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Adirondack North Country Association Annual Meeting Focuses On Climate Justice

Adirondack North Country Association plan cover
Adirondack North Country Association
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Adirondack North Country Association five year strategic plan cover

The Adirondack North Country Association held its annual meeting recently. The focus was the importance of climate justice in the region’s economic and social future.

Two years ago the Adirondack North Country Association, commonly referred to as ANCA, focused its meeting on climate leadership. Last year racial justice and diversity in the region took center stage. This year’s theme is the role of climate justice to assure equity in the region.

The Wild Center Director of Climate Initiatives Jen Kretser said climate justice is a growing issue as climate change becomes a human rights concern.

“It’s affecting communities that are marginalized. It’s affecting communities where, primarily BIPOC communities so Black, Indigenous and People of Color. It’s affecting the elderly. It’s affecting youth. It’s affecting women. There are compromised health and financial burdens and social and cultural disruptions that these groups are facing, that we’re all facing," said Kretser. "Climate justice yes it’s a term. But more than that it’s actually it’s a movement that acknowledges that climate change can have differing social, economic, public health and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Director of the Office of Environmental Justice Alanah Keddel-Tuckey reminded attendees there is a statewide Climate Justice Working Group.

“The goal of the Climate Justice Working Group is to establish and identify criteria that will determine what disadvantaged communities are for the purpose of targeting co-pollutant reduction and greenhouse gas emissions reduction in these communities.”

NYSERDA Clean Energy Transportation Group Assistant Director Adam Ruder has been working to advance electric vehicle infrastructure in the state. He says equity and climate justice are an important element in changing transportation.

“Transportation has been a major source of local pollution especially in disadvantaged and overburdened communities. Mitigating this pollution is a major goal of ours and electrifying transportation is an important part of this. Many low and moderate income car buyers are buying used cars. And with EV’s they’re new enough that there are very few used EV’s on the market," said Ruder. "So figuring out how to get new technologies, new clean technologies, into the hands of a broader cross section of New Yorkers is critical to our success and critical to be able to addressing equity and climate justice within the transportation sector.”

Foodshed Capital co-founder Michael Reilly offers loans to Virginia farms and businesses and has now entered into a partnership with ANCA. He says the non-profit works with small family farms that have difficulty accessing capital. He said these types of efforts are an increasing focus of climate justice.

“Inherent in our mission is just this ethos around creating a resilient local food economy. These farms that we are working with are focused on soil health and biodiversity. Developing prosperity not just in rural areas but we see a real strong growth in urban farming now. And food security is so critical," Said Reilly. "When we started out most of the talk was around climate change. And then of course when COVID-19 broke out a lot of folks turned to local food and recognized that’s an option that is available to them that they hadn’t considered before.”

The meeting included staff reports on ANCA’s activities over the past year including the creation of a new five-year strategic plan.

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