Earth Day 50: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

In the week following Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, Ned Sullivan appeared as an expert guest on a couple of popular valley radio programs. In addition to providing insight on the importance of that first event in 1970, he described strides made since and threats we continue to face, including the proposed Danskammer fracked gas power plant in Newburgh, which he called “the Storm King issue of our time.”

On Radio Kingston’s “Green Radio Hour with Jon Bowermaster,” Ned noted what makes the Hudson Valley a nexus of grassroots environmentalism:  

“The Hudson River is a magnet. We have a spirit of activism because of the incredible beauty we have here, the ecological diversity that is unsurpassed anywhere else in New York State, the magic of the river that flows both ways… From one end of the Hudson to the other, I think that’s what resonates with people and makes people fight for that beauty and the quality of life that flows out of that.”

And with Greg Gattine of Woodstock’s WDST, he urged people to take a stand against proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act, a direct outgrowth of the first Earth Day, which gives Americans a voice in government decisions affecting their environment:

“Now, the federal government is gutting this act. They are saying they don’t want to see major infrastructure projects consider climate change. They’re rolling back the fuel-efficiency standards on our automobiles. This is crazy! Why would we roll back those laws that have cleaned our air, that are ensuring we’re on the right track for stemming climate change? It’s absolutely critical that people speak to both their state legislators and their Congressional representatives and let them know we want them to stand up to the White House, which is leading the charge in the wrong direction.”  

Click on the links to enjoy the full interviews.

Inside Scoop

On  Earth Day 2020, more than 300 people and organizations — including Scenic Hudson — came together virtually to advocate state leaders for increased public health and environmental protections. The day included a series of brief “conversations” with legislators about hot-button environmental issues in their districts and across the state.

Scenic Hudson Director of Public Policy Andy Bicking and Policy Analyst Althea Mullarkey got the inside environmental scoop from four valley legislators.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (Columbia/Dutchess counties)—“Carbon farming is a win-win-win for the environment because it takes carbon out of the atmosphere, where it’s toxic, and puts it in the soil, where it increases productivity and makes the soil healthier…. Even though it’s a time-honored practice that many farmers in this region probably practiced 300 years ago…it has been out of fashion. We’ve helped support its return.”

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (Dutchess/Ulster counties)—“During my tenure as [Assembly] Energy Chair, we created Green Jobs-Green New York and developed a comprehensive and dynamic energy planning process for New York State. Several years later, after Green Jobs-Green New York was put into place, tens of thousands of people have been trained in green technologies, millions and millions of dollars have been distributed to people across New York State to conserve, to retrofit their homes to make life a little more comfortable and easier, and of course to reduce the carbon footprint.”

Sen. Sue Serino (Putnam/Dutchess counties)—“Before COVID, we were moving toward a greener economy. Moving forward, working with the business community — and bringing together people of all ages that are working — I think we can come up with some great ideas so we do protect our environment.”

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (Saratoga/Washington counties)—“Cleaning up the Hudson River, making it possible once again to dredge the Champlain Canal to a navigable depth, has the possibility to open it up to commercial shipping, which would be a benefit to all of the businesses up and down this section of the river. But even if we can’t get to a navigable depth, cleaning up the Hudson River opens up the possibility of additional tourism.”

Click here for more interviews.

Earth Day Resolution


New Year’s Day is long gone, and so are a lot of the well-intentioned resolutions we made. But that’s never stopped us from trying—so why not make an Earth Day resolution?

There are lots of ways you can help the planet without leaving your home turf. Some are simple, others more time-consuming. The key (as with all resolutions) is to carry through once you commit. What’s great is that you’ll not only benefit the planet and wildlife we share it with, but usually you and your family as well.

Here are just a few ideas. Check our social media channels during the coming week for more resolutions from our staff.

  • Start a compost pile or bin and turn your garbage into plant food
  • Plant native, pollinator-friendly flowers in your yard. (This guide is a great resource)
  • Install a birdfeeder and birdbath and keep them filled
  • Use all-natural fertilizers and pesticides
  • Trade in the gas-powered lawnmower for a push-reel model
  • Switch to reusable plastic, glass, or metal containers
  • Get your electricity from a community solar farm. (Locate a project near you here)
  • Buy locally grown produce, either direct from nearby farms or at a community farmers market
  • Start growing some of your own vegetables and herbs