Author Archives: Amanda Lederman

Posts by Amanda Lederman

photoFor this assignment I tried to envision the future of solar panel technology and how it will be further improved. Instead of having several panels installed outside, all surfaces in your house would be able to absorb energy from the sun and this way no solar panels would be needed at all. For example, I drew a phone whose battery is being charged just by placing it on the table. Similarly, the lamp is able to turn on because it is sitting on the floor, which is emitting electricity as well. In the drawing, I tried to illustrate the energy from the sun using the green lines.

The Future of Local Produce and Urban Farms in NYC

Group #4: Amanda Lederman, Jennifer Mukofsky,Jonathan Park, Phoebe Lau, Sunny Xu, Yamel Favela

Abstract: In today’s day and age, New York City faces a variety of issues relating to food: Who has access to food? Is it healthy? Affordable? Recyclable? Who produces it? Furthermore, we will also explore the newest innovations relating to food production and distribution around New York. Accordingly, we will examine the cost and benefits to these new practices, why they are crucial to New York’s sustainability, whether they are really more efficient, and if they effectively contribute to the decrease in New York’s carbon footprint; moreover, we will consider if these practices worth implementing on a large scale. Our focus for this project will be primarily on the “hyper-local,” or locally produced food in New York. We plan to research and investigate the advantages of hyper-local food production and distribution by visiting some of New York’s Greenmarkets, food vendors and urban farms.


Group 4 – IDC Midterm Report

Download (PDF, 9.61MB)

Waste-To-Energy: What Works and What Doesn’t

The article titled, “Incinerators vs. Zero Waste” points out how waste companies in the incinerator and landfill industries have been gaining access to certain subsidies by “greenwashing’ [their methods of] waste disposal “as a source of clean and renewable energy around the globe.” Yet in reality, these methods of waste management can release more greenhouse gases – like CO2 and methane – into the atmosphere than powerplant.

At the same time, Matthew Wald’s article highlighted several companies who have received federal incentives in order to further develop and commercialize their methods of producing alternative fuels from agricultural and wood waste. The article argues that commercial production of these alternative biofuels could be “a major milestone in renewable energy.” Furthermore, energy experts maintain that, “eventually renewable motor fuel could have a much bigger impact on the United States economy than renewable electricity from wind farms or solar cells.”

With that being said, there have been many other breakthroughs in alternative methods of waste management – Does this method sound more or less promising and do you think that the commercialization of this process will finally break the “long string of overly optimistic promises made by the industry and government?”

Another thought: this method of producing alternative biofuels seems like it is currently limited to wood waste. In that case, do these companies deserve more government support and financial incentives? Or should the government also focus on other problems, like putting a stop to incinerating and landfilling organic waste?

The Future of Food – Group 4

Our video will explore many of the different ways food has impacted and will impact the future of New York City. Some of the key topics we will cover include hunger, distribution, consumption and waste.



IDC 4001H                                                                                                             February 4, 2014

Group 4                                                                                                               Professor Macbride

Yamel de Favela, Amanda Lederman
Jen Mukofsky, Jonathan Park, Sunny Xu

            Video Proposal: The Future of New York City Food

            For the final video project, our group will be focusing in on what we call “the future of food.” Our video will cover many different aspects, issues and solutions having to do with food in New York City. Some of the main topics we plan to explore include hunger and health, food distribution and food consumption. We will also be exploring the food economy of New York, and current and upcoming initiatives such as urban farming and perhaps how it relates to local agriculture and produce. Finally, we will research food waste, the issues pertaining to food waste management and how the future may impact food waste.

The entire video will be like a documentary, ranging 10-15 minutes. Each of the subtopics will last for a couple of minutes. In terms of data and information, we plan on using the class readings, as well as research from the library and online. Another important source of information will come from interviews. We plan on interviewing and speaking to a variety of different people including those who work in restaurants, groceries and perhaps soup kitchens as well. We also hope to speak to those who are professionally involved in New York City politics and perhaps is involved or interested in the future of food. We also plan on interviewing the general public of New York in order to gain a better sense of the public’s perception and opinion on the future of food.

