Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Aaron Mair Brings Adirondack Climate Message To Dubai Summit

Adirondack Council logo.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Highlighting the global impacts of climate change on large iconic park landscapes, the Adirondack Council’s Aaron Mair is participating in the United Nations Climate Change Council of Parties gathering in Dubai. Mair, the Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director, is there advocating for global investments in the protection of large-scale ecosystems such as the Adirondack Park in New York State and federal climate impact mitigation strategies.

“Both here and around the globe, we need new investments in wilderness protection and we need to scale-up the science of climate protection,” said Mair.  “We have the potential to create an entirely new segment of the economy based on stabilizing and protecting the natural systems that support all life on earth. The Adirondacks are also living proof that careful protection can re-create wilderness where it had been lost to industrial impacts. That is a strong message of hope.”

Mair is at COP28 to represent the Adirondack Council, with assistance from The Wild Center, in Tupper Lake.

At more than 6 million acres, the NY State-managed Adirondack Park protects one of the world’s largest intact temperate forest ecosystems left in the world.  Much of the region was heavily logged, mined and burned by wildfire from the 19th Century to the early 20th Century.

Now, Article 14 of the NY State Constitution (known as the Forever Wild clause)  requires state government to keep the park’s public forests wild, forever.  About half of the park is public land.  The other half is privately owned and consists of commercial timberlands managed under state supervision, resorts, private estates, communities, homes and businesses.  A state land-use plan guides development outside of the Forest Preserve.

Aaron Mair

Aaron Mair photo by Nancie Battaglia. Photo provided by Adirondack Council.

“The Adirondack Park is a lived-in park, where communities and wilderness sit side-by-side, each providing benefits to the other,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Raul J. Aguirre.  “We are in a unique position to show the rest of the world how to successfully protect nature and foster vibrant communities in the same location. We can also learn from other nations that are facing the challenges of community development in isolated, mountainous, rural areas.”

Aguirre and Mair pointed to the Adirondack Park’s Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute and President Joe Biden’s American Climate Corps initiative as two recent positive opportunities to create a greater pool of trained experts and advocates who will build public support for wilderness protection and new measures to curb the disruptive impacts of climate change.

Both pointed to the recent news that the earth’s atmosphere had exceeded the global warming milestone of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels for the first time in history, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, as evidence that the climate deserved special attention, investment and fresh ideas from every nation.

The Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute brings together the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry faculty and campus in the Adirondack High Peaks region with students from City University of New York’s Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.  Students learn about climate science and experience wilderness as they beginning college and deciding on their career paths.

Biden’s American Climate Corps would be a jobs and training program designed to produce a large skilled green workforce in a short period of time.  It is modeled after President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which trained workers for public conservation projects such as reforestation, river and wetlands mapping, erosion control and fire prevention, as well as recreational projects including trail, lean-to and campsite construction.

Mair said he was disappointed that the U.N. had chosen Dubai as the location of this year’s summit.  The United Arab Emirates’ economy currently depends on fossil fuels and its leadership does not welcome protest, he said.

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.

Photo at top: Adirondack Council logo. Photo provided by John Sheehan, Director of Communications, Adirondack Council.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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