Climate Smart Gardiner—a community action group fighting climate change—has been hard at work in the Gardiner community.
Climate Smart Communities (CSC) is a state program coordinated by six agencies that helps local municipalities take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. Benefits of the program include leadership initiatives, free technical assistance and access to grants.
Climate Smart Gardiner’s mission statement is “Through education, community-building, and measurable actions, Climate Smart Gardiner seeks to empower our town to reduce greenhouse gases, adapt to a changing climate, conserve energy, support a local green economy, preserve natural resources, and promote renewable energy sources, so we can be environmentally sustainable for future generations.”
Actions taken by the group are designed and directed by the state through the CSC program. The more actions a community completes, the more points they accrue. Once the chapter reaches a certain number of points, it reaches its bronze, silver and gold certification, and each level unlocks grants and resources.
Franco Carucci, town board member and Climate Smart member, said Climate Smart Gardiner is about halfway to its bronze certification. The group hopes to achieve its bronze certification by 2020.
Since its creation in winter 2018, Climate Smart Gardiner has installed recycling bins in the town park; began the process of converting the town’s lighting to LEDs; conducted river cleanups with Riverkeeper; explored community solar campaigns; began the process of installing an electric vehicle charging station, and more.
Climate Smart Gardiner member Jason Mayer said the group provides an outlet for residents to get engaged in their community and fight climate change.
“It’s a great way to take action and feel like you’re participating,” Mayer said. “You can be part of the community, you can participate with other people who are passionate, help our planet and take concrete actions.”
The group hopes to decrease the town’s carbon footprint, reduce waste, and educate the public about ways they can help the environment.
“We’re helping our planet by working with our neighbors,” Climate Smart Gardiner member Holly Shader said.
Mayer said anyone can contribute to the group, no matter their skills or qualifications. There are many ways to contribute, from writing grants to picking up garbage.
There are 272 registered CSC in New York, 20 of which are bronze certified and four are silver certified. Gardiner, Shawangunk, Maybrook, the City of Newburgh, Ulster County and Orange County are registered Climate Smart Communities.
To learn more, visit Climate Smart Gardiner on Facebook or email email@example.com.