Monday, December 28, 2009

Recycled Frisbee Art Auction For Bridgeport

There is nothing simpler or more attractive than a Frisbee in flight. It's pure beauty in motion, it captivates the imagination. This is how the workers at the Frisbie Pie company must have felt when they were messing around with the pie tins, flinging them so they would rest on a cushion of air and fly a great distance, thousands landing at the bottom of the river we are told. So it's no surprize a company making things out of a new material called plastic thought to improve on the design and come up with one of the most popular and resilient toy in the world, now a serious sport.

When we were organizing the first Green Market Exposition at the Barnum Museum, we were looking for something to represent the City of Bridgeport, its spirit of innovation, its long association to the local avionics and aeronautics community, and so we decided to make the Frisbee the symbol of our event. I knew Wham-O sold a recycled plastic version so I envisioned artists painting the top of Frisbees, putting them on display at the Expo and at auction to raise some money for green projects.

I contacted the Wham-O recycled Frisbee licensed manufacturer Discovering The World, who agreed on a good price, then we started looking for a sponsor. We were not able to raise the funds in time for the 2009 GME, but at the expo, one of our guest speaker was Robert Araujo from Sikorsky, who liked the idea, and helped us get it through committee. A few days ago two large boxes were delivered on my doorstep, containing 200 Reflyer 100 Mold Frisbees, 60% post-consumer recycled polyethylene, ready to be painted.

Artists can stop at some of these participating galleries and green businesses to pick up their blank Frisbee: City Lights Gallery, Day One Skateshop, Center For Green Building, and the Green Living Center at the Saugatuck train station in Westport. You will be asked to sign a short release form agreeing to return the Frisbee with art work painted on it in due time for the auction at the Green Market Exposition starting October 8th 2010 at the Barnum Museum.

(There will be a pre-showing at City Lights Gallery on Earth Day April 22nd.)

You can also download this Word File form and mail it in. We will send you a Frisbee in return mail. But if you pick them up in person at the above locations, you will receive a free sample bottle of Citra Solv, a safe, bio-degradable solvent with a multitude of art uses. Citra Solv is based in Danbury.

For paint to properly stick on polyethylene, you must use enamel paint, or first prime the surface of the Frisbee with a clear coat and use acrylic paint. I know it's not the greenest thing around, but we will start working with Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety to identify the most environmentally friendly acrylic paints and methods out there.

If you want to read more about the history of the Frisbee, you can find an entire chapter in Bridgeport: Tales from the Park City by Eric D. Lehman.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greening Bridgeport... One Street At A Time!

The other day I had the wonderful opportunity to witness Bridgeport Mayor's Conservation Corps in action. It's almost the end of the season, so the group was much smaller than usual, but I got a chance to experience change in motion.

In the photo above you can see left to right: Damtia Agee, Jahaida Diaz, Marquese Griffin, Patrick Peluso Jr., Richard R. Hines, Trysh Brown, Tori Brown.

Since July, almost everyday of the week, Lisa Bretton Miro, Park City's conservation coordinator (below), has been training and putting dozens of dedicated young men and women on the streets of Bridgeport to canvas neighborhoods, educate residents about a myriad of recycling, tree planting and energy saving measures for their homes or business, including a rain barrel program to reduce storm water pollution.

On the table you can see a few copies of E The Environmental magazine and a small selection of light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) which I brought with me for the occasion to show and tell.

Before heading out into the streets to canvas, each volunteers meet in a prep room at City Hall where they map out their route.

A small bus takes them to destination where they spend the afternoon knocking on doors, talking to homeowners, asking them to fill out a fun, but detailed questionaire about their willingness to participate in future activities to green and beautify their neighborhood.

Keep up the good work guys, what you're doing is amazing. (Love the Betty Boop bag! Yeah Eco-Betty!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Green Market Exposition at the Barnum Museum

Thanks to all involved for a wonderful, productive event! Thanks to Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch for launching a full day packed with dozens of great speakers and hundreds of attendees. Stay tuned for many follow-ups to all the meetings and networking that took place today...

