Town of Hurley Climate Smart Task Force Updates


I am happy to share with our readers that the Hurley Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory has been completed.

Thanks to the help of Task Force Member Lynne Bailey for guiding me towards accomplishing that goal for the community, and Mike Boms for introducing me to the Climate Smart Community Task Force and giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and ability to contribute to the Town on their journey towards receiving Bronze Certification. This study earns Hurley 16 points (10%) towards completing that goal.

Doing this work, I’ve gained a much better understanding of what goes into researching greenhouse gasses. Collecting and documenting data is such a large portion of discovering how we can make changes, and with how we’re treating the environment. I invite you to spend a few minutes reading through the inventory - the appendix in the report explains what is included in each different sector. My hope is for the reader to have a better understanding, too, of just how many and what kinds of greenhouse gasses are emitted into our atmosphere every year.

There are so many sources that produce greenhouse gas emissions, much that many would overlook, including me. But with the right resources, education, and presentation that shares where we are headed environmentally, I can see very clearly that it isn’t just about transportation. Dangerous emissions are everywhere, including in our homes, our food, our clothes, and everything that is a part of the human cycle of production and consumption.

What's next?

The Climate Change problem seems so big - in 2018 alone, global ghg emissions were 48.94BN TCO₂e - but when you look at the pieces manageable solutions appear. Multiple wasy of reducing GHG is the key to that. It sounds daunting, but there's lots of solutions that are happening in our homes and communities, and with businesses large and small, right now. I'm learning tha there's more each of us can do, and I'm reminded that small changes accumulate and grow into big changes.

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Updated: Mar 25

We hear the term “Carbon Footprint” a lot these days. Just what does it mean?

Carbon footprint result

Well, it’s in the name. When walking in snow or mud, we leave footprints behind and we can physically see those footprints we are making just right behind us, but what would a carbon footprint be then? Well, it’s not only behind us, it’s everywhere.

A carbon footprint is gas emissions we produce individually on a constant daily basis through the energy we consume in our homes, the fuel we burn in our cars, the money we spend on food, clothing, accessories, and anything that contributes to the burning of fossil fuels, and the waste we produce that compiles into landfills. Though all of that is everywhere in large numbers, it isn’t very easy to see, but with the right tools and methods to calculate how vast our carbon footprints truly are, we are able to find just how much that really is.

Calculate Your Footprint

There are several calculators available online which can help you determine your own household’s carbon footprint. I’ve been trying a few of these out.

Calculators and Resources for Students

Welcome to Inquiry to Student Environmental Action

This site has a great calculator for students and apartment dwellers as it highly focuses on public transportation, food consumption, and appliance energy usage. It includes a basic calculator for middle schoolers and an advanced calculator for secondary school and beyond. As a student myself, using this calculator, my total carbon footprint is 6.5 metric tons of CO2e. For homeowners and those that pay separate electric bills, one can get more specific about their energy use.

At one inputs their actual energy usage for their home, the make and model of your vehicle(s) and miles driven, and also dollar amounts for most of the household expenses to arrive at a calculation. Doing this, a Hurley resident with a small private house, driving 8,000 milles a year, clocked in at 10.46 MTCO2e.

We got about the same number using this tool - - without as much detail about housing costs or location. Details were available in some categories, but this tool was simple and easy to use with different types of housing AND it also provides information about your ecological footprint.

The EPA has calculators, too, and much more detailed info.

Remind me - Why are we calculating fooprints?

Because they are CARBON footprints - and all that CO2 is raising temperatures and is damaging in many ways, both subtle and obvious.

It's Important to Know Your Carbon Footprint

...because it can give you a better understanding of how many greenhouse gas emissions you produce individually. Hearing about them on a larger scale can make it a little harder to comprehend. By calculating how much energy you use in your home, how much when you travel, and what food industries you support, you are able to get a good idea of how vast your carbon footprint really is.

With that information and understanding, you've taken the first step into finding ways to reduce them. Instead of producing so many greenhouse gases by driving so much, perhaps you can find alternative ways to travel like carpooling, or taking public transportation. Turning how much energy you use in your home into numbers and measurements you can visually grasp, may encourage you to turn off lights in rooms you aren’t in, unplug chargers you aren’t using, and grab a blanket instead of turning up the heat. There are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Take the first step and calculate your own.

Let us know your results and thoughts. What changes can you make to reduce your carbon footprint?

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In December of 2021 TF member Lynne Bailey, a former teacher, floated the possibility of getting a student internship approved for the upcoming semester with TB Member Mike Boms, a biology professor at SUNY Ulster. Mike was all for it, and Lynne compiled a proposal for the school's consideration and volunteered to oversee the program and facilitate the student's studies, work and progress. The proposal was accepted and fortunately for us, Felicia Legge signed up for the challenge.

Felicia is an aspiring scientist majoring in Environmental Science at Suny Ulster Community College. Her interest and compassion for wildlife and the natural world extends to all aspects of life. She is an observational writer, artist, and poet, striving to excel in her fields of learning towards achieving her environmental goals.

Over the past month Felicia researched and helped write a Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Town of Hurley. It's under review and we expect it to be realeased for the next Town Board meeting on March 8, 2022. We're really happy to welcome Felicia to the team and hope that her time with us is productive in many ways.

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