Research shows that we start to become what we focus on in life.
Doubling Down On Climate Change Efforts
New York and the eight other states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are proposing to update their multi-state effort to lower carbon pollution by reducing the cap on power plant emissions an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. With this program update, the regional cap in 2030 will be 65 percent below the 2009 starting level. The RGGI, which first formed in 2005, is the nation’s first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change and has contributed to a nearly 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from affected power plants in New York, and a 90 percent reduction in coal-fired power generation in the state, while continuing to exceed expectations. Recent analyses also show that RGGI has produced numerous health and productivity benefits for participating member states, including up to 16,000 avoided respiratory illnesses, up to 390 avoided heart attacks, and 300 to 830 avoided deaths. The health benefits in New York alone are estimated to have exceeded $1.7 billion in avoided costs and other economic benefits. At the same time, the economies of RGGI states are outpacing the rest of the country, and electricity prices within the region have fallen even as prices in other states have increased.
Rising Inspiration From Catskill Waters
There’s a truly original arts project underway in the area. Catskill Waters, conceived and headed by multi-media artist Keiko Sono of Woodstock, is the very definition of a community art endeavor, all about the gathering and dissemination of stories about our region’s watershed areas. The idea is to match stories with artists for a rich sense of collaboration; even their fundraising is innovative and special: On Saturday, October 14, they’ll be honoring singer/songwriter Rebecca Martin—the founder of KingstonCitizens.org who raised community awareness about the Niagara Bottling Company’s proposed usurping of local waters—with a special four course dinner being prepared by the legendary New York chef David Waltuck of Chanterelle fame. It’ll take place at the Old Glenford Church in West Hurley, with ephemeral installations, video projections, and live electronic music reinventing “the spirit of classic Woodstock of the Art Colony days.” Tickets are pricey, starting at $200, but the event’s already being seen as “a worthwhile investment for personal and professional enrichment.” For more information visit catskillwaters.org.
Raise a Glass to The Clean Water We Provide!
This October marks the 100th anniversary of the date when people in all five New York City boroughs celebrated receiving some of the cleanest unfiltered water in the world from our Catskill Mountains. Now this system services 8 million City residents and one million residents in Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Ulster counties via a complex network of aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels. The worldwide community nonprofit Radical Joy for Hard Times, which seeks ways of finding beauty and artmaking where challenges and difficulty have occurred, is helping celebrate this resource, and acknowledge its difficult birthing, is hosting a social media campaign, “Raise a Glass to 100 Years of Catskill Water,” through Saturday, October 14. The idea is elegantly simple: people throughout the NYC watershed are invited to take photos of themselves, their friends, family (or even pets) raising a glass of clean New York City water to toast and to thank the people of the Catskills for the gift of clean drinking water. The campaign invites people to post their photos on social media and to tag @CatskillsWater on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtags #RaiseAGlass #NYCDrinkingWater #PostYourToast. Additional hashtags may include#RadicalJoyForHardTimes #ToastCatskillsWater #CatskillsWater #Ashokan #AshokanReservoir #NYCWaterways #WaterProtection. Submitted photos will be included in a commemorative book that Radical Joy for Hard Times will give to descendants of displaced Catskill families. For more information visit radicaljoyforhardtimes.org.
New Centers For The Opioid Fight
The state has announced two new actions to expand addiction treatment and recovery services for people across New York. $4.5 million in funding is now available to develop nine Open Access Centers across the state and two pilot recovery high schools. The centers, one in each region of the state, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to deliver immediate engagement, assessment and referral services to people suffering from substance use disorders. The pilot recovery high schools will offer an alternative, multi-service high school program in a safe, sober, and supportive environment for students who are in grades nine through 12 and dealing with a substance use disorder. Treatment and recovery services and support are incorporated into the normal school environment as part of the educational programming, and also play a role in staffing.
Asking Our Students To Write About Here
Now in its sixth year, Teaching the Hudson Valley’s (THV) Writing about Place contest asks K-12 students to tell us about places in the region that are special to them. All students living and/or attending school in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area including Westchester, Ulster, Saratoga, Rockland, Rensselaer, Putnam, Orange, Greene, Dutchess, Columbia, and Albany counties are eligible. Writing should be recent, completed during summer or fall of 2017, and submitted by Friday, November 10. Writers should choose a place they know and would like to share with their classmates. To be eligible, places written about must be regularly open to the public; have cultural, historic, or natural significance; and be owned or managed by a nonprofit or a government entity. K-4 students are asked to submit a poem of up to 250 words. Middle and high school students may choose one of three prompts for essays of up to 1,000 or 1,500 words, respectively. Writers may include a photo, drawing, collage, or other graphic, but no student will lose points for submitting only written work. To learn more, and submit, visit teachingthehudsonvalley.org/placewriting2017/.
Guess What? Pot Is NOT A Gateway Drug!
The Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz recently released its 18th discussion brief, “The Marijuana Gateway Fallacy,” which brings together extensive social science evidence to show that the idea that marijuana use is a “gateway” to the use of harder drugs is a myth. The report was written by a multi-disciplinary team that included Gerald Benjamin, a political scientist and former chairman of the Ulster County legislature, and finds that the gateway drug theory was advanced and persists in policy discourse for political purposes, despite the great and increasing weight of contrary scientific evidence. It further argues that the gateway myth has done more social harm than marijuana use itself because it has been used to support drug policies that have diverted attention and resources from the burgeoning opioid crisis. Meanwhile, medical marijuana had been legalized in 28 states and Washington, DC, although any movement in that direction in New York State is not expected in the foreseeable future… yet.
How About Some Assistance This Winter?
So you’re renting, or facing harder times than you had anticipated. How do you fix up your home for winter, and the rest of the year, when the money’s just not there? New York State’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP), locally available in Columbia, Dutchess and Orange counties, seeks to reduce the burden of housing-related illness and injury by providing in-home assessments and interventions for asthma, tobacco cessation, indoor air quality, lead, fire safety, and other environmental health hazards. It uses housing, health, and socioeconomic indicators from census and other sources to identify housing in high-risk areas, using a combination of door-to-door canvassing (roughly 67 percent of visits) and referrals (32 percent of visits) to reach residents in high-risk areas. During a visit, the home is assessed for environmental health and safety issues, after which an outreach worker provides education (written and verbal), referrals and finally products to help residents correct or reduce housing hazards. According to the program’s website, about 22 percent of all homes visited receive an optional revisit, which are typically scheduled three to six months after the initial visit. Among items provided to help people solve their housing health issues are smoke and CO detectors, fire extinguishers, cleaning supplies, child-safety items, and asthma prevention items. Also available on a seasonal basis is the federally funded HEAP program that assists financially strapped New Yorkers with the cost of heating their homes, as well as emergency benefits for households in a heat or heat-related energy emergency. HEAP operates through county social service agencies. Regular benefits run from November into April, while the emergency component runs from early January to early April. For eligible households, HEAP also provides a heating-equipment repair and replacement benefit, along with a heating-equipment tune-up prior to the start of the heating season until November 4. For information call (800) 342-3009.