A community initiative to Adapt to and reduce our contributions to climate change
The Philipstown Climate Smart Task Force is a volunteer steering committee to the Town Board, whose mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change by increasing use of renewables while decreasing overall energy use; supporting development of a more sustainable local economy; educating and inspiring community members and businesses to contribute to climate solutions; and conserving our natural resources and wildlife for future generations.
About the New York State Climate Smart Communities Program
Climate Smart Communities is a certification-based program administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The purpose of the program is to provide guidance, benchmarks and funding for local communities and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while also making their cities and towns more resilient to climate change.
Task Force Meeting Minutes
For the sake of public transparency, here is a link to the minutes from each of our Climate Smart Philipstown Task Force meetings, which take place on the third Thursday of each month at the Philipstown Recreation Center from 7:30 - 9pm:
Task Force Members
Each of our Task Force members below has completed a biography and some have completed a carbon footprint calculation using UC Berkeley’s Cool Climate Calculator, which shows their household carbon footprint and their pledged or already taken mitigation actions. Details on each of the mitigation actions can be seen at the above website under the “Take Action” tab by clicking on the arrow next to a listed action (a short description opens up to further explain the action). We hope you learn something valuable from our efforts to look ourselves in the mirror and figure out how to walk the walk, and we hope you are inspired to calculate your own carbon footprint and begin reducing it as well.
Roberto Muller, Cold SPring, Climate smart philipstown Coordinator
A Haldane and Vassar College graduate, Roberto grew up and lives on Garden St. in Cold Spring. He works for the Town of Philipstown as its Climate Smart Coordinator in addition to volunteering to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere until they drop below what is deemed to be a safe level of 350 ppm CO2-equivalent (we are currently at 407 ppm CO2-equivalent and rising). Roberto’s efforts to reduce his carbon footprint include gradually renovating his house with energy efficiency upgrades, purchasing carbon offsets for his current emissions, riding a bicycle or metro north trains instead of driving when possible, eating a plant-based diet, using fans instead of AC in the summer, except during the worst heat waves, purchasing 100% wind-powered electricity through an ESCO and turning down invitations from loved ones to fly here and there for this and that, unless he has no choice, of course.
Josh Garrett, Cold Spring
Josh is a communications and marketing professional with more than a decade of experience working in the fields of environmental advocacy, sustainability and renewable energy. He received his master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Columbia University in 2012 and currently works at Antenna Group, a specialty public relations and marketing firm serving clients in the clean energy, mobility and sustainability sectors. Josh’s fascination with all things energy keeps him focused on the Task Force’s efforts to reduce GHGs from transportation and home heating/cooling in Philipstown.
Erik Brown, Cold Spring
Erik Brown has been involved in ecological design and sustainability research for about 20 years. Since 2014 he has worked with Mainstay Materials, an interior finish company that helps boutique manufacturers push innovative, sustainably-minded products to the US A&D market. He also designed custom furniture projects and provided technical sales support at From the Source, a company specializing in reclaimed and responsibly harvested Indonesian furniture. Erik designs and fabricates furniture in his free time using reclaimed and recycled materials. He blogged about green issues for about 3 years and has been researching sustainable issues and processes for almost a decade. He’s also worked as a kitchen designer, and from 2002-2007 was the design director for a small non-profit called Green Ground Zero which focused on green building, urban development and ecological policy.
Pamela Doan, Cold Spring
Pamela Doan has lived in Cold Spring since 2010 and her efforts at a sustainable lifestyle and creating an ecologically valuable landscape on 9 acres of property have all been a response to climate change. Learning about how to care for the forested land, bring back native species and create habitat for birds, wildlife and pollinators led her to writing about gardening and climate change for the local paper and other publications, as well as becoming a garden coach with One Nature, an ecological design firm. She believes that personal choices matter immensely in trying to re-balance our relationship to the planet and nature. She is a Master Gardner Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Exchange and a member of the Philipstown Garden Club.
Krystal Ford, Garrison
Krystal Ford is a writer, mother and an activist. She is a trained Climate Reality Leader, the President of Garrison Union Free School PTA, a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Philipstown Garden Club, and Advisory Board member of Constitution Marsh. She has a MA from New York University in Food Studies, with a focus on sustainable agriculture.
Catherine Serreau-Thompson, Continental Village
Catherine is a French expat, an adopted Garrison resident. As a sailor and a hiker, she has developed a deep connection to Nature realising early on that the irresponsible ways of an over-consuming society can have irreparable impacts on our planet’s ability to nurture life. As a residential and commercial Interior Designer, deeply concerned by the destruction of our planet’s resources and wishing to participate in conserving and restorative efforts, she has been concentrating on ecologically ethical design, researching and following sustainable practices, particularly in the areas of material and product specifications. As a Master Gardener from Cornell Cooperative Extension, she is a fervent advocate of ecological gardening practices that help counteract climate change, restore and conserve wildlife habitat. Catherine is a major in History of Art and Languages, has followed the Interior Design Master Program at Pratt Institute. She and her partner live on an acre of land in Garrison’s Continental Village, together with many other squatters, a place they claim, found them.
Jocelyn Apicello, Garrison
Jocelyn has been farming since 2011 on Longhaul Farm, using regenerative and bionutrient practices to improve the health of the soil and increase the carbon sequestration potential of the land she tends. Jocelyn is a public health professional, teaching courses on food justice and health disparities at William Paterson University and teaching food, farming, climate change and sustainability courses in New York State prisons through Bard College's Bard Prison Initiative. She helps build organic gardens inside correctional facilities, as well as works with her former students upon re-entry to encourage them to be conscious consumers, care about where their food comes from and explore a more agrarian life. She is particularly interested in land and creating opportunities for more equitable access to and ecologically conscious stewardship of it. She founded a non-profit, the Ecological Citizen's Project, along with her husband, and works to build citizen-led campaigns for a more equitable, healthy, sustainable and democratic way-of-life.
Ethan Timm, Cold Spring
Ethan Timm is an Architect in Cold Spring who’s been active in the fields of sustainable design, construction, and urban planning for the last 20 years. Ethan is LEED accredited and has studied Passive House construction and Permaculture design. He has worked on and lived in off-grid solar homes in the New Mexico desert and enjoyed a car-free lifestyle in Portland Oregon while working on innovative form-based urban design and LEED certified renovation projects. Ethan currently runs, with his wife Erin, The Figure Ground Studio Architecture & Landscape Architecture. After reading the Drawdown Agenda, Ethan has been widening his sustainability focus to include reducing food waste, multistrata agroforestry, and transportation agendas.
More Task Force members to follow… :)