NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

OCTOBER 2021
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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This month: Appreciate art in the park, celebrate Vegetarian Month, learn about waste-to-hydrogen, carve those pumpkins, propagate your bulbs, keep stuff working, learn about home energy upgrades, hit the River and join our online meeting Thursday evening, October 7 at 7:00!

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS EASY… JUST COME TO A MEETING!

The Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC) relies on volunteers to keep things moving. We’re a fun and engaging group of like-minded citizens working to make Tarrytown’s air, land, lakes and river healthier and cleaner.Our next meeting will be held via Zoom at 7pm, Thursday, October 7.This month, we’ll hear from some of our committees: Lakes, Landscaping, Energy and Conservation, and Zero Waste.

If any of these committee topics interest you, please feel free to join us!

Zoom Link: CLICK HERE

IN THE OPEN AIR:
A PLEIN-AIR PAINT-OUT
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The Village of Tarrytown is holding its first Plein Air Paint Out event at Pierson Park on the Hudson, Saturday, October 9, starting at 9 am.  Paintings done that day will be offered to the public at an Auction starting at 4 pm in the Pavilion in the Park.  This is your chance to own a beautiful original piece of art – and meet the artist in the process!

 Artists working in paint media or watercolor will be located around Pierson Park creating the art works which will be auctioned later in the day.  Painting in plein air, in the open air, has long been a treasured artistic tradition.   Visitors to the Park on Saturday will be able to watch as these local masterpieces are being created.

This riverside location, Pierson Park, offers many wonderful opportunities for painters.

The stunning new Tappan Zee Bridge, nearby marinas, the Hudson River itself with its boat traffic, all in the height of autumn colors, provide ample subject matter for painters.

The Village of Tarrytown itself is the very epicenter of Fall in the Hudson Valley with its Old Dutch Church, the Headless Horseman tradition; Kykuit, the Rockefeller family home and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills with its Chagall and Matisse.

To attract artists to this event, art organizations in Westchester and Rockland have been contacted so they can distribute the information about the event to their members and affiliates.

Contact:  Joyce Lannert, Chair, jlannert@optonline.net

UPDATE ON HYDROGEN:
WASTE PAPER SOLUTION?
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By Dean Gallea

In last month’s Newsletter, I refuted the current claims by the industry on the “greenness” of using hydrogen as a transportation fuel. My analysis was based on my research on current production methods, their impacts on carbon fuel use and greenhouse gas release, and their practicality given today’s constraints on renewable energy production.

Well, times change — sometimes daily.

An article in a recent Green Car Reports Daily Digest caught my attention, and it just may blow my assumptions out of the H2O: A California company (doesn’t all energy innovation seem to come from California?) has invented a process that uses waste paper as a gasification feedstock for their hydrogen production process.

Waste gasification has interested the Atlantic Council, a NATO-inspired economic group founded in the 60’s, as a way to further the large-scale production of green hydrogen:

“The gasification of biomass is an alternative clean hydrogen production method, sometimes described as ‘green’ along with renewable electrolysis. If biomass waste is used as the fuel source, this pathway can actually generate carbon-negative hydrogen by avoiding methane emissions from that waste. Biomass gasification operates similarly to coal gasification production of hydrogen, which has been deployed at large scale, but without the associated carbon emissions…. The largest-scale biomass-to-hydrogen plant is currently under construction in Lancaster, California; if the project meets its cost and production targets, this pathway could become a critical piece of the US hydrogen economy.”

The company, SG H2 Energy, has claimed that its process will displace 30 tons of CO2 for every ton of hydrogen produced, which it says is at least 13 tons better than with electrolysis. And it claims its process is much cheaper than electrolysis, competitive with coal gasification. The plant, breaking ground in early 2022, will be co-owned by the city of Lancaster, which will supply the feedstock.

So, let’s watch this technology, with an eye to whether it is as effective and green as is claimed. And, as the Green Car Reports article states, “…the California Energy Commission [reports] that hydrogen could reach price parity with gasoline by 2025. Part of the issue includes not just creating the demand, but creating the infrastructure to distribute it.”

TIPS FOR SUSTAINABILITY:
HAVE A LESS-WASTEFUL HALLOWEEN
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By Annie Kravet

As you start planning for the Halloween festivities, keep the environment in mind! Here are some easy ways to make your Halloween less wasteful:

Pumpkin Carving

If you plan on carving a pumpkin this year, keep it out of the landfill! Once in the landfill, pumpkins release a ton of water and this contributes to groundwater contamination. They also release the greenhouse gas methane as they rot and break down. Once Halloween is over or your Jack-O-Lantern starts to rot, bring it down to the compost bins in the train station parking lot.

