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Posts By: Les Judd

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Catskill Animal Sanctuary by Devon Braunstein

November 28, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

It was one week before Labor Day weekend 2015 and my family and I had a last minute idea to take an end-of-summer trip. Not looking to take a flight nor leave behind our beloved Newfoundland mix, Oliver, we decided upon a quaint looking homestead in the Hudson Valley. Entranced by the rolling green farmlands and animal-friendly hosts, we booked it on the spot. To our pleasant surprise, we realized that the homestead was located at the top of a 110-acre sanctuary for rescued farm animals, called Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS).

Staying at CAS was particularly fitting, as my parents and I have been vegetarians since I was a young child. The combination of my love for animals and my mom’s realizations about climate change motivated us as a family to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle just as tofu began to hit the shelves of mainstream grocery stores. As proud animal lovers, veganism crossed our minds, but it always seemed too far-fetched to remove eggs, yogurt, and cheese from our diets.

Fast forward back to Labor Day weekend where CAS changed our way of life for good.

The homestead, supporting the mission of the sanctuary, is kept fully vegan. This means that no animal food products are allowed on the property. CAS encourages a plant-based diet by providing guests with a (delicious) vegan breakfast each morning.

Inspired by CAS’s values, my family decided to use our three days away as an opportunity to experiment. Why not take the no animal products rule one step further and follow a vegan diet the whole trip?

In addition to hiking the Hudson Valley with Oliver and challenging ourselves to stay away from eggs and dairy, we toured the sanctuary, met the resident animals of the farm, and learned about the realities of factory farming in an informative, yet non-intrusive manner. Spending the weekend with the animals as we listened to their rescue stories was enough for my family and I to commit to at least trying to bring our new vegan habits home.

And try we did. One week, then one month, then one year passed. Being vegan is now built into my lifestyle and identity, and I’m proud to reflect my values through my every day actions.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary rescues farmed animals and champions veganism. CAS is located two hours north of New York City in Saugerties, New York. To learn more, visit https://casanctuary.org
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Before the Flood – A Movie Review by Devon Braunstein

November 1, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Most of us know Leonardo DiCaprio as the lovable Jack Dawson, reckless Jordan Belfort, or legendary explorer Hugh Glass.  But over his career, Leo has made another, albeit lesser known, name for himself: a champion for environmental change.

In 2014, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed DiCaprio as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change.  Ban cited DiCaprio’s credibility in the environmental movement and highlighted his “considerable platform to amplify its message.”  Through this platform, Leo uses his celebrity to share an urgent message with the world about the state of our planet in the new movie Before the Flood.

Before the Flood follows Leo as he explores the impact of climate change on communities and ecosystems around the world.  Through the lens of Leo’s own journey to understand the science, politics, and social movements surrounding global warming, the film provides a climate change crash course to its viewers. During his travels, DiCaprio sits down with influential players such as President Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk.  He witnesses Greenland’s melting ice caps and Indonesia’s dwindling forests, and learns about the carbon tax, Paris accords, and energy storage technology.

While meeting with DiCaprio in India, Dr. Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment, shares an alarming statistic: approximately 300 million people in India live without power — and electricity consumed by one American at home is equivalent to that consumed by 34 citizens of India. Narain and DiCaprio’s conversation highlighted that the politics and corporate influence on climate change is just one layer of the problem, and a culture of mass consumption may be at the core of it. Narain looks to the United States to invest in solutions that can be leveraged by developing nations who may not have the luxury in choosing how they produce energy.
Overall, Before the Flood provides an informative overview of the challenges nations and communities face as a result of climate change — shrinking shorelines, conflict over water access, flooding in coastal cities…the list doesn’t stop there. DiCaprio’s message is effective as he approaches the issues from a very human angle. Despite his own doubts about his ability to make a difference, he charges forward in his mission, providing viewers with the opportunity to make themselves aware of key climate issues and stand on the right side of change.

