Grow Your Own Action Group Provides Seedlings to the Community on Earth Day

The KIG Grow Your Own Action Group offered free vegetable seedlings for lettuces, spinach, collard greens, kale, basil, and more. Two per household. They will be offered at three locations in Catskill  (27 Hop-O-Nose, Magpie Bookstore on Main Street, Corner of Bridge and Prospect Street).  Taking into account COVID-19, potted plants were left untouched for several days before being brought to the three locations and left for community members to pick-up during the day at their leisure.  Success!

Catherine Morrison on Main Street in Catskill

 

Pat Holliday in Hop-O-Nose, Catskill
Leide Lamonte and her children

 

 

 

Taking home a basil on Main Street, Catskill

For more information about Grow Your Own Action Group (an action group of Keep It Greene), please contact Laura Morgan at:
lauramorgan3@gmail.com

 

20 Earth Day Climate Changes Q&A for Catskill by Dave Walker

Dave Walker PhD is a Geologist and Keep It Greene member.

The Lenape Native American name for the Hudson, Mahicantuck, means “river that flows two ways”.  Why?    The Hudson is a tidal estuary, so roughly twice a day it changes flow from north to south. The tides raised by the moon on the surface of the ocean cause a rising ocean to push water into the Hudson estuary and a falling ocean to drain the valley. Filling and draining the valley from and to the ocean causes the reversal of flow directions.

How do you tell which way is the ocean from Catskill?  Standing at Catskill Point and watching the river slosh to Albany and then to Kingston a couple times a day is uninformative until you notice whether the river is rising or falling with the motion. Because the tide is rising as the river flows to Albany, and falling when it flows towards Kingston, the river valley fills from the south and drains to the south. Therefore the ocean source of the rising tide and the sink for the ebb tide is to the south beyond Kingston.

Where does the Hudson come from? Where does the Hudson go?  The highest water source in the Hudson watershed is Lake Tear of the Clouds on Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks. Hard core cartographers often count the start of the Hudson instead where it emerges from Henderson Lake at Tahawus in the Adirondacks. The Hudson enters the ocean out of New York harbor. It is tidal from Troy to the ocean.

Why is the ocean salty? How much of the Hudson is salty?  The chemical weathering of continental rocks produces runoff water with dissolved solids. These solids flow to the ocean where they accumulate, making the ocean salty. The principal salts are NaCl, CaCO3, and MgSO4. Tidal flow of salty ocean water up the valley mixes with fresh water coming down the valley to form brackish (partly salty) water. During the late summer when fresh water flow is least, brackish water may be found as far north as Poughkeepsie. During spring foods, the fresh water may approach New York Harbor. On average the salt reaches to about Newburgh.

Why isn’t the ocean saltier? Is it saltier some places?  On average the ocean is about 3.5% salt, and there is no reason it could not be saltier if more salt was added. It was once thought that the saltiness of the ocean would be a chronometer for the age of the Earth. If the addition rate of salt from rivers were known, then the time to reach 3.5% saltiness could be calculated. Early efforts produced ages much too young to explain all the other things the rocks tell us have happened. However if there is something removing salt from the ocean, the calculation in its simple form fails. It is hard to calculate the filling time of a leaky bucket. We know from the geological record, that the ocean sometimes deposits vast layers of salt as bedded layers on the sea bottom. Syracuse has mines for this salt deposited during the Silurian age more than 400 million years ago. Such deposits form when arms of the ocean under tropical sunshine become isolated. Water evaporation leads to salt precipitation as salt becomes locally concentrated by evaporation. Evaporation in the Mediterranean is faster than river input so that the salinity (salt content) is higher than average for the ocean. The Mediterranean gets topped up by seawater entering through the straights of Gibraltar to compensate for the net water loss to evaporation. Small bays off the Mediterranean in Spain are used to extract salt commercially by isolating them to the point where they dry and form salt crusts. This process, natural and/or encouraged by man, keeps the ocean salinity from rising too far, although it has shown some variation through time in the geological rock record.

