Yoga Journal Blog: Samadhi & the City

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New York: A Guide to a Greener Apple

greenopia.jpgAs New Yorkers, we already have a naturally smaller environmental footprint than, say, people almost anywhere else. We live bunched on top of each other, we take public transportation, we have smaller spaces to heat and cool, our residential recycling program is decent, etc.

Well, if you've been looking to step it up a notch, check out the new guidebook, Greenopia New York City--tagline: "Eat, Shop, Live Green." I picked up the plump Zagat's style book at Whole Foods Body the other day, and I'm impressed. There are ratings of eco dry-cleaners, spas, restaurants, retailers, grocers, architects, pet stuff, and more. Most of the categories have a "leaf" rating based on how well a particular place meets the rather scrupulous green criteria for each section.

I don't know about you, but this is the kind of information I obsess over and am so glad to have some help with. For example, ABC Carpet & Home's skin care section gets 4 leaves and the Body Shop gets 1 leaf. Having read the labels at both places, that makes sense to me. There's also info on Farmer's Markets and CSA's; green day trips, and a chart for choosing seasonal, local produce.

The book is printed on glossy recycled paper with organic soy ink, of course. There's not much in the way of yoga, but it does include things like Jivamukti's cafe and shop, Lululemon, Integral Yoga's Apothecary, and the Brooklyn-based Omala yoga clothing store. In the next edition, I'd love to see eco ratings for studios.

To go totally tree-free, check out (there are also guides to L.A. and S.F.). The site is filled with lots more content and other ways to treat the planet, the city, and your body just a little more kindly.


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As a regular Jivamukti student, I am very happy to hear that Jivamukti is mentioned. It is a relief to go into the cafe and not have to fuss about if something on the menu is vegan or not, gmo or not, organic or not... just order any wonderful thing on the menu... you can't go wrong! All the "to go" containers are eco-friendly, and the baked goods.... ooolala! Try the chocolate chip cookies and the brownies!

I think you should mention that NYC ships it's garbage out of state to places like Virginia (where I live) and South Carolina. The residents also have the East river as an environmental challenge to improve and last time I checked every time it rains the waters surrounding the city get polluted from lots and lots of dog and cat waste. So don't pat yourselves on the back yet, you have a long way to go even if your "environmental footprint" can be spun as being "small"

Guys, your consideration of this topic is honorable if not necessary considering how quickly the global climate is changing - to our detriment. Sustainability is a topic that all yogis should be concerned with as part of our commitment to the yamas and niyamas and in particular ahimsa (non-harming), asteya (not stealing the earth from our children).

But please please please get your facts straight if you are going to highlight such a serious problem. NYers, as for all of us in the wealthy western world, likely do have a huge carbon footprint. You guys heat your apartments in the long, cool winter months. You light them too. And at the moment this heat and light is most likely most generated from non-renewable energy sources. I daresay you also like to travel, quite a lot. You also consume a lot, and I daresay much of this trash associated with this consumption goes into landfill is non-biodegradable. And let's not get into the impact of manufacturing practices.

The opening glibness in this article does not match the heartfelt intention behind it. We owe our earth - and all that walks on it now and in the future - to be truely well informed.

The sustainability mantra = don't use, re-use and (as a last option) recycle.

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