January - The Climate Smart Task Force applied for Climate Smart Communities recertification for the town by New York State at the Btonze level. Saugerties is the first town in Ulster County to be certified Bronze.
February - Here's an article from the New York Times that talks ablout what the average person can do about climate change.
Climate Change What Can I Do? This is one of the most common and vexing questions: Can one person’s actions really make a difference? The problem is so big that the fix has to come from powerful nations and policymakers, right?
First of all, it’s impossible to separate the two things: Personal actions and international cooperation are inextricably linked. The answer also depends on whose actions we’re talking about.
The actions of a middle-class American matter a lot more than the actions of, say, a farmer in Bangladesh. Why? Because people in wealthy countries consume much more than people in poor countries, and so their choices matter more to global emissions.
What can individuals do? Here’s a detailed guide. A few examples:
∙ Transit: What car a person buys — or whether a person even owns a car — matters tremendously, because transportation is the single biggest source of emissions in most American cities.
∙ Air travel: Long-haul and first-class trips in particular increase a person’s carbon footprint.
∙ Food: If people were to simply waste less food, it would make a significant difference in emissions.
∙ Stuff: Avoid the disposable. Purchase things that last.
In our homes, one of the most effective (but sometimes complicated) things that can help is to replace gas heaters with electric heat pumps. Gas stoves, too, contribute to warming, although to a lesser degree, but also have other negative health effects.
Changing what you do can also influence others. Research shows, for instance, that people tend to conserve more electricity when their utility bills show how their power use compares with their neighbors’.
And it’s worth noting that individual action is a prerequisite for collective action. Without individual activists getting together, there would be no Sunrise Movement camping out in the halls of Congress. And, of course, voting is an individual action that can be an important force for change.
On the whole, though, humans tend to be bad at altering their behavior today to address risks tomorrow. This “present bias,” as cognitive scientists call it, makes it hard for us, as individuals, to carry out lifestyle changes now to prevent a catastrophe down the road.
Because the world has deferred climate action for so long, it must now cut greenhouse gas emissions drastically and swiftly. It can be hard to imagine how those cuts can be made without ambitious government policies.
Still, it’s not too late to make a difference. While it’s true that we have already dangerously warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels for generations, the future isn’t set in stone. Many futures remain possible. It’s up to us to decide which one plays out. — Somini Sengupta New York Times February 2, 2024
Our planet is experiencing more intense heat, bigger storms, longer droughts, increased flooding, raging wildfires, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels. And yes, man-made greenhouse gases are causing our climate to change.That's why the Saugerties Town Board took these actions:
By working together — Town government, residents, and business owners — we can reduce greenhouse gas emmissions while building our local economy, and be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Here are some suggestions:
There is an immediacy to this threat that requires all of us to be proactive and take responsibility for our little corner of the world as we work to further reduce our municipal greenhouse gas emissions and develop additional mitigation policies to address current and future impacts.
Our town's Climate Smart Saugerties task force is a perfect example of how volunteer efforts are bringing us closer to an energy sustainable future. The work of the task force couldn't be more important.”