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Food For Thought – Cities and Transportation Innovation

China - Bike Share


“If you want to change the culture, you will have to start by changing the organization.” Mary Douglas


Culture change is needed when we want to change behaviors in any aspect of life.  These change practices can be implemented on any scale from organizations to cities. I chose this quote by Mary Douglas today to help start this conversation because we need to understand that organizational change happens on all scales and levels.  Cities as organizations are made up of layers and different systems working together.  Comprehending how these multi faceted systems work together is the first step to make change possible.  Also understanding that for proper change to occur strategic policy or initiatives need to be implemented to the existing systems.


Last week I attended the “TransTrans Summit: Cities and Transportation Innovation” in NYC hosted by NYIT.  The hot topics of the summit were Electric Cars, moving more transportation to our waterways and innovative design companies concentrating on transportation.  I was impressed with the company Sobi Social Bicycle’s product, where the bike uses modern technology and mobile apps to run this bike share concept.  The person rents the bike trough their mobile device by receiving a code to unlock the bike and then when they are done locks it.  Anyone wanting to rent a bike would check via app or computer to find where  the bikes are via GPS system. The ideas of bike riding is being pushed in cities but if bike lanes are not part of the city traffic system, if bike parking and locking areas are not built into the design of these cities, mindset and culture change will not occur with the individuals that inhabit that city.


These innovative concepts and technologies are happening on all levels but they will not survive or be used on large scales if the proper infrastructure is not developed.  Lets look into the electric car.  The summit talked about BMW and other car manufacturers are developing on this technology to make them affordable.  There is even a company that would retrofit your current car to be electric.  These are great moves for carbon reduction but who will buy these cars if there aren’t any charging stations in our cities and urban environments.  Needing to put charging stations on high ways and other area’s to create a feeling of safety for drives that they would not be stranded.  In this conversation I think of the quote from the movie Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” works best. Collaboration and team work between private business, government and non-profits is needed to make these developments a reality.  It is in our human nature to want to do the right thing, if people see that there is infrastructure in place for them to purchase or utilize these new innovations then they would.  It is time to see the big picture, connect the dots and work together as team to make these changes possible.


Green For Queens – Earth Day Fair Sunday May 6th – Free for all

Come and join me at the Central Queens Y’s 3rd Annual Green For Queens Earth Day Fair in Forest Hills on Sunday May 6th from 1pm to 4pm.  I will be there all day to talk about our environment, what we can do and educating our community on the subject.  It is a free event for the whole family. They have:


• Bash the Trash Environmental Arts
Build your own instruments from recycled materials
& “jam” with musicians!
• Snakes, Lizards, Worms & other Wild Creatures
• Cooking for kids, eco-crafts & edible ecosystems
• Vegan chefs show you how to cook healthy & green!
• Save energy & money! Sign up for a FREE energy audit or wind power.Bring one year of gas & electric bills.
• Learn about organic food coops, bike paths & community gardens.

Check out their website CQY or this EarthDayPoster for more info.  If you can make it, come and see me in the Adult section with the Green Vendors and Exhibits.

Earth Day Event – The First NYC Green Festival – April 21, 22nd Weekend


If you do not have plans for Earth Day this weekend, go and check out the first NYC Green Festival.  They are also offering a grant for a local organization that the community can vote for to help them develop green initiatives, if your there cast your vote.

“New York Green Festival will offer not only an incredible sense of community but also the largest, most diverse and most trusted place for learning, shopping and having fun. New York Green Festival will feature an organic, vegetarian and vegan food court; an environmental film installation presented by the Sierra Club; an everyday eco-fashion show; hands-on DIY workshops; live music; an organic beer and wine garden; and, an incredible Green Marketplace featuring products and services from local, regional and national green and sustainable businesses and organizations.” To read more and find out about speakers and other events check out the link Green Festival NYC

Happy Earth Day Weekend Everyone.


The Power Of One – What your Company Can Do!

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”
― Albert Einstein


To follow up with our video “the power of one..” that talks about our buying power and how our choices have a voice, I want to talk about how companies can do the same and have bigger impacts on change.

As the quote by Albert Einstein says we need to start thinking differently for change to happen. As company owners and leaders we can move the manufacturing and services industry in the right direction by what we tell them we will buy and not buy.  The sustainability trend is developing and we need to help push the movement.   Buying from companies that are trying to see how they can change and help their community change is the first step.  Any organization trying to do this will have to first say “We want to be the leaders for change…”  If the company leaders do not have that initial drive any efforts done by the employees will not be successful in the long run.  But that is not to say a single employee cannot make a change.  They will have to bring their ideas to management and show them the benefits on all levels.  Here are some steps that can be taken by all companies:

* Analyze what products are purchased by your company – that would include paper / parts for your products, services and anything that comes into the company

* Look at where you are buying these items from and look at these companies profile – If you developed relationships with these companies then tell them about your new policies and see if they are willing to make a change themselves or you will have to find another company to purchase from.

* Look into companies in your area that sell what you need  – by supporting local industry, you would helping your community and the economy in your area – If you think their product is more expensive, talk with them to see how you can work out a deal to be able to work together.

* Develop a policy that would work for your organization initially and see how you can improve on it over time

* Let your employees know that this is a new policy and educate them in what you are trying to achieve – Have the employees feel like they are part of the process and have them give suggestions on companies they think are sustainable in your field

It is amazing if we take a second to see how everything around us is products and services.  Our built environment is made up of all these single elements and it is in our power to bring on change to our individual environment.  These choices that we make everyday give power to all other businesses to survive. What we buy, who we buy from and where we buy it from, will not only help our environment but local communities and our own economy.  Understanding that all these elements are connected will start us to rethink how we do things and the power we have to make change happen.  Be a leader and use your choices wisely.