Hudson Valley Environmental Groups Gather to Discuss Climate Change

by Duncan Gilchrist

On Wednesday June 15th, theatres all across the country issued a call to action in the form of a documentary titled ‘Time to Choose’. Environmental organizations from the Hudson Valley gathered together at the Rosendale Theatre for a showing of the film and a post screening discussion. Directed by documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson, Time to Choose was a startling reminder of the havoc that greenhouse-gas-emitting activity is wreaking on human life and on our natural systems. Stunning visual shots of Earth’s landscapes reminded us all of the unspeakable green and blue beauty of the planet we inhabit.

To balance the painfully graphic account of disaster (mountaintop removal, deforestation, tragic human health consequences like black lung, cancer and brain tumors) the film also spoke of solutions; the quickening pace of wind and solar energy deployment, the promisingly high yields of agroecological food production, the potential for cities to be haven’s of sustainable innovation and certainly not the least important; the power of people united together. As my fellow Solarize intern Frank put it, ”The film was an excellent introduction for those who are not familiar with climate issues and a great refresher for those who were familiar.” We agreed: the film spoke to a greater audience than just ‘the choir’.


How to Solve the Climate Crisis In One Million Easy Steps:

A lively discussion followed the film. How do we communicate the urgency of the global climate crisis and breakthrough to a sustainable future on Earth? The crowd pop-corned answers. We must engage and educate our children from an early age, many concurred. We’re gonna have to persist in the face of apathy and stubborn barriers to change. We will have to deepen the solidarity between our various movements. We’ll have to get creative with our messaging strategies; give concrete examples of climate change, tell tangible stories, appeal to emotion and the inherent motive within humans to protect their people and their place.

We seemed to all be on the same page that the solution to the global climate crisis will not be a silver bullet, but rather a silver buckshot. The people who engaged in the discussion spoke of not one, but many solutions. The answer lies in developing a climate change curriculum for kids while
reforming our electoral system while stopping the next invasive pipeline while advocating for local organic food on our college campuses, all at once.

Solidarity for the Sake of a Habitable Planet

All in all, the screening and discussion was a huge success. “Seeing different people from environmental organizations all over the Hudson Valley was truly an inspiring moment. I feel like I have a better awareness of just how many people care, and a bit more hope for the future,” reflected Solarize intern, Julie Settembrino. I felt the same way. It is a realization we have been searching for.

As we packed up and left the Theatre I felt slightly more confident that perhaps, against formidable odds, humanity would overcome the global climate crisis. Although it is too soon to tell if we will succeed at taming the destabilization of Earth’s climate, one thing is for sure; the more we collaborate on a regional level, the more likely our collective success will be.

In the spirit of collaboration, a list of ally organizations will be posted shortly. Check out their work. Check out their solutions. The Hudson Valley is up to some amazing things.