Fifty shades of green
The Brooklyn Navy Yard (TBNY), once renowned as a mainstay of American military shipbuilding, fell into disuse and disrepair in the years after World War II, and soon became notorious as one of the worst toxic industrial sites in America. Enter biotech entrepreneur Anselm Doering, president and CEO of EcoLogic Solutions, with his idea of producing a nontoxic commercial sanitizer by the electrical charging of seawater. When ionized, seawater is converted into a cleaning agent and sanitizer that destroys pathogenic bacteria, fungi and molds, but is nontoxic to people and animals. Doering’s first production plant was located in a basement at TBNY. Its subterranean location and the original water pipes running through it maintain a comfortable year-round room temperature, eliminating the need for central heating and cooling systems. As his business prospered and grew, Doering began greening additional space at TBNY, including the creation of organic rooftop gardens. Today, TBNY is a shining example of green technology housed in green buildings producing green crops at a green tourism destination.
Closer to home, The Catskill Art Society, the Pocono Environmental Education Center, and Amy’s Take-Away Restaurant all boast of converting abandoned buildings into green tourist attractions. What was once a cinema on Main Street in Livingston Manor is now an art gallery and exhibition/lecture space. Honeymoon Haven Hotel in Dingmans Ferry has become the Pocono Environmental Education Center, hosting interactive biology education exhibits for schoolchildren and tourists of all ages. And the former H.G. Lane General Store in Lanesville has been resurrected as Amy’s Take-Away Restaurant, a New Age restaurant catering to locals and tourists alike.
Erin Burch, outreach coordinator of Catskill Mountainkeeper, introduced the outdoor activities workshop, where speakers from Trailkeeper.org and Delaware & Ulster Railroad demonstrated how digital media has made green recreational activities safer, more accessible and more user-friendly. The same speakers explained how light-impact activities can make a big impact on the local economy through the use of downloadable interactive maps that depict proximity of tourist attractions and facilities to public lands, trailheads and one another.