For the past few years, and even more so currently, Tarrytown has been working hard to become a leader in environmental initiatives in Westchester County. Through the inspiring work of the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, or TEAC, Tarrytown has been able to make a difference in their part of Westchester. For example, Lakis Polycarpou, an active member of TEAC, is spearheading an initiative in Tarrytown in order to create an “Open Green Map” for the town. The Greenmap system has been used worldwide in order to allow communities to help citizens think of their hometowns in more environmental terms by cataloging environmental resources, identifying sustainability challenges, celebrating successes and revealing new opportunities for sustainable development. This system will provide a unique resource for local schools, environmental groups, historical societies, community development organizations, local businesses, policy-makers, planners and others by creating an interactive, visual guidebook for residents. For Tarrytown, the primary goals of this Green Map will be to crowd source information that will support the complete streets initiative, solar mapping to identify best sites for solar power, and importing new climate data to provide a better understanding of new climate risks. The map will identify environmental strengths and weaknesses of the community, in order for the town to better itself environmentally. This will be the first village-scale Green Map in Westchester county – just another example of Tarrytown and the TEAC’s commitments to environmental initiatives.
TEAC has been working on a Clean and Green Campaign for several years, designed to educate residents and stakeholders on climate change and other key sustainability issues. Part of that campaign includes neighbor to neighbor gatherings about reducing energy usage, programs at the library, and an effort to reduce the use of non-renewable plastic and paper bags. Furthermore, TEAC is also working with the village to adopt a resolution to promote “Complete Streets” infrastructure and to promote ‘greener’ building codes.
Tarrytown is working hard to complete these initiatives, and to inspire the residents to be part of the commitment to a more sustainable Tarrytown. Perhaps Lakis Polycarpou, says it best,“While significant environmental action at the national and international levels has stalled in the past few years, there has been an explosion of local action over the same period. Our task now is to find ways to harness this new energy to make truly transformative change”.