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Earth Day Actions with Big Impacts for Northern Westchester

Make a difference this Earth Day with some suggestions from Katonah Green for high-impact actions. Includes resources and instructions.

Here are some high impact actions Northern Westchester residents can do right now to honor Earth Day and to reduce the carbon impact of our communities!

ADOPT A NEW HABIT: take the train, find out your bus schedule, set up a carpool. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 30% of the world’s automobiles, but it contributes 45% of the world’s automotive CO2 emissions (Environmental Defense Fund). Public transportation is not so easy in many of our towns, but with a little research you’ll find buses, trains and can set up carpools. Try these resources: Metropool (for commuters), 511 NY (for rideshares) and Avego (for rideshares)*. For public transportation: Bee-Line bus routes,  and the Ridgefield to Katonah HART shuttle and MetroNorth rail.

GET YOUR HOME ENERGIZED: Because most of our area is not heavy on industry, more than 50 percent of local emissions come from heating and cooling our homes. If one in three Northern Westchester homeowners pursue energy-saving upgrades we have the potential to save residents $52 million annually, and significantly reduce our carbon emissions. Together we can dramatically and quickly reduce our energy consumption. Most of our homes are wasting energy and money due to leaks, cracks and insufficient insulation. We encourage all of you to sign up with Energize New York right now to get a free assessment and guide you through the home improvement process. To sign up for this great program go to www.EnergizeNY.org or call the team in Mt. Kisco at (914) 244-7210. By the way, this program has my seal of approval.

JOIN YOUR TOWN’s Sustainability or Energy Advisory commmittee: Your contribution of time and thought can create real change. Since I joined the Lewisboro Sustainability Committee I not only get to learn how to make eco projects come to fruition, I get to work with great people, and have a sense of hope that we can do something about the dire environmental situation we are facing globally. Check your town’s government website to find out how to join. Here are a few links: Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Bedford, New Castle, Ossining, Somers.

SWITCH FROM FACTORY FARMED MEAT and eggs to local, organic, free-range and cage-free, and reduce the amount of meat you consume. Not only are feedlot raised beef cattle fed pesticide-laden feed and antibiotics which contribute to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant diseases, the production of mass market beef relies heavily on fertilizers [which are in themselves a tremendous cause of climate change, air pollution, and water pollution] ,and are a huge contributor to the killing of life in downstream water bodies by stimulating the growth of algae. (See this photo and more info by J Henry Fair) Also, the fecal waste from factory farms is a tremendous toxic waste problem: one of the largest toxic spills in US history was the breaking of a hog waste lagoon during a Hurricane in NC which killed everything in the Neue River in 1995.  Much of the meat sold by the fast food chains is grown by ranchers in Brazil who are deforesting the Amazon to raise their cattle. [J Henry Fair, Industrial Scars]

By purchasing only locally raised (within 200 miles) you’ll reduce the impact from transporting the meats as well. When you switch over to local and grass-fed, you can get to know where your meat is coming from, how it is raised, what it is fed, and get an education on the food chain. You’ll be consuming meat that has a much lower carbon impact. Where to find? Try our local farmer’s markets, find local farms. Some resources: Slow Food Metro North, Katonah Green’s Green Guide, or go to Patch.com, navigate to your town, and search for local farmer’s markets.

Together we can make a difference!

* there is not yet an Avego community in our area, but we should use this tool and build one! Create a profile, download the app, and start posting where you are driving or if you need a ride. I’ll be participating over the coming month to get this rolling!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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