New York leads the country with ambitious climate goals – acting on those depends partly on local volunteer task forces

August, 2022

By Cayte Bosler 

In 2019, a dark and stormy Halloween pelted record-shattering rains across Upstate New York. Winds topped over 60 miles per hour, tearing out trees and knocking out power for thousands. Heavy flooding poured through homes and over roads, leading to closures across the North Country. Carolyn Koestner, a New York native, was driving to the village of Saranac Lake when the storm hit, forcing her to delay. 

“Climate change almost kept me from moving upstate,” said Koestner, who now lives in Saranac Lake working as an environmental scientist. “I’m a lifelong New Yorker. I grew up on the Long Island Sound and lived through Sandy. I’ve experienced how climate change driven events are moving from the southern part of the state to upstate and how it’s happening as a whole.” 

The frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events have increased across the region because of climate drivers like increased precipitation in the atmosphere, according to New York’s Environmental Protection Bureau. 

“When I arrived, I searched for ways to become involved in climate change action, having seen firsthand how devastating the effects can be,” said Koestner. “It was important for me to be able to work locally alongside others in my community to help move climate projects forward to lessen our impact on the planet and to be prepared for how climate change will affect Saranac Lake.”

The opportunity she found is called the Climate Smart Community program. 

Read the full article in the Adirondack Explorer.

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