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Exec McCoy, officials declare Earth Month in Albany County

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy (second from right) with local officials at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center on Grand Street
Alexander Babbie
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy (second from right) with local officials at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center on Grand Street

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy declared Earth Month in Albany County as part of a greater push to promote green initiatives in the county.

Speaking at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center on Grand Street, the Democrat stressed the importance of environmental stewardship, saying his goal is to make the county more environmentally friendly.

“I want to be the greenest county in the state of New York, the greenest county in the nation, and having a partnership with the legislature and everyone else like the Radix Center and DEC and a variety of other people that we’re gonna get to, that’s how you get it done," McCoy said.

The community garden and education center is located on the site of a former parking lot in Albany’s South End, an area deemed a food desert.

Scott Kellogg, Educational Director for the Center, spoke about its mission and projects.

“Radix is an urban environmental education center. We're building a demonstration site of sustainable tools and technologies here designed to teach urban residents with a particular focus on youth how to have greater local access and control over food production, waste management, energy production, emphasizing systems that are simple and affordable, and teaching ecological literacy to area youth. We’re about to begin a program where we’re having every kindergarten in Albany School District coming to visit us over the months of May and June, so we’re really excited about doing that. We run an after-school youth employment program that then turns into the ecojustice associate summer program. We also run the community composting initiative working to keep food waste out of the landfill and composting and turning it back into soil in partnership with the City of Albany,” Kellogg explained.

Albany County Legislator Bill Reinhardt, a Democrat from the 33rd District and chair of the Conservation Committee, said that, while people once considered environmentalism and Earth Day a one-time deal, conversation requires constant action.

“Every day is Earth Day. That's the phrase everyone has to put into their brain, and not think about, ‘Oh, this is something I do on the weekends, or this is something I do, you know, once a year,'" Reinhardt said. "We have to think about this all the time. And what Radix is doing here is saying ‘This is how you do it. This is how you live it all the time.’”

McCoy added that a month of activity is just a starting point.

“It’s only been since 1970 that we dedicated a day to highlight the importance of our environment, and we went from one day to doing it for a month, which makes sense, right? But we really should be doing it year-round, because it’s so important to continue to get the message out there why it’s important," the county executive noted.

McCoy is also spearheading an initiative to get sturdy insulated reusable bags into grocery stores and homes across Albany County.

The green bags with the words “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” on one side feature art by Nyla Brown, a junior at The Albany Academy for Girls, whose work won a contest.

“Earth Day to me just means that everybody works together to help better the Earth, and even small changes can make such a big impact when we all do it together," Brown said.

McCoy says the bags will be distributed by the Radix Center and by the County Office on State Street.

Reinhardt says environmentalism needs widespread action and participation.

“We can all do things wherever we live, to make a difference. And that's important. And the policy that Dan talks about," Reinhardt said. "That's also important, this is not just a do-it-yourself solution. We need policy at every level, we need action by everybody. And then we can solve this problem.”

McCoy remarked that politics should be set aside when it comes to the warming climate.

“Take the politics out of it, and try to, and really look at the science. We need to make changes; we need to make changes a long time ago. But this is another step in the right direction, working together for the environment, to take that carbon footprint to get rid of it, and to do things that we can within our powers to change stuff around us, and that’s what it’s all about." McCoy said.

Earth Day is April 22nd.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.