Here are some great ideas for what to do with the pumpkin insides you scoop out before carving:

  1. Separate out the seeds, salt them, and roast them in the oven. Healthy and delicious!

  2. Save seeds and plant them in the spring

  3. Save the pulp for cooking (puree it and use for baking, or saute it with onions and other vegetables like celery and garlic, then add water and let it simmer for around 45 minutes to make a flavorful vegetable broth, etc.)

Costumes

Skip the one-time use store bought costume. These usually end up in the landfill after one or two uses. Instead consider a DIY costume made with easily recycled materials or things you already have at home. Or search around at local thrift stores for clothes and accessories. Not feeling creative or don’t have time to put something together? Try looking online for a second hand costume. Try going to swap.com and searching “costumes” for second hand costumes. You can also try Facebook Marketplace and Ebay.

Decorations:

If you plan on decorating your house, use what you already have or try to find second-hand decor. You can make ghosts out of old pillow cases, or set out natural decor like pumpkins and gourds that can be composted instead of tossed in the trash. There are tons of eco friendly ideas out there for Halloween decorations – try searching Pinterest for “eco friendly Halloween” if you would like more inspiration.

DON’T TOSS IT:
GET IT FIXED AT THE REPAIR CAFE
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WAITING FOR SPRING:
THE AUTUMN GARDEN
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By Cynthia Stegman

As fall comes to New York, it is important to prep your garden and set it up for success for the following year. When it comes to adding more specimens to your garden, there are some easy and free options!

Planting native bulbs, tubers and rhizomes in the fall can help get a head start on next year’s blooms.  If you already have growing plants, their pale, underground sections of can be divided up and used to spread new specimens as the plant goes into dormancy following the summer and reawakens when the following spring comes.

By spending the winter in the soil, these plants more easily settle their roots and gather extra energy, and as most of the plant will be dormant with the cooler weather, there is less stress, increasing their odds of survival. They also benefit from a boost in moisture and nutrition as the weather warms, giving them their best chance at growing big and beautiful!

Skip the bulk bags of daffodils, and instead, opt for a native species for your garden. Some choices that are native to the Northeast include bulbs in the Lily family, such as Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganense), Canada Lily (Lilium canadense), Turk’s-Cap Lily (Lilium superbum), and finally, a great option for shady gardens, Prairie Lily (Lilium philadelphicum). Another great choice for shady gardens is Trillium grandiflorum, a short, showy plant that shows off a single, three-petaled flower — but, as a favorite snack of white-tailed deer, this should be planted in secured and fenced gardens to avoid being on the buffet line!

FOR THE FULL ARTICLE, WITH PLANTING DETAILS, CLICK HERE

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Excerpt from last month’s article “The September Garden
By Mai Mai MargulesSeed CollectionThis is a perfect time to collect seed and prepare for new plantings. Natives such as milkweed, echinacea, bee balm, rudbeckia and bee balm are all going to seed now. A general rule is to wait until the seed heads and adjoining stem are brown and dry and seeds come off easily when gently pulled. Once you have removed seed heads, dry them for several days, separate the seeds from the chaff, and store them in paper bags (not plastic, as plastic can allow moisture and mildew to collect). There are lots of great videos on youtube demonstrating the step by step process for identifying and collecting seeds for specific plants.

Propagating milkweed is a priority for many of us as we expand our efforts to save endangered monarchs. Collecting milkweed seeds and separating the seeds from the fluff requires a couple of extra steps and good timing. Mature milkweed seeds in the pod are dark brown; if harvested too early they will be immature and not viable. If you wait until the pod opens the seeds are ripe but you will need to separate the floss from the seed for long term storage, a painstaking activity.

If you have a milkweed pod that shows signs of being mature (dry stem, changing color), gently pull along the pod seam, if ripe it will easily open. Then hold the white fluff in one hand and pull the seeds off with the other. Again, there are many online videos demonstrating the process in detail. Don’t collect seeds from pods that have lots of the red milkweed beetles on them. Once you collect the seeds, dry and store them until you are ready to plant.

Milkweed seeds can be directly sown outdoors in the fall, just cover the seeds with ¼ “ of soil and water.  Milkweed, as well as many other natives, requires a period of cold stratification before being planted in the spring. This is a great winter project which we will discuss in detail in our December newsletter. So if you aren’t ready to plant now, keep your seeds in a cool, dry place until it is time to winter stratify in January.

NOTE: TEAC will be at the TaSH giving away free milkweed seeds on Saturday, October 30 from 8:30am until 1:30pm (or until supplies last), so please stop by our table.

