattzOn from Pop!Tech 2008 – it is the clearest and most comprehensive discussion of power usage in the modern lifestyle. Saul talks about where energy comes from, how it’s made and how we waste incredible amounts of it on a daily basis. The numbers are shocking but it puts into perspective how our choices truly impact the global environment. If you watch with your school-age kid, the gigantic and colorful graphics will give you many learning and teaching opportunities. I can guarantee that it will change the way you eat, work and travel.


and if you have only 20 minutes, watch The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard.  It’s a lightly (and adorably) animated depiction of how resources are turned into consumer products.  The focus is on using less stuff but it also clearly describes the environmental and health effects relating to overconsumption – perfect for kids who have a 20 minute attention span.

Any community that considers itself sustainable must consider its food source in order to remain truly environmentally and economically sustainable.

For now, let’s consider the following books – these 3 really made a difference to my way of thinking:


Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser analyzes how the American Fast Food diet came to be. He reveals how corporations have hijacked the American food supply. The first chapter starts out scary and each successive chapter gets more and more unbelievable…but true.


Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of the best books I have ever read…about any subject. Michael Pollan is an investigative journalist who turned his attentions to the American food chain. The length of the food chain in each of 4 chapters gets successively shorter until he describes how he hunted and foraged his own dinner. He covers topics such as organic chemistry, conventional farming, a wonderful chapter about a “grass farm” and leaves the reader with a deep respect for how food arrives on the table.


Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a journal of a year in her family’s life when they decided to grow their own food and eat only locally obtained ingredients in SW Virginia. She describes the arc of vegetable farming from seeds to harvest with love and appreciation and (almost) makes you want to chuck it all and move back to the land.

and lastly, on the big screen:


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Established in 1999, Ellen Honigstock Architect PC is a full-service architecture and energy auditing firm based in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Our solutions are environmentally conscious and the criteria we use are based on national standards developed to bring long-term saving, efficiency and well-being to our clients. Over 35 years combined experience building in New York City gives us an edge in meeting tough schedules and navigating the city's complicated requirements.

About Ellen:

As the Residential Green Building Advocate for the Urban Green Council since 2007, Ellen has been promoting sustainability in the residential marketplace in NYC.

In the position of Chair of the Homes Subcommittee the NYC Greening the Codes Task Force, Ellen has been heavily involved in recommending new green policy in NYC as related to updating building codes, rules and regulations.

Ellen teaches Building Science, Building Envelope, Water Conservation, Indoor Air Quality, Quantifying Energy and Green Building Plans at the 1,000 Green Supers program for The SEIU Local 32 BJ Thomas Shortman Training Fund.

Registered Architect, NY, NJ, CT
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Ellen Honigstock, LEED AP
Ellen Honigstock Architect PC
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