To see pictures of the event, click on through to the Rock The Reactors website and visit Green Market Exposition. We are already preparing for next year...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Save The Date Aug 5th

Norwalk Greendrinks has moved to Fat Cat Pie and will resume on August 5th. To be included on the mailing list, contact Daphne Dixon at

To read more about the move, go to the CTSOS list.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Calendar

April 22 was Earth Day, but the observances continue:

Thurs Apr 23, 9:30-11:30 AM: Public forum, "Bridgeport’s Environment: What is being done, what you can do" with Atty General Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Bill Finch, and others. Housatonic Community College Event Center at Beacon Hall (2nd floor), 900 Lafayette Blvd, Bridgeport. Contact Dave Koch, -

Thurs April 23, 6-8pm: "Speaking of Green": Green Heat talk by John Ruhnke, president of JR's Comfortable Heat. He will discuss radiant floor heating and solar and geothermal heating. The Center for Green Building, 3380 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, 382-0774 -

Sat Apr 25, 12:30-5:30 PM: Earth Day Symposium: "Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream." By donation, Unitarian Universalist Society, 20 Forest St, Stamford. Contact Laura, 840-1979 - -

Sat Apr 25, 11-4: Green Earth Fair at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Ln, Westport, $5. 227-7253, -

Thurs Apr 30, 10-2: Green Fair: An Earth Day Celebration. Housatonic Community College, 900 Lafayette Blvd, Bridgeport. Contact, 332-5058 -

Thurs Apr 30, 12-1:30 PM: "Green Building & Land Use Regs: What You Need to Know." Soundwaters talk by Gregory S. Sampson, attorney specializing in land-use and environmental law. Robinson & Cole, 1055 Washington Blvd., Stamford. RSVP, 406-3335 -

Sat May 2, 12-4 PM: EcoChic Wedding & Home Show. Hotel Chesterfield, 1404 Shippan Ave, Stamford. $20 tickets. Contact:,
470-8020 -

Mon May 4, 5:30-7:30 PM: Union of Concerned Scientists president Kevin Knobloch talks about bringing current science to bear on shaping U.S. climate policies. Doubletree Hotel, 789 Connecticut Ave, Norwalk. RSVP at

Tues May 5, 6-8 PM: Town of Fairfield GreenDrinks at Beach Cafe, 1270 Post Rd, Fairfield. 536-4695 -

Wed May 6, 6-8 PM: Norwalk GreenDrinks at Pirate Restaurant, 7 Wall St, Norwalk. 227-2065

Sat May 9, 9:30-3: Fairfield’s Earth Day Celebration at Fairfield Warde High School. Contact: -

Sat May 16, 11-3: Norwalk-Wilton Tree Festival, Cranbury Park, Norwalk. 854-3200, info@ -

Thurs May 28, 2-9 PM: Sustainable Gardening Expo. Stamford Govt Center, 888 Washington Blvd, Stamford. A project of Sustainable Stamford, in cooperation with Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Mill River Collaborative, and Stamford Museum Nature & Center. Contact Erin McKenna, City of Stamford Land Use Bureau, 977-4715, -

Thursday, March 26, 2009

UFO Lands In Bridgeport

Austin W. Mather Theatre - Bridgeport, CT (Photo: Jon Nowinski)

The other day while sitting in the Aquarium, someone walked in looking for a friend. He worked on rigging the solar stage at the Gathering of the Vibes. He had a strange story to tell. It seems one year he had been invited to a mysterious sonic and robotic event inside a UFO-shaped building not far from Seaside Park, where the Vibes are held.

I know the University of Bridgeport campus well, having been there many times, to the WPKN radio station or the library. I remembered seeing an odd shaped building, always wondered what it was, never paid much attention, so this got me curious. I asked Jon Nowinski of SRGA to join me on a field trip to investigate.

