Against a backdrop of national and global climate politics that grew more and more strained, Sustainable Hudson Valley's 2010 was a year of determined work to establish a local model for activating communities, and a regional framework for scaling it up.
We launched the 10% Challenge with pilot partners Red Hook and Warwick.
We lived and breathed the Challenge and its underlying principles of social marketing. We canvassed with Americorps and secured energy planning software from Clean Air - Cool Planet. We were thrilled to have Central Hudson as our initial TeraWatt Sponsor financing the most challenging part of the Challenge, the startup. We had photo-ops with political and business leaders. We created raffles and giveaways to encourage actual home energy planning. With a stock logo and a bold banner, we sat at outreach tables and pitched participation on the radio. We watched our community partners gain steam and, with our thanks, make SHV's work lighter.
At the same time, we received inquiries from communities throughout the region, and began a circuit to share the Challenge framework with the next wave of friendly competitors. As the year wound down, we took a tough look at the whirlwind of activity and the relatively small number of committed households, and ended 2010 with Ten Days of Commitment, leading the schools, Chamber, town and village governments and faith communities to make specific leadership commitments. We watched the needle move in Red Hook, which now has over 300 household commitments to the 10% Challenge toward their goal of 1,000.
On a parallel path, we worked with the steering committee of the Resource Center for Sustainable Communities and our mentor organization, the Netherlands Institute for City Innovation Studies, to firm up this program design. We used Omega Institute's annual In-Service Week retreat to convene state agency, county and local government and academic partners. When the federal government made competitive grant funds available through its Partnership for Sustainable Communities, our county planning partners were ready and so were we; the Resource Center became part of the Mid-Hudson Valley Regional Planning Partnership to create a framework for 21st century development in priority growth areas, "Re-Centering a Region at the Metropolitan Edge." The Resource Center team also advised a working group in Poughkeepsie, the Upper Landing Committee, on options for restoring two valuable historic buildings owned by the city, to create an international center for sustainable innovation and commerce.
In 2010, SHV's home base, Kingston, took a step forward by translating its Climate Smart Community and Green Jobs Pledge into a gameplan, hiring a staff coordinator, and creating a task force to implement the plan. SHV was brought in to coordinate the Green Innovations Committee, working with The Solar Energy Consortium, the city's Main Street Manager, the Rural Ulster Preservation Company and other partners. A vision of a green corridor along Broadway, a long-time dream, began to look possible.
SHV worked with SUNY's Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium to open five resource centers in the counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Sullivan. Serving as portals to the entire community on green job training and career support, the resource centers are backed up by a section of SHV's website where job trends, training resources, and program opportunities are posted. People interested in clean energy trades, but unsure of their math or electrical background, can use online assessment tools available through this portal, and receive personal feedback from SUNY staff. Building on this relationship, SHV's Executive Director, Melissa Everett, Ph.D., was invited to co-design and teach SUS 101, a creadit-bearing course at SUNY Dutchess.
2010 was a year of planning, piloting, capacity building and relationship development. Financially lean yet creatively rich, it set the stage for a 2011 of inspired action.