Plenty TV

Vijay Vaitheeswaran

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, energy reporter for The Economist, is fast becoming one of the faces of the climate change conversation and new energy technology. He recently appeared in Leonardo DiCaprio's new documentary, The 11th Hour, and, with colleague Iain Carson, Economist industry editor, has just co-authored ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future.

You may be surprised to learn that after years of engineering training at MIT and energy reporting, Vaitheeswaran doesn't want you to give up your car. He's not in the business of trying to make America fall out of love with the automobile, and believes that a world without cars would be "a dim, joyless place with much-diminished freedom, mobility, and prosperity." ZOOM is a comprehensive look at the auto and oil industries' destructive marriage, and the book insists that cars are the solution, not the problem.

Plenty stopped by The Economist's New York offices to talk to Vaitheeswaran about the "parable of the prius," a gasoline tax that won't deplete Americans' wallets, and what cars of the future might look like.

Part II of the Interview

Queens Botanical Garden

A tree grows in Brooklyn, but a $22 million, LEED Platinum-certified building grows in Queens. Booya. The first platinum-certified building in New York City, Queens Botanical Gardens' new Visitor & Administration Center was completed earlier this year. Plenty tagged along to watch New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the ribbon, and take a tour of the eco palace. The new center has it all: gorgeous green roof, parking garden, showers in the bathrooms (so you can bike to work), intricate rainwater-harvest system, composting toilets, waterless urinals, gray-water system, solar panels, and so much more. It's official - Queens is going green.


PlentyTV interviews Tom Szaky, co-founder of TerraCycle, the leading maker of organic plant food.

Birdbath: Neighborhood Green Bakery

In 1990, master chef and eco-entrepreneur Maury Rubin decided to build a bakery with a green conscience, a bakery that would not only use natural, organic, and locally sourced ingredients, but one that would be built green as well—from floors made of wine corks to walls made of sunflower seed husks to tables are made of recycled blue jeans to VOC-free, milk-based paints. City Bakery, in Manhattan, became so wildly popular that Maury has since opened a branch in LA, and two more bakeries (‘Birdbaths’ as he calls them) in Manhattan. Maury’s been described as having a “Willy Wonka gleam” in his eye, and is known for his seasonal menus, Paris-inspired tarts, and famous pretzel croissant. About ten years ago, he put the ‘hot’ back in hot chocolate (starting the trend that would soon hit menus at ‘it’ restaurants all over New York) with an elixir so rich it almost won’t be sipped, and now loyal followers make the trek each year to his Hot Chocolate Festival.

PlentyTV went to visit Maury at his newest Manhattan branch, which raised the curtain just a few weeks ago at 145 7th Avenue and Charles Street, to ask him what it means to build a green bakery.


Issue 25

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