This UFO-shaped protusion is annex to the Arnold Bernhard Center at 84 Iranistan Avenue, over looking Long Island Sound. It's part of the UB School of Arts and Sciences building. The art gallery inside is currently featuring a very interesting avant-garde international graphic design exhibition.
I inquired and discovered the Austin W. Mather theatre was built back in 1980... but "beleive it or not!" closed shortly after in 1981 when the City of Bridgeport passed an ordinance mandating all public buildings required two fire emergency exits. Yes, my friends... this amazing looking tourist roadside attraction, has been boarded up for 28 years!!! Isn't that nuts? They never built a second exit, they just left it the way it was, locked the doors and threw away the key.
Would seem to be a no brainer. Anyone who has ever seen a plane release its passengers from the rear, or your average b-sci-fi UFO flick, knows exactly where the ramp needs to go, right where I'm pointing in the above photo!

I started speculating wildly as to what may have caused this to happen. Back in the 70's Bridgeport was a Sikorsky company town! Their engineers would use the Bridgeport Public Library Science & Technology room where hundreds of industry trade journals and thousands of technical books made it one of the best engineering reference library in the North East.

The Connecticut Inventors Club met there once a month. I was a member. I attended often. The Science & Technology room was also home of the largest selection of UFO-related titles I'd ever laid my eyes on... rows and rows of UFO books, filled with photographs, much I had never seen before or seen since.

It made sense, Sikorsky didn't want to leave any rocks unturned. Old man Sikorsky wanted to build the best possible vertical take-off aircraft possible. So he had his people study everything, no matter how far fetched, for ideas and inspiration, from the flight of insects, to UFO flying pattern reports.

Sikorsky had originally been invited to set up shop in Connecticut by Howard Hughes himself, who brought him over from France, and became his first customer. Then the old visionary died, and United Technologies bought Sikorsky. I suppose in their grand wisdom, decided much of the material and topics on display at the "public" library may have been a little too sensitive for national security. So they took all their stuff back, closed down the Science & Technology room, in essence ripping the heart out of the community.

I suspect the Austin W. Mather Theatre may have fallen victim to the pull out by Sikorsky from its interaction with the City. This UFO-shaped building may have been built as a testament to avionics and aeronautics, a piercing arrow into a bold new future of flying ships. So what happened?

(Design: Mariko Mori/Photo: Geekologie)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Center for Green Building Speaking of Green Series

Center for Green Building Presents:

Speaking of Green

The Center for Green Building is proud to present our Spring 2009 Speaking of Green Series that will cover the many faces of the evolving environmental movement. Every Thursday evening, from 6pm-8pm, we will be hosting a free workshop, seminar, discussion or movie screening that will be accompanied by an industry professional guest speaker.

All are welcome!

March 12, 6-8pm
3380 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06605
(203) 382-0774

Our next Speaking of Green topic will be:

Solar Energy:
Presented by Carolyn Humphreys

Carolyn is a Photovoltaic System Designer at Sunlight Solar. She will be speaking about solar possibilities and the new leasing program. Carolyn has been speaking across the state to get the message about solar energy out to consumers as well as educate the general public about this wonderful opportunity for clean and green energy.

Some future issues that will be focused on are:

Wind Power, Public Transportation, Environmental Stewardship, Nutrition and much more. We look forward to seeing you at the Center for Green Building!

Please call our showroom or check our events page on our website for updates. Feel free to forward this to your friends.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Norwalk's Thinking Green Fri Feb 27 NCC

Think Green is coming to Norwalk, thanks to a program of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber's Leadership Institute held its graduation breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Dolce Norwalk Center, and it was announced that the 17 participants have put together Think Green, an event that will feature several exhibitors that will highlight conservation and environmental measures.

Think Green will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday Feb. 27 at Norwalk Community College.

The Leadership Institute, which began in 1981, is a Chamber program designed for Norwalk's new and up-and-coming business and community leaders. The nine-week program focuses on a variety of topics -- such as local government, economic development, media and education -- to help prepare the individuals for leaderships roles. Local prominent business people lead the weekly sessions.

