River Summer 2010 Sustainability Commitments

As part of River Summer 2010, participants from each module were asked to read one of three books that addressed some of the larger issues challenging our movement towards a more sustainable future.

Module 1 - The Bridge at the Edge of the World By Gus Speth
Module 2 - The End of Nature By Bill McKibben
Module 3 - The Right Relationship By Peter Brown

In addition, all participants were asked to read "The Death of Environmentalism: Global Warming Politics in a Post-Environmental World” By Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus
As we traveled along the river, participants considered and discussed how topics addressed in these books connected to our activities on the river and our daily lives. During the wrap up discussions for Modules 2 and 3, the summer participants articulated THREE personal pledges on how they could make a change in their lives and behavior to move towards a more sustainable way of life. These pledges are listed here.

Perhaps each reader could consider making their own pledge to take action, empowering us as individuals to assume responsibility for our behavior and our future. We look forward to following up with our River Summer participants to see how their commitments have played out in the next few months.
Module 2
  • Drive less – telecommute 2 times a week
  • Change diet to include more local veggies and fruits – 3 vegan days/week
  • Plant native trees and work/home – 3 this fall
  • Stimulate conversation with topics like bioethics with our youth to increase science literacy
  • Use dramatic photos like our RS photos (quarry etc.) to impact and engage students
  • Investigate solar options for home
  • More effort to eradicate alien species from my yard
  • Educate students
  • Community human resource assessment program
  • Community energy audit
  • Design/buy and install home energy monitoring system
  • Change hot water system (Tankless/solar)
  • Attic fan
  • Make more effort to purchase items from adjacent states to decrease shipping
  • Buy domestic
  • Try to impact others into changing their behavior
  • Support organizations promoting sustainability (Join Clearwater)
  • Walk my talk – think and act more conscientiously about sustainability
  • Introduce students to sustainability concepts (X2 people)
  • Buy locally
  • Plan trips for efficiency (X2)
  • Use less paper – don’t overprint
  • Car pool to work 2 time a week
  • Work with youth groups to set up recycling programs at schools/church (agencies not on the tax roles so not able to use existing recycle programs)

Sustainable Reuse
Walkway Over the Hudson – A Recreational Reuse of a Retired Railroad
Module 3
  • Reduce emissions, reuse plastic bags, recycle
  • Install low flow shower heads or water timer
  • Ask colleagues if someone will commute with me 1 day a week
  • Select alternate energy on my bill (solar, wind etc)
  • Support local growers even in the winter (find them)
  • No 2 cycle or gas power motors (except car)
  • Put up blinds in my living room
  • Buy fewer bottled drinks
  • Install large native plant section and remove portion of lawn
  • Advocate for environmental restoration instead of economic development
  • Review my teaching units and incorporate material into them to teach students what I have learned
  • Biodiversity – use natural manure (compost) instead of commercial – natural predator instead of pesticides
  • Learn how to use my composter
  • Come back to Ulster County to USE the environmental resources available – learn, experience, enjoy!
  • Eat less processed food
  • Plant a kitchen garden on my small sunny section of my property after testing for heavy metals and probably building raised beds (with non treated wood of course)
  • Tead and learn more about Hudson watershed, aim to become more engaged
  • Create a personal energy, water budget and monitor consumption
  • Conserve more power at home – blinds, ceiling fans, unplugging
  • I will incorporate more about the river and geology into my work with students
  • Car pool to work 2 Xs week
  • Reduce lawn size by 25%
  • Get more involved in local politics
  • Take advantage of the solar thermal incentives for a new hot water heater – NYSERDA

Sustainable Reuse
Time & Space Limited - TSL - Community reuse of old bread factory