Vegan Recipe of the Month
RED LENTIL AND LEMON SOUPBy Cari NewtonOctober is not just for Halloween and Octoberfest! Every year since the 70’s, World Vegetarian Day is celebrated globally on October 1 and October is Vegetarian Month! The day of honoring those who have chosen to give up meat and anyone curious about going vegetarian kicks off a month-long celebration to bring awareness to vegetarianism. Then in November, we will slide right into Vegan Month to celebrate those who chose to go 100% meat free. If you have been considering going vegetarian or vegan, now is the time! Take October to acclimate yourself with the best recipes and meatless products available now. The environment, your health, your wallet, and the animals will thank you! If you are already a pro at being vegetarian or vegan, give yourself a huge pat on the back for all your efforts in taking care of our planet! Eating less or no meat has HUGE impact on the environment.  You will save water, cut greenhouse gas emissions (and not just CO²!), use less resources, protect natural habitats, and reduce soil, water, and air pollution, to just name a few.

You can get in on this with small actions like participating in Meatless Mondays or try eating only vegan on weekdays. If you want to make the biggest environmental impact, make a complete switch to only plant-based food. But remember, every little bit helps!  If you are just starting out and you feel like you can use a little extra help figuring it all out, find yourself an experienced vegan that is willing to be your “mentor” to help answer any questions you may have. Their experience can provide the best product, recipe, and restaurant recommendations. Also, there are many online and social media resources for information, recipes, support groups, and even fun social groups where you can learn about the best restaurants and vegan products that are available in your area.  As always, your local library is a great place to try out new vegan cookbooks. The Warner Library in Tarrytown has a nice selection to choose from.

This month’s recipe is another crowd pleaser and even liked by most picky eaters. Red Lentil and Lemon Soup by the New York Times. This soup is so delicious that I never make less than a triple batch. Don’t skip the drizzle of olive oil, dash of cayenne pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for a beautiful and tasty garnish!   You can find it here:  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016062-red-lentil-soup-with-lemon

FLOAT WITH THE SUN

LOCAL SOLAR POWERED RIVER EXCURSIONS  

By Rachel Tieger

If you are looking for a quick escape from the crowds of the season, consider popping up to Kingston, New York for a tour on the solar powered boat “Solaris” along the Rondout river. Our tour guide enthusiastically regaled us with stories of the thriving industry along the river of yesteryear, and shared his dream of bringing back sail freight, representing a model of sustainable transit, as a major shipping method. CLICK HERE to meet Solaris

Another great option is to check out the Science barge in downtown Yonkers and learn about their 100% off grid operation run by Groundwork Hudson Valley. The floating, public education center and hydroponics farm, grows a wide variety of produce (using zero herbicides or pesticides), which they donate to the local YWCA. Public weekend tours and private charters are available May through November.  SCIENCE BARGE INFO

MOTHERS OUT FRONT
COMMENTARY: ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES ARE BETTER FOR CHILDREN AND THE PLANET. 

By AMY HILL, Mothers Out Front
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President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal has cleared the Senate and is before the House — and that’s exciting news, especially because one seemingly small element could pay off in such big ways for all of us.

The school bus electrification proposal contained in the legislation would switch at least one-fifth of the country’s ginormous school bus fleet from dirty diesel to cleaner electric buses, producing a big impact on our climate and on our collective national health.

I’m a mother of two, a climate activist and an occupational therapist whose work centers on students with unique needs. From all those perspectives, I believe that the Biden proposal on school bus electrification is perhaps one of the most important — and most achievable — of all the infrastructure improvements in this package.

One of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions is transportation. In New York, transportation is a leading cause of emissions; 36 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, much of it bus transportation.

There are more than 500,000 school buses on the road and more than 26 million riders — our children. That’s a lot of kids at risk. Ninety-five percent of school buses still burn diesel fuel. If students ride an average of 30 minutes each way, they spend 180 hours on diesel-fueled buses each year, breathing various levels of diesel exhaust. Bus drivers breathe this, too. This dirty air, in fact, affects everyone who even comes near a school bus. There is no known “safe level” of exposure to diesel exhaust, especially for children and those who have respiratory illnesses and other health concerns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that one in 10 children has asthma. But among Black and Latino students, the asthma rate increases by more than 50 percent. It’s an issue of health equity, economic justice, and climate justice.

Even as the president’s plan moves toward full approval, we must continue to lift our voices so that our leaders will act decisively and act now.

When funding is finalized, my school district will get one new electric school bus. It hasn’t been an easy journey. The goal is not to simply convert one bus, but my district’s whole fleet — and to help other districts do the same. We’ve gotten this far because of a school board that listened and a state legislative leader, Assembly member Thomas Abinanti, who engaged with moms and others on the issue.

So let your local board know that school bus electrification is an urgent matter for you and tell them why. Then, reach out to your elected state officials and seek their help on policy change and funding. For the sake of our children, our communities, and our planet, we must fight forward — local, state and national — toward a greener, more electrified world.

Amy Hill, of Tarrytown, is a leader in the Westchester Rivertowns Chapter of Mothers Out Front.
https://www.mothersoutfront.org. This article was reprinted from the Albany Times-Union on September 3, 2021.

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

– Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvy Firestone, 1931

Copyright © 2021 Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, All rights reserved.

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