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Elisabeth Ponsot's Posts

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Restoring a community garden in the Sandy-torn Rockaways

Nestled along a residential stretch of Seagirt Boulevard in Far Rockaway, the Seagirt Boulevard Community Garden has been a green fixture in this Queens neighborhood for over two decades.

A photograph of the space from 2009 reveals row after row of neatly planted greens, herbs, and flowers -- some held up toward the sun by wooden stakes and twine. An American flag stands tall alongside the garden’s center path, lined with stone grey bricks.

Over the years, the abundance at Seagirt has included kitchen staples like kale and potatoes, along with more unusual offerings of cat mint and bayberry. One volunteer plants a peanut crop.

Yet after Superstorm Sandy rolled through New York last fall -- causing an estimated $19 billion in public and private losses in the city alone -- little remained of the garden aside from its still-standing flagpole and wooden shade structure.

A now-faded line on the garden’s outlying fence serves as a reminder of the storm surge, which rose to over four feet at Seagirt.

Left: The garden in full bloom in 2009. Right: Cleared out after Hurricane Sandy, January, 2013.
New York Restoration Project
Left: The garden in full bloom in 2009. Right: Cleared out after Hurricane Sandy, January, 2013.

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Will Germany banish fossil fuels before the U.S.?

What would it take to transform the whole country’s electric grid -- to shut down all of its old power plants, and move to a system that generates electricity exclusively from renewable resources? Well, that’s exactly what Germany’s trying to do -- not decades from now ... but now. Correspondent Rick Karr reports on how German political parties of every stripe are now backing a plan that is expected to nearly end that country’s use of fossil fuels by 2050.

Watch Germany's green revolution on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Below, Karr sits down with German environmental economist Claudia Kemfert, who heads the department of energy, transportation, and environment at the German Institute for Economic Research, to discuss Germany’s Energiewende:

Literally, the word Energiewende means “energy turn,” and it describes the country’s bold plan to shift from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Read more: Climate & Energy