The Climate Carnival at the County Fairgrounds July 16 drew between 1,200 and 1,500 visitors. The overflowing Free Store, the Repair Cafe, Bike Repair shop and the recycled bikes giveaway were always crowded and the volunteers running these activities were busy non-stop. The tabling section included at least two dozen organizations focusing on various aspects of climate action - a unique opportunity to mingle with other activists, learn lots and interact with people, some of whom we had known only over Zoom.
At least nine Climate Smart Committees were present - educating, recruiting, illustrating accomplishments and more. Our Climate Smart Committee shared a table with Philmont Climate Smart and had a poster highlighting the opportunity for hydroelectric power from the Agawamuck Creek at both the Summit Lake Dam and the Paper MIll Dam near the old Town Court site in Mellenville.
Alongside the poster, we conducted two science demonstrations illustrating the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy to do work with the use of simple machines. In one demo, a tennis ball fell onto a lever, which launched a small object into the air. In the other, we demonstrated a makeshift waterwheel (see photo), which reeled in a load on a string. One middle schooler agreed with his mom that it would be a good science project. The adults saw the connection between the demos, our poster on hydropower and the new town hall.
Thanks to our many volunteers who helped plan and staff our tabling event - Katy Cashen, Mark Menne, Victoria Masters, Brenda Shufelt, and our Philmont colleagues, Tom Paino, Susan Michie, Allison Hoppe.
Much of the focus this year at the Climate Carnival was about waste reduction. The Free Store and Repair Cafe are excellent examples. Waste, especially organic matter sent to landfill, creates Greenhouse Gasses and depletes natural resources. Finding ways to reuse what is wasted reduces the costs to landfill, restores value and avoids depleting natural resources to make new products. Communities that develop reuse centers realize many benefits - lower cost of landfill and potential revenues from selling used and repaired products. Some communities even develop job training programs to put people to work.
The purpose of the Climate Carnival was to illustrate actions that mitigate and prevent climate change and help restore the ecosystems on which our society depends. Composting and reusing our discards diverts waste from landfills, thus reducing costs to the community, decreasing the generation of climate-warming gasses like methane. Reuse activities such as a free store, repair cafes and composting also add value in the community. The Carnival gave a spotlight to several dozen organizations and businesses that are leading the way for improving energy efficiency, engaging volunteers in meaningful action, and educating our communities on paths to sustainability. The Climate Carnival demonstrates the value of the Zero Waste movement. Reuse, repair, and Free Store all save money for the community and individuals by keeping ‘waste’ out of landfill.
Thank you to the sponsoring Columbia County Climate Smart Communities Task Force, the many local Climate Smart Committees and sister organizations and hundreds of volunteers that took action and created such a fun and learningful day.