Croton100’s Progress in the Midst of the Coronavirus
By: Patty L. Buchanan
Welcome to Croton100’s first blog post! Follow this page for news about Croton100’s activities and actions that are percolating in the broader climate stability space. This week we write to bring you up to speed on progress that we have made hunkered down from our homes while the Coronavirus rages all around us in the New York metropolitan area. It has not been easy. We grieve for the loss of lives lived in our communities, pray for those who toil in essential services and for those who have been stricken by this virus, ruminate about the loss of jobs, commiserate in the uncertainty facing businesses, share in the fear of what the future has yet to bring, stir in the shelter of our homes and patiently await recovery from this calamity. Through it all, we continue building momentum for Croton100’s mission as best we can, as we must. The Coronavirus crisis does not diminish the urgency of the environmental crisis.
We were delighted by the enthusiastic support we received at Croton100’s historic Launch Event on February 29, just days before the Coronavirus ripped through our lives. Because of the extraordinary interest and opportunity for momentum, we did not “lock-down” our mission. Instead, we jumped on virtual conference calls to build partnerships with carbon-reduction leaders including NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), Sustainable Westchester, Bedford2020, and other neighboring communities that want to replicate Croton100’s climate action plan. Our nascent partnerships are galvanizing around Croton100’s Carbon Tracker tool that made its stage debut at our Launch Event. This tool allows users to instantly learn their carbon footprint in annual metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent, which includes methane and other greenhouse gases) and provides carbon reduction guidance and money saving tips in easy to follow step-down graphics. The Carbon Tracker, which rests on the five pillars of emissions from transportation, heating, electricity, food and waste, and goods and services, will have a major new release on April 15 with enhanced ease-of-use, intuitiveness and the ability to run on mobile devices and tablets.
We have been gathering in virtual meetings with our partners to demo the app, receive feedback for improvements, and discuss ways to integrate it into decarbonizing campaigns in furtherance of the goals of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and the IPCC imperatives to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. We are excited by the positive responses we have received following demos of the Carbon Tracker, including comments like, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” and “It is so easy to use!”
It gets even better! Within 30 days of Croton100’s Launch, our neighboring community heeded the call to replicate our model. With our collaboration, Yorktown100 was launched (see https://yorktown100.org). Accepting that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, we are humbled by Yorktown100’s name, website design, organizational building blocks and passionate members. The Yorktown100 Team is eagerly participating in virtual meetings with Croton100 and Sustainable Westchester to discuss how we can partner to implement shared goals in our key strategic Operations in 2020 to reduce carbon in our communities.
Yorktown100 plans to deploy Croton100’s unique Carbon Tracker app to accomplish its mission. We are inspired by the professional team Yorktown100 has assembled and its speed in taking root. Next on the block, discussions have started with Sustainable Putnam.
We are energized by our fellow Croton100 volunteers who have worked together to make such rapid progress. Members have already stepped up to lead all of the carbon reduction campaigns in 2020. We have demonstrated that our carbon reduction efforts will not be slowed by social distancing. We can, and will, make daily progress toward Croton100’s goals of 5% emissions reduction per year and growing Croton100’s impact beyond zip code 10520.