NY Fracking Ban, People's Climate March and Recycling Center Celebrated at Awards Event
Earth Day New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) presented their annual awards at a ceremony yesterday on Earth Day, honoring New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, organizers of the People’s Climate March and Sims Recycling official Tom Outerbridge.
“Each year, we recognize individuals in government, business and the activist community for their stellar contributions to environmental health and safety, sustainability and education,” says Pamela Lippe, founder and president of Earth Day New York.
The Public Official of the Year Award was presented to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in recognition of his administration’s bold decision to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in New York State. At a cabinet meeting in December, the state’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, revealed the results of a two-year review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which showed significant public health risks, including water and air quality concerns, and that additional health questions remain. At that same cabinet meeting, the state’s environmental commissioner, Joe Martens, reported that there were also significant environmental impacts that could result from advancing this controversial drilling practice. Armed with this information, Gov. Cuomo announced that fracking would not be moving forward anywhere in New York State.
“Governor Cuomo’s decision on fracking puts New York in a position to be a leader on clean energy and has helped to draw attention to a health and environmental threat facing communities across the country and around the world,” says Eric A. Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “For taking this bold action in the face of industry pressure, the Cuomo administration deserves great credit.”
Actor and long-time advocate Mark Ruffalo said, “I congratulate Governor Cuomo for directing his Health and Environmental Commissioners to study the science on fracking, to meet with officials in other states, and for granting them the time for due diligence. He stood by his promise to listen to the experts and not get pressured by the special interests of the oil and gas industry. Governor Cuomo’s bold leadership put New Yorkers first.”
The Environmental Advocate of the Year Award was presented to the organizers of the People’s Climate March, for organizing and successfully implementing the enormously successful march in support of governmental action to combat climate change. As is now well known, on Sept. 20, 2014, a huge and diverse crowd estimated as high as 400,000 people turned out in New York City, marching through the streets of mid-town Manhattan to demand that world leaders act to reduce carbon emissions. There were an estimated 50,000 college students in the New York march and more than 1,500 participating organizations. The march itself went off without a hitch. It was well-organized, well-run and occurred without violence, arrests or visible dissention. Many organizations had a role in planning and in boosting turnout for the March. Among those participating in the effort were 350.0rg, Avaaz.org, 32BJ SEIU, ALIGN, and the People’s Climate March staff, as well as the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, UPROSE and We Act for Environmental Justice.
The march has already had a positive impact—giving momentum to climate initiatives being advanced by President Obama and creating a positive atmosphere for the upcoming international climate conference in Paris.
“The People’s Climate March was truly inspiring,” says John Oppermann, executive director of Earth Day New York.
“The March in many ways parallels the first Earth Day when a perfect storm of activists, public officials, business leaders, community organizers and others came together to demonstrate that it was time for real action on the environment. We believe that the People’s Climate March will be a similar turning point in our efforts to take action on climate change."
The Business Leader of the Year Award was presented to Tom Outerbridge, managing director of the Sims Recycling Facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for an Environmental Business Leadership award, in recognition of the successful opening and operation of that state-of-the-art recycling center and for the recent completion of the city’s largest commercial wind turbine at the recycling facility. This facility is the anchor of New York City’s curbside recycling program, and handles all of the metals, glass and plastics collected by the City’s Department of Sanitation for recycling.
In December 2014, Outerbridge oversaw the installation, at the facility, of the first commercial-scale wind turbine in New York City. The turbine, which is more than 160 feet high, is now generating about 3 to 4 percent of the energy used by recycling plant itself. Combined with its solar power array—which Outerbridge also played a big role in bringing to fruition—the facility will be meeting about 20 percent of its power needs through on-site clean energy.
“Tom is a visionary business leader who understands that sustainability is good for the planet and good for the bottom line. We hope Tom’s work becomes a model and that others will follow him by investing in clean power for their business operations,” said NRDC’s Eric A. Goldstein.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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