Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's Getting Easier Being Green

Schenectady's always had two things going for it, even during the worst of times. First, of course, it will always be known as the birthplace of General Electric, a company that continues to be a significant player in the local economy.

Second, this city can boast of being the home to an active, committed citizenry. Schenectadians get involved, speak up and take action, whether it be to clean up a neighborhood park or to save the world.

It's the latter task on which a number of local individuals and organizations have embarked. Schenectady residents and activists -- including Mayor Stratton and the City Council -- have taken on global warming. Of course, they're not alone in this effort. Municipalities and volunteer groups around the world are leading the way in raising awareness and reducing carbon ommissions. Al Gore may have made the issue sexxy, but it's folks at the grassroots who are getting it done.

Two related events are coming up that deserve our notice and support. On Monday, March 10, the Healthy Schools Network and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (chaired by our good friend Paul Tonko) are sponsoring a community forum about "greening our schools." Participants -- and that includes parents, teachers and concerned citizens -- will discuss ways that schools can become healthier, cleaner, more energy efficient and sustainable. Scheduled panelists are Stephen Boese, HSN director in New York state; Carl Thurnau from the state Education Department; and Matt Brown of NYSERDA. The forum begins at 7 p.m. in Room FA 14 at Schenectady High School. And kudos to the Schenectady Board of Education and Superintendent Eric Ely for their support of this important conversation.

Two days later, on March 12 in Robb Alley at Proctors Theatre, the Climate Change Coalition of Schenectady County will host a program entitled "Greening Schenectady," with a focus on "green" construction and development. Speakers will be Phillip Morris of Proctors, Mona Golub of the Golub Corporation and NYSERDA staff. That program begins at 7 p.m.

Both of these events are indicative of the commitment the people of Schenectady have to this vitally imporant issue. And, as a member of the city's Energy Advisory Board, I can tell you that more good things will be happening soon. "At the Keyboard" will keep you posted.

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