In the wake of a devastating year that – between workplace shutdowns, virtual learning and social distancing – forced countless individuals into isolation, many of us have found a renewed appreciation for the solace and beauty of the natural environment around us. I know my wife and I have appreciated the time we’ve been able to spend hiking the many trails at Green Lakes State Park. And it has made us more keenly aware of the work we have to do.
This year marks the 51st Earth Day celebration, an opportunity for us to honor the planet we live on and reaffirm our commitment to preserving our communities for future generations. As the threat of climate change becomes more immediate, it’s more important than ever that we take bold steps to create a more sustainable future. In honor of Earth Day, I helped pass a legislative package in recent days to protect public health and our environment long into the future.
The ever-growing dangers posed by climate change continue to jeopardize our well-being and our economy. In a recent survey, the World Economic Forum found that climate change was the greatest threat to the economy. As chair of the Assembly Small Business Committee and a member of the Economic Development Committee, I’m fighting to support small businesses and families alike by advancing environmental protection legislation that will help our businesses transition to green energy and protect our natural resources.
To that end, I helped pass legislation that will support New York’s zero-emissions goals for the transportation industry, including the goal that all in-state sales of new cars and trucks be zero-emissions by 2035, as well as a measure to increase electric vehicle accessibility through a more flexible billing system to help reduce the state’s carbon footprint (A.4302; A.3876). I also helped passed a bill that would decrease the use of products on our roadways that contain chemicals that are harmful to our families and the environment (A.903). And, to help reduce single-use plastic waste that fills our landfills and pollutes our environment, I supported a measure prohibiting hotels from providing small hospitality bottles for personal care products (A.5082).
While passing these bills is an important step forward, legislation isn’t the only way to protect our environment. Just last weekend, I hosted a successful e-recycling event at which over 200,000 pounds of electronics were collected – enough to fill 11 tractor trailers. If you missed that event, there will be another one held Aug. 14 at East Syracuse-Minoa High School. You can preregister at Sunnking.com.
Events like these help divert harmful materials from our landfills and allow us to responsibly recycle these products. I’m also hosting a “Canal Clean Sweep” event as part of a larger effort to clean the Erie Canal area on Saturday, April 24, at the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, Manlius Center. If you would like to participate in this event or learn more, visit ptny.org/events/canal-clean-sweep or contact my office at 315.452.1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.
As the weather warms up, there are many local spaces where people can explore the great outdoors, including Pratt’s Falls Park in Manlius, Oneida Shores Park in Cicero and Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville. To learn more about trails and parks in Central New York, visit nyassembly.gov/mem/Al-Stirpe/story/93774. Happy Earth Day.