What could make the river level rise?   Besides short-term tidal mechanisms, the long-term river water level at Catskill could rise if either the land surface sank or the ocean level rose above the tidal average baseline. The Catskill area is currently tectonically fairly stable and significant subsidence is not expected soon. So sea level rise could either happen if the volume of the ocean basin shrinks or the volume of water in the ocean grows. The ocean basin volume could shrink by warpage of the ocean floor or by the eruption and accumulation of large volcanic rock deposits. But by far the largest and the quickest threat of ocean level rising is by adding more water from the reservoir that is locked up in the great polar continental ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. If the Earth becomes too warm, ice melting will add to the volume of water in the ocean. This has happened many times in the past.

If sea level rose 70 meters, would your house be flooded?  70 meters is a rough estimate of how much sea level would rise if the great polar ice sheets melted. Check a topographic contour map to see whether your house is above or below the 220 foot contour. The Court House and the Price Chopper would be underwater, whereas the hill west of Walmart and the Price Chopper would be an island.

Would the sea be saltier or fresher if that happened?  Ice comes from snow which comes from evaporated water. The evaporation process leaves salt behind in the source water like the ocean. Releasing large amounts of fresh water during global warming will dilute the ocean with fresh melt water from glaciers and make the ocean less salty.

40 thousand years ago, Catskill was under a glacier. How far south did the glacier go?  Clearly the climate has changed because the glacier has gone. The glacier, in flowing south, scraped the land surface beneath it clean and bulldozed debris ahead of it to form piles known as moraines. The southern terminus of the glacier is established when the melting rate balances the ice flow rate from the north and the moraines begin to accumulate. The piles are still clearly visible from the last glacial advance and form the hummocky chains of hills that stretch the length of Long Island. The rocks in those moraines have in some cases been brought this far south from points in Canada.

400 million years ago, Catskill was under tropical ocean reefs. What happened?  Climate change is not just about ice ages. On long term geological time scales, the position of the continents relative to the poles of the earth can change as plate tectonic motions shuffle the continents over the Earth’s surface. Thus geographic changes also produce climate effects. The Catskill area has been tropical during the Paleozoic when warm shallow seas and limestone reefs like in the Bahamas today, were the setting for the deposition of the rocks of the Helderberg escarpment. This is the cliff-bounded terrane west and south of town where the cement quarries are located. These rocks testify to a previous era when the life forms recorded in the fossils and the climate as recorded in the rock types were very different from today with its geologically recent ice age.

Why is there more daylight in summer than winter? Earth’s rotation axis is tilted 23 degrees relative to the plane in which the Earth orbits the sun. This causes the season in which the northern hemisphere leans towards the sun (northern summer) to get more daylight than when the northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun (northern winter). In the southern hemisphere, for instance in South America, northern winter causes more light to reach the southern hemisphere. Thus northern and southern hemispheres have their seasons reversed. The summer/winter cycles can modulate biological growth by light and temperature variations.

400 million years ago there were 415 days in a year. How many hours in each day?  The corals of the Devonian limestones west of town record growth rings analogous to tree rings. The corals deposit external skeletons as they grow, layer by layer, day by day, and year by year. If one counts the number of day layers in a yearly cycle of growth layers, one gets a big surprise. In the Devonian, the day count in each year was 415, not 365. This means the Earth turned faster on its axis during the past than today. It did 415 rotations for each lap the Earth takes around the sun in a year. That means there would be fewer hours in that Devonian day. To change 365 days of 24 hour duration into 415 days, the days have to be shorter, about 21 hours long in the Devonian.

Has the Earth’s rotation rate speeded up or slowed down since then? The Earth’s rotation rate has slowed, taking longer to do a single turn on its axis. If you want to have a 25 hour day to get done all the things you need to get done, a longer day is coming as the Earth continues to slow. But you will have to wait another 100 million years to get to the 25 hour day. It is a very slow gradual change.

