We have a problem: Climate change is progressing faster than the laws meant to mitigate both its causes and effects. While federal and state governments are able to enact powerful and far-reaching legislation, the process of change is often slow and cumbersome, leaving vulnerable communities exposed to the effects of sea level rise and increasingly intense storm systems. Local governments, in contrast, are able to make these critical policy changes much faster, allowing them to adapt to the evolving needs of their communities.
This is why Teatown is reviving its Environmental Leaders Learning Alliance (ELLA) program with the help of Pace University and the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. (Does ELLA sound familiar? The program first launched back in 2007 and ran successfully for a number of years before a brief hiatus.) ELLA supports our Lower Hudson Valley communities by offering educational workshops to municipal conservation committees that help them advise their towns and cities on solutions to regional environmental issues. The workshops help members identify environmental concerns, apply technical resources, and communicate the solutions to other municipal officials and the communities they serve.
This is about more than just workshops, though. ELLA is working to empower a community of scientifically-minded policymakers in the Lower Hudson Valley with the tools to create a more sustainable and resilient future. At the relaunch event in March, new and returning members discussed challenges and offered advice on their successes, showcasing one of the most valuable aspects of the program: peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Bringing a broad range of expertise, ELLA members are provided a forum to share their experiences and learn from each other in order to create lasting change. From forest management to plastics recycling, environmental issues regularly cross political boundaries and so must their solutions. We at Teatown are excited to share program updates with you, and look forward to expanding our community of lifelong environmental stewards.