It is imperative for all of us to commit to protecting our environment, reducing our carbon footprint, and taking on the challenges we are facing as a community, a country and a planet as our climate changes. We are all responsible for meeting the challenge, we are all responsible for taking climate action.
North Hempstead is a town with many wetlands, bays, harbors, and coves while sitting on top of the great Magothy Aquifer from which we get all of our drinking water along with the rest of Long Island. Water is precious in our town and just one of the subjects on which I have focused when I previously served as town supervisor.
When we speak of the environment, we are speaking of more than the natural beauty that encompasses our town. Environment is also the air we breathe, the resources we consume, the climate we endure and the world we inhabit. Everything we do, therefore, is done in the context of how it impacts our environment. We may not be able to create a perfectly sustainable world, but we can try…and we can make a difference with every effort we make.
I believe in a three-pronged approach to protecting our environment. First, we must fully understand the impact on our environment caused by virtually everything we do. Every policy, project, town code, local law, everything that we do has an environmental impact. It is our job to understand what that impact is with the goal of reducing, negating or mitigating negative impacts.
Second, we must look to find solutions, alternatives, or mitigation techniques to make sure that we are either creating a sustainable foundation for what we are doing or we are, at least, moving reasonably in that direction.
Third, we must find partners, allies and friends. This means partnering with individuals; organizations, local institutions, agencies, and businesses; and also other governments, be they local villages, neighboring towns, our county, our state or our federal government.
In my various roles in government, I have created dozens of programs, projects and policies that move us towards greater sustainability or, at least, mitigate damage that is caused by reasons beyond my control. In no particular order, I created or adopted the following:
- School Recycling Project
- Wetlands restoration – Newburger Cove
- Wetlands restoration – Mill Pond
- Wetlands restoration – Gerry Park Pond
- Wetland restoration
- Rain Barrel Program
- Trassion Show
- Sheets Creek Clean up
- Renewable Energy purchase
- Conversion to Hybrid Fleet
- Conversion to Electric Fleet
- Platinum Leed Certified Community Center (Yes We Can – Westbury)
- Open Space Referendum
The breadth and depth of the programs I created or pursued show, I believe, my commitment to the environment in every sense of what that word means.
The stakes today are higher than they have ever been. We are now not only trying to make a difference in our own local community, but showing the way for municipalities throughout our region, state and country to take seriously the dangers that looms over our planet if we fail to change course now, in real time, today.
In 2012, I hosted the Town’s first-ever “trashion” show, which featured recycled apparel designed and created by students from the nine school districts participating in the school recycling program. The event was an enormous success and continued past my tenure as Town Supervisor.
I plan to regularly coordinate with the many devoted environmental organizations in our town to ease the permitting process for clean-up events and eco-aware celebrations.