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Why is it so Important to Live, Work and Eat Green? By Tracy Mitchell

August 18, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Why is it so important to live, work, and eat green???  I need only point to the Flint Michigan water crisis for one of my many motivations and inspirations to work, live, and eat green.  On March 5, 2016, A federal state of emergency was imposed in Flint Michigan due to widespread lead contamination in the Flint water supply.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Center Of Disease Control, lead can be particularly harmful to children’s health and can affect physical or mental development.

In April 2014, Flint Michigan began using the Flint River for its water supply as a cost saving measure.  But, what are the long term ecological and economical costs of choosing a more heavily polluted water source while utilizing an antiquated and eroding filtration system and aging and faltering infrastructure?

Thousands of Flint Michigan residents (most of them poor) are being forced to purchase bottled water to avoid contaminated water and they are also very concerned about the amount of lead poisoning and mental damages already suffered by their children.

Due to this crisis, Flint Michigan residents’ homes cannot be sold since they are now worth nothing, Legionnaires Disease has increased ten fold, crime and murder in Flint Michigan has increased significantly, the poor have become poorer and the rich have become richer with government imposed program cuts and higher bracket tax breaks, and most of the residents of Flint Michigan are wondering if they or their children will even have a future.

Why is it so important to live, work, and eat green???

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Exciting Things Happening at Green City Challenge!

June 1, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

During the past month or two, Green City Challenge has been very busy!

On Thursday, April 21 we participated in an Earth Day celebration at Baruch College.  Erik Nevala-Lee and Les Judd presented three of our iconic, fun and interactive games.  They were Recycle It, What’s the Watts, and Build it Green.  Students enjoyed playing the games and learning about waste prevention, energy conservation and green building.  Green City Challenge co-hosted the event with the Baruch College Eco-Club, the Student Life Organization, and other student organizations.  Green City Challenge sold raffle tickets and awarded several raffle prizes including a free bike rental from Central Park Bike Tours, free admission to Wave Hill, a discount coupon for Green Apple Cleaners, and other items.

On Sunday, April 24 Green City Challenge co-hosted a screening of the new film Love Thy Nature at the Village Cinema on East 12th Street.  We met the Director Sylvie Rokab and saw a very moving and inspirational film!

Les Judd and his wife Pamela attended the International Young Environmentalist Youth Summit on Saturday, May 14 at the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers sponsored by Greening Forward.  We met students, parents and teachers from Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as from New York.  It was very exciting to meet young environmental leaders who are taking the environmental movement into the future with new and innovative ideas and energy.

What’s next for Green City Challenge?

Mark your calendars for our annual fundraiser on Wednesday, September 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Raymour & Flanigan, 1961 Broadway at West 66th Street.  We will have good food, raffle prizes, and lots of fun!

The tentative date for Eco-Carnival 2016 is Sunday, October 16 at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden in the East Village.  Plan to bring your family and friends and enjoy playing our fun and interactive games that teach New Yorkers about sustainability.  We are hoping to have the New York Mandolin Ensemble play a concert in the garden on the same day to provide beautiful music for us!

We are always looking for energetic and enthusiastic volunteers to help us make Green City Challenge the best it can be.  If you are interested in volunteering for Green City Challenge, please send your resume to Les@greencitychallenge.org or call 718-530-5074.

If you would like to make a donation to Green City Challenge, please go to our website at www.greencitychallenge.org and click on the donate button or just send a check made payable to Green City Challenge and send it to us at 474 West 238th Street, #6i, Bronx, NY 10463.

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Love Thy Nature

March 15, 2016 | Posted in Events, Uncategorized | By

On Sunday, April 24 at 1 pm Green City Challenge will co-host a screening of Love Thy Nature at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street in Manhattan.  Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature is a cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world.  With mesmerizing artistry and fascinating details, the film explores how nature nourishes us.  Love Thy Nature shows us that a new era of connectedness with the natural world is key to ensuring our species’ future.  Avi Offer of Rotten Tomatoes said this of the film: “Breathtaking…Enthralling!  It will replenish your hope in mankind and nature.  A must see for everyone, young and old!”

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children.  Green City Challenge is co-hosting the screening of Love Thy Nature to help raise funds for our organization.  Please buy your tickets today!  Here is the link:


For more information, go to www.lovethynature.com

We hope to see you there on Sunday, April 24!

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