Apollo 11 showed the moon is backing away from Earth at inches/year. Why?  Back to the tides! The Apollo 11 reflector experiment placed mirrors on the moon. Bouncing a laser off the mirrors and timing the round trip for the pulse, gives a very accurate measure of the Earth-moon distance. The experiment has been followed for 50 years and the moon is found to be retreating from the Earth at 3.8 centimeters/year, roughly an inch and a half each year.   Why?   The moon raises the ocean tides which are physical bulges on the ocean’s surface along the straight line that connects the Earth and moon. But the Earth turns, and the bulges remain lunar-directed, except for the fact that the ocean bulge is being dragged over the topography of the ocean basins and continental shelves by the Earth’s rotation. This dragging is viscous (sticky). So the bulge gets pulled a little ahead of the Earth-moon line. The sloshing of the oceans along the topographic obstructions dissipates some of Earth’s rotational energy, causing it to slow its rotation. But some of the Earth’s rotational energy is also lost by the fact that the tidal bulge had been dragged ahead of the Earth-moon line and acts as a knob to which an imaginary gravitational elastic cord tugs at the moon and throws it into a higher orbit farther from Earth. So the gravitation effect of the bulge leading the parade is to accelerate the moon outward. Thus the energy to accelerate the moon is transferred from the Earth’s rotational energy and the Earth’s rotation slows as the moon backs off. Before the Apollo experiment, it was not known how much of the Earth’s slowing rotation was due to the viscous loss of tidal sloshing and how much was due to lunar acceleration to higher orbit. The Apollo laser ranging result established that both effects were significant and measurable, with the viscous losses to tidal dissipation being larger.

How deep a hole can you dig or drill or burn?  Mines have been dug several thousand feet below the surface. The digging usually stops for one of several reasons. The ore being mined may run out. Or the rate of water flow into the mine from cracks in the surroundings may exceed the rate at which the mine can be drained. Or the rocks become too hot or vulnerable at depth to collapsing into the hole excavated by the mine. Holes in excess of 10 kilometers deep have been drilled, instead of mined, when the difficulties of water drainage and open access for ore removal are no longer issues. Such deep drill holes are for scientific or commercial exploration to find what is at depth. But their limit is usually the patience and resources available to drill such expensive holes. Drills bind up or get degraded by heat at depth. Technical problems usually make advancement of the hole an exercise in diminishing returns on investment. Presumable radiation-based probes like laser drilling could vaporize their way to further depth in very rapid fashion before a hole burned that way could close itself.

How do we know the center of the Earth is as hot as the sun’s surface?   The surface of the sun is measured by radiation pyrometry to be about 5700 K. There is no optical path to the Earth’s core so its temperature must be taken indirectly. We know from seismology, that the shear waves generated by earth quakes are not transmitted through the core and therefore the core must be liquid. We know from the high density of the Earth, and the density increase with depth, that the core must be mostly iron. No other cosmically abundant element is heavy enough to account for the high density. So the temperature at the outer surface of the core must be hot enough to melt slightly impure iron. At the enormous pressure of the core, over a million times atmospheric pressure, the melting point of iron is about 5000-6000 K, the uncertainty being caused by how impure the iron is. Thus the minimum melting temperature of the core is close to that of the sun’s surface. There is an enormous reservoir of thermal energy within the Earth.

Why do crystals have flat faces?  The internal atomic structure of crystals is symmetric and orderly. The flat faces on a crystal reflect that orderly internal atomic arrangement. As an analogy, consider a box of marbles that is not full. When you shake the marbles to settle into their most stable configuration, you will find the upper surface of the pile to form regular flat shapes. The same thing occurs in crystals but the atomic ‘marbles’ are microscopic, at fractions of a nanometer.

How do we know the universe is expanding?  Cars on the highway coming at you and then going away from you when you stand beside the road, sound different when they approach and recede away from you. The bump-bump-bump of a tire irregularity or the whistle of an air stream change pitch as they go past you. They are high pitched approaching you and lower pitch receding from you. This is the Doppler shift where apparent frequency is changed with relative motion of the source of vibrations and the observer. Motion of source towards observer raises frequencies. Separation of source and observer lowers frequencies, or the pitch in the case of sound vibrations. A change in the vibrational frequency of light would result in a change of color in the light perceived by the observer. Astronomers observing stars can tell whether they approach or recede from Earth by looking at the frequency shift of starlight. Stars approaching us have their light frequency shifted to higher frequency, bluer light. Stars going away from us have their light shifter to lower, redder frequencies. A quite surprising observation is that distant stars are all going away from us. Only some of our near neighbor stars are approaching us. An even more surprising observation is that the farther away from us a star is found to be, the faster it is receding from us. The red shifts of star light become more extreme, the farther away from us that they are. The only explanation that makes sense of these observations is that the visible universe is expanding. We are in some enormous cosmic balloon which is inflating and expanding. This was deduced by Edwin Hubble who established the relation between the bigger red shift at the bigger distances. The proportion is given by Hubble’s constant.

