Environmental issues center of North Shore Action meeting

Janelle Clausen
Rabbi Tara Feldman helped lead a roundtable discussion on environmental issues on Wednesday night. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Rabbi Tara Feldman helped lead a roundtable discussion on environmental issues on Wednesday night. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

For Adina Feldman, a teenager from Temple Beth-El, flanked by fellow students Rachel Sutin and Sam Friedmann, taking on climate change is the issue of her time.

But it’s not just for herself and her peers – it would be for the next generation, she said.

“A big part of the reason I’ve become an environmental activist is for my children,” Feldman said. “I don’t want to have them ask me, ‘Why didn’t I do anything’ or what snow is. And this is why the three of us are here: because we’re the last generation to turn climate change around. It’s now or never.”

Feldman and the two other students were among a group of more than a dozen people at an environmental action meeting hosted by North Shore Action at the Great Neck House on a cold Wednesday night.

Rabbi Tara Feldman, who headed up the event, described the one-hour meeting as a starting point in taking action on a variety of environmental issues like water pollution, recycling and climate change.

“We’re small and mighty tonight,” Feldman said.

For Dr. Adam Schneider, a Lake Success resident and neurologist, groundwater contamination – particularly a groundwater plume originating from 1111 Marcus Ave. – has not received enough attention, particularly compared with the so-called “Bethpage plume.”

Schneider was referring to a problem that began in Lake Success when Sperry, a defense contractor, dumped degreasers and industrial solvents into underground chambers. This in turn leaked carcinogenic chemicals into the groundwater, contaminating a 900-acre area known as a plume.

Eventually, in 1996, Lockheed Martin took over the property when it bought another defense contracting company. While Lockheed ceased operation there in 1998 and sold the property in 2000, the Department of Environmental Conservation tasked the company with cleaning it up.

“I don’t know that the community is as aware of what’s going on here,” Schneider said. “I think we need to get a little more pressure in getting this remediated better than it probably is at the present time.”

Laura Weinberg, the president of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition, also raised the issue of 1,4-dioxane, a chemical used in solvents, which she suggests, has infiltrated water wells.

At least 10 Nassau County water providers are suing three chemical manufacturers over the issue.

Attendees also discussed the importance of recycling, suggesting investigations into whether or not villages are doing it and possibly “some kind of penalty” if it isn’t being done.

Marla Peck and Anne Mayer, a former safety certification engineer, representing Citizens for 5G Awareness, a group opposed to fifth-generation wireless broadband technology, described the implementation of small antennas as “the most pressing issue of our time.”

They cited health concerns about increased levels of modulated radiofrequency microwave radiation, or RF microwave radiation, emitting from the technology. Among the issues, they said, would be an increased risk of cancer.

The discussion comes as several municipalities around the North Shore, including nearby Lake Success, wrangle with the installation of the antennas.

Representatives from companies like ExteNet have described them as a means of improving internet speed and data capacity, while some people have expressed worry the technology could negatively property values, health and aesthetics.

Attendees also discussed the state’s proposed Green New Deal, which aims to make New York State carbon neutral and use 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, tree planting, the “concrete” but “symbolic” idea of a plastic bag ban and North Hempstead’s summertime gas-powered leaf blower ban.

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