Posts Tagged ‘climate matters’

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Listening to the youth

youth at john brown's farm

It’s a big week for young people taking on powerful entities for the environment. On Monday, a judge sided with young activists in Montana who said the government was violating the state constitution with pro-fossil fuel policies. The plaintiffs’ argument was that the state’s policies infringed on their right to a healthy and safe environment. The judge’s ruling means they were right.

I wondered whether something similar could happen here.

The state’s The Environmental Rights Amendment, added to the New York Constitution in Jan. 2022, says, “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

It’s unclear whether legal action such as Held v. State of Montana will happen in New York.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Breaking down carbon offset projects in the Adirondacks

shot of trees from above

Hundreds of thousands of acres in the North Country are hosting carbon offset projects and many of them are forestry-related. But how does that translate to climate mitigation?

Forestry offset projects, meant to conserve land, are enrolled in the compliance and voluntary markets. In California, the compliance market is overseen by the Air and Resources board. While researching for our carbon offset series, I learned that credits enrolled in the compliance market are generally worth more than its voluntary counterpart. But the price of a credit can range widely from a few dollars to more than $50.

To be certified, or deemed effective, experts say projects should meet some basic standards. I go over those in the article linked here. There’s also a larger question by scientists, landowners and climate-conscious people about whether the projects work in mitigating climate change.

Some call it a greenwashing tactic while others look at it as a necessary tool to achieve a net-zero emission status.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

What does the future of extreme rain look like in the Northeast?


After major flooding and infrastructure damage, I asked:

What does the future of extreme rain look like in the Northeast?

The past few decades have trended toward heavier rainfall, Arthur Degaetano, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Regional Climate Center said. Predictions based on scientific data show the Northeast is expected to become wetter because of climate change. Warmer air holds more moisture and causes more rainfall. That rain is mostly coming from oceans, Degaetano said, which are also warming and making evaporation easier.

“We’re seeing catastrophic flooding and we’re going to see more road failures,” Erik Backus, who teaches civil engineering, told the Explorer. “How to deal with that is a significant thing we need to consider going forward.”

Read about it here:  and also our follow up here:


Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Accepting Applications Through July 28th

Applications for grant funding are due by 4:00 pm on Friday, July 28, 2023

Read our previous coverage of Climate Smart Communities here.

Photo at top:Rain runoff eroded parts of the beach at Long Lake. Photo by Tracy Ormsbee/Adirondack Explorer

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Chloe’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

El Niño in the Northeast

people on a bench by an icy lake

Although Earth recently experienced some of the hottest documented years, scientists say it was in a cooling period with the naturally occurring La Niña weather pattern. Now, an opposing El Niño could boost warming temperatures further.

What does that mean for the Northeast and the Adirondacks?

The probability of higher temperatures in the Adirondacks is increased during an El Niño, but that doesn’t mean the park can expect heat waves.

Normally, winds blowing east to west push warm surface waters toward Asia, but La Niña and its opposing El Niño disrupt that pattern for months or years. But external forces such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation can dominate the influence of an El Niño.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Historian joins climate change assessment study

This week I have a story about an Adirondacker giving a hand to a statewide climate study.

Around 80 people in different parts of the state are working on a climate change assessment. This multi-year study is overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Last summer, Long Lake Town Historian Hallie Bond joined the team. She’s researching how climate change will alter community culture, including historical societies and museums.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Climate matters: Keeping track of a changing environment

Steve Forbes, who owns a hardware store in Wilmington, has recorded every plow job since 1987. Photo by Chloe Bennett

It’s week three for me at the Explorer and I have a few things to share with all of you. On top of learning how to live in the Adirondacks – like equipping my car with proper tires – I’m learning about how Adirondackers are keeping track of their changing environment. One longtime resident showed me her gardening journals that date back to the 1970s and have weather notes, bloom dates, wildlife sightings and more. I drove over to Wilmington and flipped through a hardware store owner’s log of snowplow jobs dating back to 1987. His take? Snow is coming later in the Adirondacks. Read the story here. 

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

A wilderness pioneer

Elizabeth Britton

Clad in a dark petticoat, wildflowers tucked in her waistband, Elizabeth Britton grips her walking stick and flashes a smile, posed in leaf litter against the skin of a tree. In the mid-1800s the conventions of the time dictated this attire, as she climbed Adirondack mountains to lay her expert eyes to mosses and flowers. An acclaimed bryologist, she was considered the foremost authority in mosses for her time, publishing hundreds of scientific papers and curating natural history collections for Columbia University and for the New York Botanical Garden, where she was a founding leader.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Poem: Who unmade the world?

Goodnow Mountain

A Mary Oliver poem begins “Who made the world?” and ends with the line “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I wrote this poem in conversation with hers to express the complicated grief that comes with feeling the destruction of the wild, with seeing wild spaces within and without trampled and tamed.

It is meant to acknowledge that despair, while also reframing Oliver’s central question as a collective endeavor: What can we each do for wild places?

My poem, “The Last Place,” was published in the Explorer’s Club Spring Log.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The mountains are calling …

owls head mountain

“Mountains are our crystal ball,” John All, scientist and mountaineer writes in Icefall. “Understand them, and you get a glimpse of the planet’s future.”

All almost lost his life during an expedition to understand climate change in the world’s most remote places, the subject of his book, a source for my current research into the high peaks of the Adirondacks. He risks everything to tell stories of resilience and human adaptation.

These qualities of courage and perseverance are alive and well in those who steward the High Peaks Wilderness, subjects of my upcoming feature which will explore the history of protection for alpine ecosystems. Rare plant species persist after nearly becoming extinct because of foresight and dedication on behalf of organizations like the Adirondack Mountain Club. What lessons have we learned from past successes in protecting threatened species in unique ecosystems and how might we apply them to new climate challenges? This is what I’ll be looking to understand in the coming month.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Birds of a feather

warbler bird migrationSpring bird migrants cruising through the park are headed north for the season. The Crown Point State Historic Site, under the North Atlantic flyway, hosts a scientist-led bird banding event to track the migrations. This is the 47th annual event and is open to the public until May 20.

I spotted this yellow warbler at a Saratoga Springs marsh on their way north.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Introducing “Climate Matters”

climate matters

This mural was drawn by school children in the Andean Mountain community of Santiago De Okola. Photo by Cayte Bosler

Commemorating Earth Day

In 1970, famed anchor Walter Cronkite announced Earth Day for the first time on a CBS news special.

Tens of millions of people, mostly students, had taken to the streets across the country with a message for leadership — “act or die,” as Cronkite recounted to his audience. Air pollution from leaded gas emissions and inefficient vehicles reigned as the leading concern which united protesters and activists to rally for systematic change.

» Continue Reading.

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