How long have we been here? The rate of expansion can be used to project backwards in time. Because we can work out how quickly distant stars are moving away from us, we have some idea how long it took to get that far away. It some point at the very start of the expansion all the stars would have been together. That rather frightening concept is essentially the beginning of the universe. Suddenly –BANG– there was a bunch of stuff in the center of the universe rushing away from itself in all directions. This process continues. Echoes of that big bang are still ringing through the universe in the form of a uniform glow of microwave radiation of about 3 centimeter wavelength. Using Hubble’s constant we can get the time to the start of the universe to be about 13-14 billion years ago.

Is there life elsewhere?  We do not really know, but we can make a statistical argument that it is probable. There are an awful lot of stars out there, a conservative estimate might be something like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. If only one in a trillion has the right sort of planet in the right sort of solar system, there are still a lot of chances to hit the jackpot. And we know it happened at least once so there is nothing impossible about life! It just might not look like us…..

Happy Earth Day 50

Keep It Greene Celebrates Earth Day on 4/22/20

Introduction by Jane Toby 

Albert Camus once wrote:  “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”   And so, poetry for Earth Day!  Residents of Catskill, Steven Patterson, Associate Artist at  Bridge Street Theatre and Jane Toby, writer and collector of poetry for Earth Day, are glad to present to you these poems on nature that span time and place -from the Song of Songs in the 10th century B.C. through poetry that crosses borders and continents in the 20th century. With these poems, we celebrate Earth Day, National Poetry Month and an enduring spirit of  reverence for all life during these critical times.

The artist, musician and woodworker Brian Dewan making Jon Phillips award.
Kristi Gibson with the Keep It Greene Earth Day Award for Commerce, April 22, 2020, in front of the Magpie Bookshop.

Keep It Greene’s “Grow Your Own Action Group” offers free vegetable seedlings in Catskill 

The KIG Grow Your Own Action Group will be offering at least 100 free vegetable seedlings for lettuces, spinach, collard greens, kale, basil, and more. Two per household. They will be offered at three locations in Catskill:

a)  27 Hop-O-Nose

b)  Magpie Bookstore on Main Street

c) Corner of Bridge and Prospect Street

We will have signs with growing instructions and the Keep It Greene name and Earth Day 2020 at each location.  Volunteers will pot the seedlings in recycled and sterilized pots and potting soil.  Potted plants will be left untouched for several days before being brought to the three locations. Grow Your Own is responsible for fundraising for this project. If you would like to be a volunteer gardener,  please let me know!

Laura Morgan
lauramorgan3@gmail.com

Hudson Valley 360: C&D project withdrawn from DEC

In Today’s Hudson Valley 360 by Sarah Trafton.

ATHENS — State officials confirmed Thursday that the application for a proposed construction and demolition debris processing facility has been withdrawn.

The project, proposed by Athens Stevedoring & Environmental Development LLC, involved importing 8,400 tons of C&D materials each week to a 6.1-acre site off North Washington Street, according to the developer’s application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Jan. 3….

“Thanks to all who got involved and made their opposition to this project known,” according to the website. “But we’d especially like to thank the good people at Keep it Greene and Friends of Athens who worked so hard to bring this matter to the attention of local government on every level. We have no doubt that the diligence of these two organizations combined with opposition from the community was instrumental in pushing back this existential threat to our village.”

Mayor Stephan Bradicich echoed similar remarks in a release from Keep it Greene, a local environmental activist group.

“I am very proud of how our entire community came together to make their voices heard,” Bradicich said. “I have no doubt that the large and unified opposition to this project played a large part in stopping the effort.”

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay also credited community engagement.

“The system worked here because these communities got the facts and got active,” Gallay said. “This should give everyone in the Hudson River watershed the confidence to fight misbegotten projects like these in their own communities.”