The cornerstone of the institute is a project that the participants work on together. Historically, the end results of the projects have been reports given during the graduation event. Last year the Chamber changed the criteria of the projects to have tangible results at the end of the program.

This year all 17 participants worked on a single project, Think Green.

"We wanted them to focus on an activity that would be beneficial to businesses and the people of the city. We wanted an all-encompassing project," said Tony Izzo, site director at Northrop Grumman Norden Systems and chairman of the Leadership Institute. "All of the members played an active role and they did an outstanding job. It's a good project that will help everybody out. We gave them very little direction at the beginning."

Think Green will be free of charge and open to the public. The exhibitors, most of whom are already lined up, will be charged a small fee, which will be donated to a local school. The list of exhibitors include South Norwalk Electric and Water Co., Green Demolitions, Aitoro, iPark, and General Electric.

Brian Griffin, vice president of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, was impressed with this year's Leadership Institute participants.

"We gave them a vague description of what we wanted and they took it upon themselves to develop it and put it together," he said. "Even though they've graduated, they'll stay in touch and keep working on it until the expo. This (Think Green) is something we hope to continue doing every year or every other year."

This story is from The Hour, a Norwalk, CT, newspaper... Click to read the complete article on their website.

Nuke Sub Crash Raises Concerns

A recent collision between two nuclear submarines in the Atlantic Ocean has raised concerns among anti-nuclear organizations.

In the incident that took place earlier this month involved British and French submarines that were undergoing exercises. Neither sub suffered any heavy damage, and there was no loss in containment of the nuclear material on board.

The HMS Vanguard (see photo) is one of Britain's four nuclear powered subs. She was launched in 1994 and holds 16 nuclear-armed Trident missiles. The French's Le Triomphant was launched in 1997 and also carries 16 nuclear missiles.

This is not the first accident to involve nuclear submarines, and that safety record is a major concern for anti-nuclear activists. When the safety issues from the nuclear submarine service are coupled with those involving nuclear reactors, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. A disaster involving one of the land-based nuclear plants, or a sub-based platform, would be disastrous.

To date there are six nuclear submarines that have sunk in incidents. Two were American and four were Russian. There have been 14 incidents involving radiation issues from on board nuclear reactors. And, of course, that does not account for the instances that were not leaked or released to the public.

This is an issue of major concern here in Connecticut. First, we are home to General Electric, suppliers of nearly all nuclear weapons and power plants to the U.S. Navy. We also have the Electric Boat Company, which builds the latest nuclear subs for the Navy based in Groton, CT. And last, but not least, our nuclear safety concerns involve both the Indian Point and Millstone plants. A breakdown in any one of these would be catastrophic for those living nearby, and we are very much in Ground Zero.

Add your comments to the discussion at Another Oops -- British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Aquarium Starting to Take Shape

The Aquarium space for the Environmental Library Fund collection is starting to take shape. Each day more books are being moved from storage and put on the shelves. We're trying to keep regular business hours from noon to five, or by appointment. 10 Knight Street, Norwalk. Just call: 203-227-2065.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Going Green in New Canaan

Some of you may know Etta Kantor, who has been driving a waste-vegetable-oil (WVO) car for several years and giving demonstrations at schools. Now she is building a green home in New Canaan and aiming for a LEED Platinum rating. It uses solar panels and a wood-pellet stove, recycled building materials as well as Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber, and the grounds will be irrigated with captured rainwater and fertilized from composting toilets. She will plant fruit and nut trees, and she hopes to donate the surplus harvest to food banks.

Read more about the Kantors' home in the New Canaan News story "The Greenest House in Town."

In fact, this issue of the New Canaan News is dedicated to green initiatives. You can read about another local home where "Family Installs Geothermal Heat," a general survey about how "Some residents are embracing green homes," and the weekly editorial, "Going Green in New Canaan." There's also an announcement (not online) about Deirdre Imus, who will give a public talk on greening our schools at Greens Farms Academy in Westport on Wednesday, January 14, at 7 PM.