Millerton climate survey is smart to do

If there is one thing Millerton’s Climate Smart Task Force (CSTF) wants, it is for residents of the village of Millerton and the town of North East to take its survey.

On the task force’s extremely detailed, well-laid out and quite lovely website, www.climatesmartmillerton.org, it explains to those who live the northeastern Dutchess County community how to do so.

“Take our survey,” implores the Climate Smart Millerton site. “Say what you feel about the future climate, what you hope for, what you fear, what you plan to do.”

It then leads whoever is at the keyboard through a single prompt to “click here,” thanks the person for his or her participation and then sends the respondent off to contemplate climate change. Hopefully the surveys will be taken with thought and consideration.

The CSTF, led with insight and intelligence by Kathy Chow, has been working hard for a number of years with many dedicated volunteers. Recently those volunteers have spent months gathering data and trying to pinpoint exactly which key environmental issues to ask local residents about in their survey.

Their goal? To see how the community-at-large perceives climate change. The group launched the survey in January with the hopes of finding some answers.

The task force also wants to learn how local residents prioritize the following issues in their lives: climate change; the importance of mitigating climate change; and how municipalities and the CSTF itself should respond to natural disasters caused by climate change.

Tom Parrett, who helped edit the survey, said another objective is to learn if the average Joe is aware of the state’s Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program.

As Chow explained in reporter Kaitlin Lyle’s front page article this week, New York’s CSC program encourages municipalities statewide to check off climate smart priorities in order to qualify as a Climate Smart Community.

Those priorities range from developing emergency plans to educating residents about protecting their homes from storms and floods to informing residents about how to protect their homes from the dangers of climate change.

Chow noted the information the task force culls from the survey regarding environmental issues respondents are most concerned about can help it tailor future CSC programs. She hopes those who respond to the questionnaire will share any past experiences with local extreme weather events. Those dramatic tales are not just fascinating, said Chow, but “that knowledge will help the town and village to be prepared for what Mother Nature can throw our way.”

We hope those reading this editorial now, those who wander onto the CSTF website and those who learn about the survey through other means will take the short time needed to complete the online survey.

Millerton and North East residents may access the survey at www.climatesmartmillertong.org or on the “Climate Smart Millerton” Facebook page.

The information will be incredibly useful. It could one day potentially enable the task force to help keep an entire community safe during a life-or-death emergency weather event or other natural disaster.

While one hopes it never comes to that, news reports from around the U.S. in the past decade-plus have certainly proven the stark reality of such a possibility.

According to the CSTF’s website and work thus far, we think its intent is both simple and sublime. It merely wants to provide residents the tools so “North East and Millerton can become more resilient to a warmer, more volatile climate.”

Planning ahead is always smart; taking the survey is climate smart.

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