Keep it Greene collaborated with several organizations and lawmakers in its efforts, according to the release.

“Keep It Greene worked with Friends of Athens, KingstonCitizens.org, Hudson Riverkeeper, and the Village of Athens Mayor and Board of Trustees to inform the community and encourage them to organize,” according to the release. “After an outpouring of support from the public — an online petition garnered over 2,000 signatures in only two weeks — and support from State Assemblymember Chris Tague (R) and Congressman Antonio Delgado (D), Athens Stevedoring withdrew its application and abandoned the project.”

CONTINUE READING….

Victory Over Proposed Athens Construction and Demolition Waste Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Keep It Greene & Friends of Athens
MEDIA CONTACT:
Diana Abadie
518-929-7532

Victory Over Proposed Athens Construction and Demolition Waste Facility Project abandoned but other fights loom for neighbors up and down the Hudson River

ATHENS, NY—March 20, 2020  Yesterday, the Division of Materials Management Officer at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) confirmed that Athens Stevedoring and Environmental Development LLC had withdrawn its application for a proposed Construction and Demolition waste processing facility in the Village of Athens and was no longer interested in pursuing the project.

The project had only recently come to light when, in January 2020, Keep It Greene member and Athens resident Diana Abadie made an unnerving discovery. “There’s a spot right on the Hudson River adjoining the boat dock where I often drink my morning coffee,” Diana recalls. “I noticed a for sale sign and when I called, the owner of the property told me that he was selling to a barge and trucking company.”

A series of Freedom of Information Law requests revealed specific plans to import 8,400 tons of Construction & Demolition Debris (C&DD) waste per week that would be stored, processed (i.e. crushed and sorted), and then exported by hundreds of trucks six days a week from a 6.1 acre waterfront site in the Village. Keep It Greene worked with Friends of Athens, KingstonCitizens.org, Hudson Riverkeeper, and the Village of Athens Mayor and Board of Trustees to inform the community and encourage them to organize. After an outpouring of support from the public (an online petition garnered over 2,000 signatures in only two weeks) and support from State Assemblymember Chris Tague (R) and Congressman Antonio Delgado (D), Athens Stevedoring withdrew its application and abandoned the project.

“I am very proud of how our entire community came together to make their voices heard,” said Village of Athens Mayor Stephan Bradicich.  “I have no doubt that the large and unified opposition to this project played a large part in stopping the effort.”

Although the threat to Athens may have passed, the neighboring Town of Catskill is confronting another C&DD project from Peckham Industries: an unlined landfill on the shoreline of the Hudson River that would receive 600,000 tons of waste. Although Peckham’s application to the DEC was recently returned as incomplete, the community anxiously awaits further developments.

According to Geologist David Walker, Ph.D of Keep It Greene, it’s no coincidence that these two similar projects landed in the same vicinity. “Athens and Catskill are just pieces of a larger puzzle. There are idle quarries along the Hudson River awaiting some new purpose, and New York City is the source of an enormous C&DD waste stream (twice the tonnage of its municipal waste). With barging cheaper than trucking to transport tons of materials and the Hudson Valley located closer to New York City than alternative sites, such as Seneca Meadows or Rensselaer, the area has been—and will continue to be—targeted for many more of these projects.”

In the weeks and months ahead, the coalition of environmental and community activists who fought the Athens C&D project plans to reach out to other communities fighting similar battles. “Instead of playing ‘Whack-a-Mole’ as these threats arise, we need to organize and push for proactive, comprehensive C&D waste management,” says Catherine Censor, president of Friends of Athens.

It’s a strategy that Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, endorses. “The system worked here because these communities got the facts and got active. This should give everyone in the Hudson River watershed the confidence to fight misbegotten projects like these in their own communities.”

###

About Keep It Greene and Friends of Athens

Keep It Greene: A non-partisan, grassroots, volunteer organization located in Greene County, NY.

Friends of Athens: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation, civic improvement, and beautification of the natural and cultivated landscape in and around the Village of Athens, New York.

Athens Stevedoring (Village of Athens) Fact Sheet now available.

Keep It Greene and Friends of Athens have created a fact sheet about the proposed Construction & Demolition (C&D) Waste Processing Plant on the banks of the Hudson River in the Village of Athens. There is important information in the factsheet. And the information is alarming should the project come to pass.

