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Catskill Mountainkeeper is committed to being the strongest and most effective possible advocate for the Catskill region; working through a network of concerned citizens we promote sustainable growth and protect the natural resources essential to healthy communities.

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New tourist center named for Hinchey

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“The center will be staffed through a partnership that includes the Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the NY-NJ Trail Conference, the Catskill Mountain Club, Ulster County Tourism and the Catskill Mountainkeeper.”

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Former Congressman Maurice Hinchey attended the groundbreaking Tuesday for a tourist center in Shandaken that will bear his name. Hinchey first secured funding for the project back in the 1980s.PAULINE LIU/Times Herald-Record

SHANDAKEN — Talk about red tape. More than 30 years after Maurice Hinchey secured the original funding to build a tourist center in Shandaken, a groundbreaking ceremony finally took place.

On Tuesday, the former congressman joined Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and local groups to celebrate the center which will bear his name.

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is slated to be a 1,700-square-foot facility located off State Route 28. The project is expected to be completed next spring.

The center is to serve as a gateway, providing visitors with information about the 700,000-acre Catskill Park. It is to be built on 62 acres that will include state trails, a fire tower, amphitheater, dog run and a picnic area.

Hinchey, 75, was an assemblyman when he secured the funding back in the 1980s. He received a standing ovation from a crowd of about 200, but made no speech.

“Hallelujah,” said Hinchey, wearing his trademark broad smile.

According to Martens, the Adirondack Park already has two tourist centers.

“But there is none in the Catskill Park, and it always seemed to be the second fiddle. But now we’re going to turn that around,” said Martens.

The DEC-managed project is expected to cost $1.3 million in public funds, including a $380,000 federal Housing and Urban Development grant.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to cover the center’s operating costs for its initial five years, at $20,000 per year.

Shandaken supervisor Rob Stanley said he hopes the center will help the local economy by promoting tourism.

“They’ll no longer be able call this the ‘Road to Nowhere,'” said Stanley, pointing to the center’s long driveway, which was installed years ago.

read the entire article here

The Largest Climate March in History!! 400000+ March in NYC to Stop Climate Change

MSNBC- The largest climate march in history

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/largest-climate-march-history-kicks-new-york

NEW YORK – They’re calling it the largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators of all ages and from around the world turned out for the massive People’s Climate March Sunday, filling the streets of midtown Manhattan with demands for global leaders take action to avert catastrophic climate change.

Crowds gathered with banners, flags and floats around Columbus Circle late Sunday morning as music and chants rang out at the start of the march. At exactly 12:58 p.m., demonstrators held a moment of silence in honor of the victims of climate change, followed by a cacophony of noise with drums, cheers and horns to sound the alarm to the crisis.

Organizers estimate that as many as 310,000 demonstrators turned out for the march, though police won’t comment, telling msnbc they don’t release crowd numbers. The crowds were so massive that by mid-afternoon, organizers said they were asking people to disperse and cut the march short by nearly ten street blocks.

Democracy Now! Posted this picture of some of the many Mountainkeeper marchers!

Democracy Now! Posted this picture of some of the many Mountainkeeper marchers!

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Climatekeeper: Countdown to the Climate March

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series leading up to the People’s Climate March
in New York City on September 21st to explain (1) the interconnection between fracking and climate change, (2) how climate change will affect all of us, and (3) how we can move toward a renewable energy future.  Every great social movement in our country, from civil rights to gay rights, has relied on people taking to the streets.  Your participation in the People’s Climate March will help to show our government leaders just how serious we are about changing the energy paradigm — away from destructive fossil fuels and towards renewable and clean energy sources. The message is clear – “green” technology is ready, and so are we.

Don’t just sit there.  Do something.

Go to the Climate March and
Commit to Converting to Renewable Energy!

If you don’t need to be convinced about why transistioning to renewable energy is necessary HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1) Go to the People’s Climate March this Sunday and protest against the insanity of“Suicide by Fossil Fuels” with over 100,000 fellow climate activists.

2) Join Mountainkeeper Board Member Mark Ruffalo by Taking the Pledge to Divest from fossil fuels and to Invest in Renewables.

3) Get involved in Mountainkeeper’s RenewableNY.com (more actions, below) to make New York State the leader in converting to renewable energy.  We can do it New York!!

WHY SWITCHING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY IS IMPORTANT

Fossil-based fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) are finite, quickly depleting, and are not a sustainable solution for our long-term energy needs.  Burning them results in green house gas emissions that damage the environment, are the root cause of climate change, and are harmful to our health.

