By adopting a resolution creating a Climate Smart Communities task force, the village of Catskill joined 243 communities in the state to form an alliance with state government to build a resilient, low-emission future. The towns and villages represent more than 7.5 million people, reflecting 39 percent of the state’s population.
Climate Smart Communities in Greene County are the towns of Cairo, Hunter and Jewett, and the village of Catskill, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Columbia County is represented by the towns of Ancram, Austerlitz, Chatham, Copake, Ghent, Hillsdale and Kinderhook, and the villages of Kinderhook and Philmont.
Catskill has been working on integrating the program into the village since 2017. Climate Smart Communities gives municipalities a list of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases can trap heat in the lower levels of the atmosphere and increase the Earth’s temperature.
Climate Smart Communities focuses on carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Rising temperature is a major factor in climate change.
The first step for Catskill, said Liz LoGiudice, founder of Resilient Communications and Consulting, is taking an inventory of village-owned buildings and vehicles. This, for example, is a way for the village to reduce emissions, exercising options of acquiring more energy-efficient vehicles or upgrading old heating systems.
A less global and more immediate problem for Catskill is flooding. Proposed solutions include proper zoning and management of private and public land to prevent flood damage. Another local project is planting trees on village streets to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and for beautification.
By becoming a Climate Smart community, the village is eligible for state and federal aid, but the funding is not earmarked for any specific projects at this time. No single town or village can hope to reverse or even halt climate change, but that should not stop Catskill and the other 12 Twin County communities in the Climate Smart program from marshaling their forces and work to save our little corner of the world.