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Climate Smart Task Force

Working with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties (CCE), the City of Hudson announces the creation of a Climate Smart Task Force to pursue certification in the NYS Climate Smart Communities Program. The task force will begin by conducting an assessment, identifying what the City has been or is doing and what actions are priorities to take next. The final step in the process will be to submit the documentation and request certification as a Climate Smart Community (CSC).

CCE will provide technical expertise and administrative support for the task force. This project is a program of CCE in partnership with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, NY Water Resources Institute, and Cornell University with support from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.

“Climate change will have devastating impacts and the City of Hudson must reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson. “We must prepare for a changing climate by identifying and deploying adaptation strategies. It’s an added benefit that many of these climate strategies will save money over the long-term.”

In addition to the assessment and submission for certification, CCE will work with the city of Hudson to create a flood guide and road stream crossing management plan. These projects count as actions in the CSC program and are important to sustainability planning in the City of Hudson, especially with increasingly intense weather events and rising waters of climate change.

“CCE is deeply committed to supporting our local communities and very proud to work with the City of Hudson to achieve these immensely beneficial Climate Smart Community project goals,” CCE stated.

The CSC program offers a variety of benefits to the City including cost savings through greater efficiency, greater energy independence, and security as well as streamlined access to resources. In addition to the environmental and planning benefits, the city of Hudson would be recognized as a leader with higher scores on grant applications and eligibility for funding opportunities.

Mayor Johnson is appointing Mayor's Aide Michael Chameides to chair the Climate Smart Communities Task Force and to serve as the Climate Smart Coordinator. Chameides has worked on several city initiatives and has also collaborated with state and federal elected officials and departments. He has professional experience with environmental advocacy, communications, strategic planning, and operations. He serves on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors and has been an advocate for public transportation, parks, and a clean Hudson River.

“Sustainability is a top priority for myself and the Mayor,” says Chameides. “This task force is an important opportunity to create an institutional commitment to a sustainable future. The Covid-19 crisis shows us the importance of following science and the need for planning and preventive action.”

Also serving on the Task Force will be Kam Bellamy, Michael O’Hara, John Rosenthal, Briggin Scharf, and Tony Stone. The Task Force includes members of Hudson’s executive branch, legislative branch, and Conservation Advisory Council as well as community members with a background and passion for environmentalism.

Kam Bellamy spent the bulk of her adult life living in intentional communities in which residents grew and produced much of their own food and shared income, cars, and houses. She is the President of the Board of Camphill Hudson as well as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Agricultural Integrity, a private foundation dedicated to the promotion of regenerative agriculture and restorative communities. Bellamy was recently accepted to the Yale School of Management and will matriculate this summer in pursuit of an Executive MBA with a focus on Sustainability.

Michael O’Hara is an environmental policy advocate who engages with elected officials at the local, state, and national levels to support actions to create a more livable environment. He worked on the Hudson Cool Cities committee in 2006 which produced a baseline energy inventory for the city which led to the signing of the “U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement” by the mayor of Hudson. He has worked in finance and sales of solar electric systems and was the operations director at Sustainable Hudson Valley and former Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Hudson. He is a founding member of Columbia County Futures, a local community development organization. O’Hara also serves on Hudson’s Conservation Advisory Council.

John Rosenthal serves on the Common Council and chairs the Legal Committee and Department of Public Works Committee. He is also a historical writer, researcher, and screenwriter.

Briggin Scharf celebrates the ecosystems of the Hudson River Watershed through agriculture and outdoor education. They are a founding member of Rolling Grocer 19, a collective committed to increasing food access for everyone in Columbia County, They also manage Kite's Nest's ReGen Program which empowers youth leaders for environmental, social, and food justice.

Tony Stone, a co-founder of Basilica Hudson and River House Project, is a filmmaker whose films have been exhibited worldwide at film festivals and released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures. He has worked on numerous green energy projects, focusing on converting historic buildings to be carbon neutral without any fossil fuel usage.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia and Greene Counties puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. We bring local experience and research-based solutions together, helping Columbia and Greene County families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world.

The Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987 through the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and adjacent watershed from the federal dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City.

For more information on CCE of Columbia and Greene Counties and other program offerings, visit their website Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.