 

What are we doing? Keep it Greene and Friends of Athens are setting up meetings with our county, state and federal officials.  Riverkeeper is helping by providing advice and support.

What can you do?

1.  READ and DISTRIBUTE the factsheet.

2. CONTACT the officials listed at the bottom of the fact sheet and tell them what you think about this project.
3.  If you have not done so, SIGN our petition   (There is a ‘donate money’ prompt after you sign the petition.  This is for the free platform. Donations do not come to Keep It Greene.  Please opt to share the petition instead).

Help us fight C&D process facilities along with unlined dumps on the banks of the Hudson River.  Protect our Hudson riverfront villages and towns!

Thank you for your help,

Keep It Greene and Friends of Athens

Keep It Greene Co-Founder Jon Phillips Obituary

We will miss Jon Philips who passed away on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at the age of 67 after a heroic fight against cancer for 3 and a half years. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Ginnie Gardiner.

Jon W. Phillips was a “force of nature” in the Exon 20 Group, serving on the Exon 20 Council for more than 3 years and, working closely with other Council members to tame a very rare exon 20 gene mutation into a more manageable lung cancer.

Jon co-chaired the Exon 20 Group’s Angel Buddies Program and advised patients from Australia to India, the Netherlands, and , across the U.S. on side effects, management, and other issues. Patients and their families loved him. A scintillating and provocative writer, Jon pioneered journaling the patient experience for the Exon 20 Group, keeping a detailed patient diary and teaching others how to chronicle daily life fighting cancer. The board of directors of the International Cancer Advocacy Network (ICAN),, sponsor of the Exon 20 Group, has named a special program in memory of Jon: The Jon W. Phillips Patient Journal Program, askican.org. Working with a team of six of the country’s top lung cancer specialists, Jon was the very definition of “proactive patient”; his passion was to assist other patients diagnosed with the same ever-challenging gene mutation.

Jonathan was also a passionate community leader in environmental protection. Here is a statement from the members of Keep it Greene:

“If not for Jon, there would be no Keep It Greene. He was a principal founding member and Chair and he gave us our name. Jon was smart, sharp, funny, and full of rage against the rip-off artists operating against community interests. He combined his extensive news digestion skills with formidable recall to get on top of virtually any issue with which he chose to engage. And those issues could be remarkably diverse. His rage was coupled to a practical determination to push back. When Wheelabrator Industries quietly targeted Catskill to serve as home for a new toxic ash dump, Jon provided pivotal and early leadership to ensure that the ash dump was not approved. His research skills were used to gather vital information that informed the community about this environmental and health threat. ’Get your ash out of Catskill!’ was his Wheelabrator battle cry. We have lost a leader, but we are grateful for the example he set of high purpose when protecting the environment and his community. “

Jon’s diverse background dramatically bridged the worlds of art, politics, business and real estate. Jon was working on a non-fiction manuscript spanning the 20th Century about the history of New York City’s largest luxury apartment building, the Belnord, where he grew up on the Upper West Side. An artist with pieces on display at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Jon was the first artist-in-residence appointed by The Central Park Conservancy and Parks Department. He was also the founding Executive Director of “We Care About New York,” working for Marian S. Heiskel of the New York Times, Willard Butcher of Chase Bank, N.A., and Donald C. Platten, of Chemical Bank to formulate Clio Award-winning campaigns against litter and graffiti.

Jon graduated from Riverdale Country School and received his B.F.A. at Cornell University, where he met Ginnie in 1970. They both graduated from Cornell in 1974 and in 1978 were married in New York City. They lived in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood from 1978 – 2004. In 2005 they moved into an historic Federal building in the Village of Catskill, New York, a community that inspired Jon’s activism and affection until his death.

Per his wishes, no memorial services are planned for Jon. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be offered to “ICAN”–Jon Phillips Program, 27 West Morten Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85021-7246 or askican.org or to Keep It Greene, POB 85, Catskill, NY 12414. Cremation arrangements are by Millspaugh Camerato Funeral Home, Catskill. Messages of condolence may be made to MillspaughCamerato.com.