In contrast, renewable energy resources are clean, naturally replenished, affordable, available right now and capable of meeting virtually all of our energy needs in the near future.  When combined with energy conservation and a more flexible electric system, renewable energy is capable of providing from 80 to 100 percent of the United States’ electricity generation by 2050.

Leading the way in the transition away from fossil fuels, Germany will soon be generating 30% of its electrify from renewable energy sourcesdouble the percentage of renewably generated energy here in the United States.  And the town of Burlington, Vermont just completed the transition to generating a full 100 percent of its electricity from renewables – showing the rest of the country that making the switch to renewables from fossil fuels is possible!

Here in New York, Catskill Mountainkeeper is encouraging the transition to renewable energy sources through initiatives such as RenewableNY and partnership projects like Southern Tier Solar Works (STSW). STSW and similar initiatives including Solar Tompkins and Solarize Syracuse are leading the solar revolution in New York, creating a buzz through community outreach and encouraging solar investment with community bulk buying campaigns. These efforts emphasize the immediate benefits of a shift towards renewables, including new local employment opportunities, energy savings for residents and businesses, and a stronger shared commitment to safeguarding the environment. They also emphasize increasing education and training opportunities to prepare area residents for work in this expanding industry.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

1) Comment on the REV process: The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently overseeing a process called ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV), with the aim of reforming the way utilities are regulated and structured, encouraging greater penetration of distributed energy resources like rooftop photovoltaic/solar, and increasing energy efficiency. For more information about the REV process and how you can participate, click here.

2) Join your local Community Solar Campaign: Catskill Mountainkeeper is launching the “Let’s Go Solar Hudson Valley” solarize campaign, in partnership with Sustainable Hudson Valley. The first meeting will be held on September 25th, click here to learn more. We are planning a similar initiative to begin next spring in Sullivan County, sign-up here for updates.  To find a solar campaign in your community, or for information on how to start one, click here.

3) Ask your municipal leaders for standardized solar permitting: You can open the door for increased solar in your town by encouraging the adoption of a standardized residential/small business solar permit for your community. For information and resources on this and other state-sponsored renewable energy initiatives, visit the NYSERDA website here.

4) Stay informed and involved:
 Visit Renewable NY.com and add your name to the petition calling on state and national elected officials to demonstrate leadership by pushing for New York’s immediate transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Sign up for the RenewableNY mailing list to be the first to know about important actions in New York. And visit our events page to find ways to become active in your community.

5) Spread the word
like us on Facebook, and send this action alert to your friends.

6) Join us at the Climate March: The September 21 Climate March offers a unique opportunity to call on world leaders to take the lead in safeguarding our environment, growing our economies, and reducing the potentially devastating effects of climate change. Join us there, and make your voice heard in demanding that we change course, and make the shift from destructive fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

The bottom line is that climate change is a threat to all of us, to our communities, and to the very ecological systems that we depend on for life itself.  We face a clear choice – to continue down the unsustainable and dangerous path of fossil fuels, or embrace a new paradigm and future with the immediate transition to sustainable, renewable, clean energy alternatives.
 You can make a difference:

Sign up to attend the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st, and help show our leaders that we are committed to preventing catastrophic climate change.

Need a ride? We have buses! Click here.

UPCOMING EVENTS!

The People’s Climate Justice Summit
Monday, September 22 – Tuesday, September 23, 9 am – 9 pm
Two Locations:
The New School Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
United Nations Church Center, 777 1st Avenue at 44th Street, NYC
FREE Space is limited, click here to register

While world leaders convene at the United Nations for the 2014 Climate Summit, The Climate Justice Alliance, friends and allies are hosting a People’s Climate Justice Summit, featuring the voices, strategies, and solutions of climate-affected communities around the world.

The Summit will feature a hearing at the UN Church Center, with testimony from front-line community leaders including Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Program Director, Wes Gillingham, who will testify on the buildout of fracking infrastructure in New York. The hearing will be live-streamed online and at The New School, where there will also be panels, discussions and workshops on topics including:

  • Colonialism and Climate Justice
  • Climate Smart Agriculture
  • False Promises
  • Systems Alternatives
  • Just Transition
  • Energy Democracy
  • Zero Waste

For more information or to register, click hereA detailed Summit agenda and live-stream information will be available shortly.

