City Of Plattsburgh Considers Joining Climate Smart Communities

Apr 19, 2019

The Plattsburgh Common Council is considering join hundreds of New York communities that have signed the state’s Climate Smart Communities pledge. The Plattsburgh Sustainability Committee plans to hold an Earth Day program at city hall on Monday evening to urge councilors to sign the climate smart pledge.

Climate Smart Communities is a voluntary New York state program that certifies local governments that act on 10 elements to mitigate climate change. Among the actions communities pledge to accomplish: decrease energy use, climate-smart land use, support green innovation economy, inventory emissions and plan for climate action.  

During this week’s Plattsburgh Common Council meeting, Ward 1 Democrat Rachelle Armstrong offered a resolution for initial consideration that calls on the city to adopt the pledge.  “Once we are engaged in this we’ll immediately begin to embark on some kind of goal setting and action taking and we’ll be well on our way to certification as a Climate Smart Community.”

Mayor Colin Read wants to encourage residents to install solar despite the city’s low electric rates.  “We want to try to put together a Plattsburgh energy plan. The theory here is that if we can create more conservation amongst our residents and commercial operators that gives us a little more headroom for the lower quota to attract new businesses and industry too.  So conservation will also translate into more jobs and economic activity. ”

The Plattsburgh Sustainability Committee will hold an Earth Day program Monday evening to educate the public about and urge the council to give final approval to the pledge. The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program Coordinator Jen Kretzer will discuss how young people can work with communities on sustainability initiatives.  “They want to partner with the adults that are leading their communities on things that are important to them. And one of the things that is really important to young people right now is climate change. And they want to see their communities be healthy and succeed.”

Last year Saranac Lake signed the Climate Smart Community Pledge. Village trustee and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Patrick Murphy pushed for the board to adopt the pledge because it makes a municipality think strategically about the environment.  “It’s going to be not only a long-term commitment but it runs the gambit of all sorts of different things that might affect climate and might help us become resilient to climate change. It’s important for us to be able to think in that holistic manner and commit for the future.”

Saranac Lake Climate Smart Community Coordinator and Wild Center Climate and Communities Coordinator Erin Griffin  says the Climate Smart Community Pledge is a flexible and adaptable way for communities to address climate change.  “Once the village of Saranac Lake signed the pledge they became registered as a Climate Smart Community. And then you have to complete a certain amount of actions to then become certified. The program includes a whole comprehensive list of actions and each of them equate to a different amount of points and once you reach 120 points of actions that you’ve completed you can apply to be a certified Climate Smart Community.”

The Plattsburgh Sustainability Committee Earth Day Program begins Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall Auditorium.

There are currently 253 registered Climate Smart communities across New York including Albany, Kingston, Schroon Lake, and Lake Placid.