We will also explore different restaurants and markets around the city and interview the owners and employees about the process of obtaining food, distribution of waste, etcetera. We will make this happen by initially email, phone calls, or asking them in person. We will also pay attention to the difference in approach and attitudes between small food shops and larger food franchises in terms of food distribution and waste in particular

Like any other project, this video will require everyone to be on board. Sunny and Jon have experience in video editing, so they will be in charge of editing and shooting the video. Yemel and Jennafer will be in charge of setting up and conducting these interviews. Amanda will be in charge of recording information and analyzing and organizing the data that we gathered. If one member does not put in much effort, we will confront them. If that fails, we will seek for the Professor’s intervention.

First of all, we will need to research the restaurants, markets, and other locations that we would like to research. This should be accomplished within the next month. In addition to that, we need to collect what data we need and what kind of questions we are looking to ask. Second, we will have to find the contact information and opening times of these locations. Third, we will contact these places and look for people that we could interview. Fourth, we will interview the people we contacted and record at these locations. Hopefully by mid-April, we will have all of our primary research, data and interviews completed. Lastly, we will compile the data and video.

The concrete evidence would be having the class readings, interview questions, location information, research data, and some footage. This report will be structured by having the data and information in a document, and the video footage on a USB drive.

Comments by Amanda Lederman

"Although PlaNYC's outline, which is organized into 17 different initiatives, is detailed and well thought out, after reading through Smil's article "The Long Slow Rise of Solar and Wind" I felt more skeptical; it seems that the reality is that these environmental and "green" goals are far-reaching and will likely not be fully achieved, at least in the next couple of years. While these initiatives address the many different aspects necessary to become a "greener and greater" city, they also give rise to many fundamental obstacles such as lack of coordination, organization and regulation among the different parties involved; furthermore, PlaNYC highlights the fact that a great deal of funding and private investments are also necessary in order for all of these plans to work out. Another problem with the policy goals set by PlaNYC is that they are somewhat unrealistic. For example, in "Initiative 4" it says that "we will aim to achieve 90% energy code compliance by 2017 through stringent enforcement and by providing energy code trading for designers." Even though the initiative does outline some methods of achieving this goal, such as the introduction of a "Green Building Report Card," it is hard to believe that in three short years we will achieve a 90% rate of code compliance; accordingly, I believe it would be more practical to set a number of smaller, more attainable goals rather than inflating these numbers to make ourselves feel and sound better than we actually are. In terms of the "disruptive technology or a revolutionary policy [that] could speed up change," as noted in Smil's article, I did find some of the initiatives were innovative and forward-thinking. "Initiative 9" discusses a fundamental problem within the city, which is the lack of educational programs related to energy efficiency engineering. By partnering with universities in the area to develop a curriculum and major regarding energy efficiency engineering and other related sciences, we will be able to train the next generations of New Yorkers to become experts in the field. This opportunity could lead to better research programs and studies related to the causes, effects and possible solutions to environmental issues in New York City. Although initiatives like this one require a great deal of funding and planning as well, I think that with enough support some of these goals can be more readily achieved."
--( posted on Feb 24, 2014, commenting on the post )
"I think that one of the main ideas the author is trying to point out, in "The Long Slow Rise Of Solar And Wind,” is that solar and wind energy facilities will never be enough to satisfy and support America's energy demand if we don't take serious measures to try and reduce, or at least slow down, our rapidly increasing rate of demand. It seems that the author is arguing, first and foremost, that all countries should begin by working on their energy consumption levels, especially since the author points out, "recent studies have shown that there are no insurmountable technical problems to reducing energy use by a third..." The other key problem which may further prolong and complicate our transition to renewable energy is the fact that it involves a "fundamental reshaping of our modern energy infrastructure." The author stresses how economically and financially difficult this adoption of renewable energy will be for many countries who have made tremendous investments in fossil-fuel systems across the globe. The way I see it, the real challenge boils down to finding a way to encourage countries to reconsider these investments and view them as short-term solutions to a problem, which should eventually be replaced by renewable energy which provides a long-term solution."
--( posted on Feb 23, 2014, commenting on the post Too Little Too Late? )