Transition Ossining Addresses Climate Change
Ossining’s former firehouse on Main Street was the setting for a Transition Ossining Café for exploring together the meaning and implications of Hurricane Sandy –which coordinator Maureen Morgan said, is an almost silly name for such an awesome event. Hurricane Sandy was just the latest in so-called one hundred year weather events. It followed the Tsunami in the South Pacific, the collapsing of the nuclear reactors in Japan and Hurricane Irene which devastated towns in upstate New York. One has to ask what is next?
Climate change focused our discussion through the lens of the super storm. Twelve of us gathered, sharing local stories of “powerlessness”, loss of food, downed trees, holes in roofs, study by candlelight, gas searches for cars and generators, collecting clothes and other items to share, welcoming evacuees and getting to know ones neighbors. We represented young adults to seniors and among us, artists, sister, environmentalists, students, Westchester and Ossining Transition Coordinators, young couples, and a woman newly elected as Village Board member. We were from Ossining, Croton, Tarrytown and across the river in Rockland Co.
We learned about the projected rising of the Hudson River and the need to raise the Ossining railroad tracks in phases. We heard about the 9 story high Wheelabrator Frye Plant in Peekskill that burns Municipal Solid Waste from Westchester Co., 7 days a week, 24 hrs per day year round, generating 1/8 of the amount of the energy of Indian Point. And across the street from the Wheelabrator is a subsidized small business which makes work for people with special needs who earn a minimum wage.
Other highlights and food for thought and action are the following:
We need to get rid of learned dependencies; Reassess our living situations; Winterize before you solarize; Look at efficiency before looking at renewables; consider resiliency before sustainability.
Next steps identified are:
~ We were challenged to answer the question “What am I and what are we willing to change?”
~To reach out to municipalities, businesses and citizens.
~ Set regular meeting dates.
~ Sponsor an event to raise consciousness that leads to action e.g. Fashion Show where ordinary people model outfits from Thrift Stores, to get people to clean out their closets and share what they have before it is worn out.
~Host an event, entitled, “How to Prepare for the Next One…Better!
~Read one of these three books: Making Home and A Nation of Farmers both by Sharon Astyk, and The Art of Doing Good, Where Passion Meets Action by Charles Bronfman
By Bette Ann Jaster, OP