Green Committee Newsletter September, 2019 - Greta Thunberg

“The one thing we need more than hope is action”
-Greta Thunberg

Do any of you know or remember the children’s book, Swimmy, by Leo Lionni?  I loved that book - maybe even more than my children did.  In a dangerous watery world deep in the sea, Swimmy, a small and vulnerable little fish, realizes that if he and his fellow fish join together, they can grow much larger, and can overcome any danger. When I listen to Greta Thunberg, I’m reminded of Swimmy. 

Greta is the 16 year old climate activist who arrived in New York last month after sailing across the Atlantic.  If you haven’t read much about her, she is a 16 year old young woman who has rallied students worldwide to act on behalf of climate change.  She spoke Sept. 16 at George Washington University, where she received Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award.

New York City and cities worldwide will host climate rallies and strikes from September 20-27. Students and adults throughout the globe have become increasingly alarmed by climate data. The New York Times reports that extreme weather events have displaced a record 7 million people in the first half of 2019. Greenhouses gases are now the highest since 3 million years ago, and half of our tropical forests have been cleared.  Global tree loss has reached 80 million acres a year, the equivalent of 30 soccer fields every minute.  There has been an increase in the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic.  

Greta Thunberg is inspiring young people worldwide to band together in action, not just to hope.  She will speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday, September 23.  She began protesting to urge immediate action on climate change in August, 2018, and will lead this year’s Climate Strike NYC: A Call to Action on Friday, Sept. 20, 12-5:30 in Foley Square.  The youth led march will make its way to Battery Park, where Greta and others will speak.   

There are other opportunities in New York State to be an activist on behalf of climate change.  September 20 there is a Peekskill/Croton Climate Strike at 9 AM at Chuck Schumer’s office, 1 Park Pl., Peekskill, in order to urge Senator Schumer to support a declaration of a Climate Emergency.  A climate strike Friday, September 27 at the Rockland County Legislature will express citizen commitment to prioritize actions to mitigate climate change. 

I’m conservative by nature, and have not traditionally jumped into action.  But the passion of students has confronted me with my reliance on too much hope, and not enough action.  For the sake of Greta Thunberg’s generation, which is also my grandchildren’s generation, I’m finally doing more of what I wish I’d done much, much sooner. I didn’t remember the lesson I learned from Swimmy.

The Green Committee is an advisory and advocacy group made up of Upper Nyack residents working toward the environmental health and resiliency of our village in the face of climate change.  Issues of concern include air and noise pollution; tree planting designed to survive extreme weather; water conservation, sewers and drainage; green landscaping; more use of renewable energy sources; and education of the public in these areas and others of concern to residents.  
For more information, please contact Judy Ryan at or 845 358-4322.

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Village Board of Trustees.