2009 Highlights

This year, Sustainable Hudson Valley advanced the region's response to climate change and the growth of the green economy with a full plate of projects:

Dutch delegation organizer Thea Groeneveld and Quadricentennial Executive Director Tara Sullivan. GREEN ECONOMY

Green Talent Pipeline: In a seven county partnership, we mapped out the growth areas for green jobs and laid out recommendations for adaptiveness in the work force development system. A key recommendation was to bring job training programs out of the classroom, into the communities aiming to go green, using hands-on demonstration projects and employer partnerships to the advantage of local projects, businesses and job-seekers alike. We also called for greatly expanded continuing education for the engineers, architects, and other skilled professionals, to help green employers work more profitably and to create a stronger support system for entrepreneurs.

"I am proud to include Melissa Everett, the Executive Director of Sustainable Hudson Valley, as one of my primary "go to" people on matters relating to team building, process management, consensus building, or sustainability. I would have to give Melissa and SHV much credit for my awareness and personal involvement. I am pleased to share that we recently proposed a new tax policy for our local IDA that incorporates many of the teachings of SHV." -- Alice Dickinson, Chair, Montgomery IDA

Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium: With the community college systems of five counties and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, we are opening five resource centers to help under-served working people access new opportunities. The first resource center opened at SUNY Ulster in December with a packed house.

CLIMATE ACTION

Outreach for Action: We kept working in an informal but energetic coalition of agencies and nonprofits to get the word out about the climate crisis and local action. SHV staff addressed forums that included the Town of Bedford's local summit with over 1,000 participants; the spring meeting of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability; October National Teach-in events for the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and the League of Women Voters; local forums from Somers to Kingston. We saw more and more receptive audiences, and not a skeptic in the mix. We also held the second annual strategy retreat for local leaders, thanks to Omega Institute's "In-Service Week" program. As the Copenhagen summit reaches its climax at year end, SHV is organizing an ambitious campaign for local action, the Ten Percent Challenge.

Local "buck stops" climate change responders, including mayors and environmental commission members, join Operations Director Michael O'Hara for a strategy and renewal session.

Rising Waters: Helping to lead a coalition with over 100 stakeholders from government, industry and key institutions, we wrestled with the unpreventable aspects of climate change and made seven key recommendations for emergency preparedness, long-range planning, and new kinds of leadership to create more resilient communities. Coalitions on emergency preparedness, shoreline protection, and community outreach are now being formed.

Kingston Green Trail: This community development alliance, with leadership from the Conservation Advisory Council and SHV, got Kingston's Common Council to adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge with commitment to a green jobs strategy for the city. We also took advantage of a fast-moving opportunity to help the Seven21 Media Center, at the head of the Green Trail, to advance the dream of a green roof to cool and beautify its old industrial building. A training with roofing entrepreneur Tim Barrett brought over 30 architects, engineers, landscape architects and others up to the roof being outfitted as a garden and training center.

SHV Executive Director Melissa Everett at Quadricentennial finale event, "Tot Ziens" (til we meet again)

Partnership for the Next 100 Years: We spent much of the year in a behind-the-scenes exploration of relationships with Dutch innovation centers to advance the agenda summed up in our October conference, "The Next Economy: Multi-Cultural, Innovative and Green," with funding from the Quadricentennial Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both visitors and hosts got to see themselves with fresh eyes. We learned how difficult it is for Dutch guests, with their advanced water purification technologies, to get used to our chlorinated drinking water. We also recognized the value of our multi-cultural tradition, seen through the eyes of visitors whose communities are struggling with that challenge. In preparation for a followup conference in Amsterdam in March 2010, Sustainable Hudson Valley is organizing working groups in three areas: sustainable energy, water and materials management.

But the most exciting development is not a specific project; it is a new platform for engaging with communities to create a higher-impact alliance for climate action and green development. Sustainable Hudson Valley is reinventing itself substantially to provide a platform for direct communication and collaboration for many grassroots projects, using social networking tools and an intriguing model for knowledge-sharing from the Netherlands. Rather than limiting our impact to the projects our small staff can do directly, SHV will help the region's network of a thousand leaders to find each other and create a high-impact alliance for climate action and green development.