Thank you to Sustainable Westchester for including Jay Heritage Center in yesterday’s Zero Emissions Summit at ASF + Scandinavia House The Speakers which included Bedford 2020 ‘s Chris Burdick and fellow Sustainable Westchester Board member Joe Carvin were inspiring and enpowering. Just three years ago, the Jay Heritage Center, Sarah Goddard, founder of Rye’s Sustainability Committee, Carvin and other members of Sustainable Westchester first gathered with Tapio Kanninen, President of Global Crisis Information Network, Inc . and Jouni Keronen, Executive Director, Climate Leadership Council of Finland, Co-founder, Stormwarning Association to discuss the future of similar collaborations.
One of our favorite keynote comments was delivered by H. E. Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland who singled out his success with geothermal technology: “Citizens’ role is much more important than many think. I made my own Citizens Climate Pledge two years ago. My carbon footprint reduction campaign began already a few years before the pledge, when I had a geothermal heating system installed in our home. This cut our electricity consumption by about half.”
It was also an honor to hear Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change UNFCCC speak: “This meeting is about how to achieve the climate targets established in the Paris agreement and their sustainable development objectives.” She continued, “This is about how YOU can make a difference. Here are just three examples of how YOU can reduce your carbon footprint. One, by using green energy for heating and cooling. Second, by using public transportation or low emission cars… And third, by purchasing sustainable products and producing less waste. Remember, one of the most influential tools each of you has is your purchasing power.”
Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union reminded the audience “if we are going to succeed in what we are trying to do, that is mitigating the drastic effects of climate change, it is important that the citizens be at the table. It is important that we change the discourse from when it comes to development from just promoting economic growth but looking at other aspects that contribute to the well being of the people.”
The Jay Mansion is the oldest National Historic Landmark in New York State and was the first National Historic Landmark structure in Westchester County to be fitted with a geothermal heating and cooling system. Con Edison has been a terrific partner in building educational programs around our sustainable initiatives! For over ten years, thousands of students and visitors have been participating in our citizen modeled programs like “Stewardship through Smart Choices”, “Our Footprints Matter” and most recently “ICAN – Initiating Civic Advocacy Now.” Copies of our newest brochures were shared with participants yesterday.