Six hours of testimony from the People’s Climate Justice Summit will be documented and delivered to the United Nations. People on the frontlines of the climate crisis know what action needs to be taken, and are ready to make change happen. We need our governments and global leaders to learn from the people on the ground. Join us!

Climatekeeper: Countdown to the Climate March

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series leading up to the People’s Climate March
in New York City on September 21st to explain (1) the interconnection between fracking and climate change, (2) how climate change will affect all of us, and (3) how we can move toward a renewable energy future.  Every great social movement in our country, from civil rights to gay rights, has relied on people taking to the streets.  Your participation in the People’s Climate March will help to show our government leaders just how serious we are about changing the energy paradigm — away from destructive fossil fuels and towards renewable and clean energy sources. The message is clear – “green” technology is ready, and so are we.

WHY CLIMATE CHANGE MATTERS TO YOU
(And why you should be in NYC for the Climate March on September 21!) 

1.    Climate change is here – it is real and well documented, and is causing droughts, super storms, sea level rise, and a multitude of other extreme weather phenomena and related problems.

2.    The fossil fuel industry continues to expand, employing increasingly destructive and resource intensive methods for energy extraction. Unless we take action, we face the real possibility of the privatization of our air, water and land resources under the guise of a “global climate compact.”

3.    Extreme weather and extreme energy extraction go hand in hand, as evidenced by rising temperatures that generate localized and often catastrophic weather events around the world, including here in the Catskills.

4.    Communities across the globe are scrambling to deal with the impacts of climate change.

·         Forced migration — due to super storms, droughts and rising sea levels — is already occurring in Pacific island and Arctic coastline areas, and will only increase, posing a dire threat to unique and diverse cultures.

·         Droughts are increasing the risk of wildfires.

·         Widespread habitat change endangers key species; threatening the loss of vital pollinators of our food crops, an overpopulation of serious pests, and a breakdown of regional ecological systems.

·         The impact of drought on agricultural production has the potential to lead to food scarcity. Adapting to changing conditions will be complicated by our increasing dependence on industrial agriculture.

·         All of this constitutes a significant burden for many local, regional and national economies.

5.    The fossil fuel industries have become leading contaminators of water supplies worldwide. In combination with the increased incidence of droughts, potable water scarcity is likely to become a defining global issue in the future.

6.    The climate crisis is symptomatic of a deeper problem, namely the continuation of an economic development model that favors the exploitation of resources and people over broad-based sustainable development, and which benefits a few at the expense of communities and the planet.

7.    Climate Action must be rooted in justice, and a recognition that the people who stand to be worst affected by the climate crisis are largely those who are least well-equipped to confront it, namely in low-income, indigenous, rural and minority communities. These are the people who will be hardest hit by both the extractive, polluting and wasteful industries causing global warming, as well as the resulting climate disruption in the form of storms, floods and droughts.

8.    People on the frontlines of the climate crisis know what needs to be done, and we are ready to make change happen. It is our governments that must catch up and start to show real leadership. World leaders must take climate action by committing to and financing a just transition – to keep fossil fuels in the ground, create meaningful jobs for our communities, and focus on building the infrastructure to address climate change and ensure a sustainable future.

9.    Despite 25 years of warnings and recommendations from top climate scientists worldwide about how to curb the problem, the UN climate negotiations have repeatedly failed to address climate change in a meaningful way. The 2014 Climate Summit in NYC, leading up to the negotiations in Paris, will likely be characterized by more of the same – a continuation of the corporate hijacking of the UN climate negotiation process and the failure of world leaders to commit to doing what is needed to stem the tides of global warming and climate change. We can and should take concrete actions in our individual lives to reduce our climate impact, but collective action is needed, as well.

10. We can still do something about the climate crisis, but we must act now to prevent the worst impacts. The window for us to affect the necessary change is shrinking, and continuing to kick the can down the road for future generations is simply not conscionable.  We must oppose new fossil fuel development such as the massive gas infrastructure proposed to transport gas through New York, divest from fossil fuels in our portfolios, and invest in renewable energy.

The bottom line is that climate change is a threat to all of us, to our communities, and to the very ecological systems that we depend on for life itself.  We face a clear choice – to continue down the unsustainable and dangerous path of fossil fuels, or embrace a new paradigm and future with the immediate transition to sustainable, renewable, clean energy alternatives.
You can make a difference: 

Sign up to attend the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st, and help show our leaders that we are committed to preventing catastrophic climate change.Need a ride? We have buses! Click here to purchase a ticket for round-trip transportation from the Catskill region. For busing from other regions, click here.