Share your ideas for how to live sustainably

| 22 Jan 2020 | 08:22

The following are the minutes of the Sustainable Warwick meeting on Jan. 15, provided by Michael Helme:

In attendance: Julia Calderon (chair), Corey Bachman, Henry McKenna, Cara Peddle, Sarah Davis, Debra Leporati, Michael Helme, Bill Makofske, Mary Makofske, Geoff Howard, Christy Erfer, Bill Greene, Chad Pilieri.

Steering Committee members for 2020 are: Julia Calderon, Bill Green, Michael Helme and Payton Swenson

Mary Makofske presented on a number of current events:

A. Stop the Money Pipeline is a coalition of organizations pressuring banks and insurance companies to stop funding/insuring the fossil fuel industry.

B. Urge Governor Cuomo to declare a climate emergency.

C. 3-5 students from WVCHS will attend the Youth Environmental & Sustainability Summit (YESS!) on February 6, 7 and 8 at the Ashokan Center. Following the Summit, some of the students will do the presentation at the February SW meeting.

D. In conjunction with YESS!, Dr. James Hansen, the renowned climate scientist, will be making a presentation at Kingston High School the evening of February 6th. If you are interested in joining a group to attend that talk, please email

E. Mary Makofske and Bill Greene are forming a new committee to select speakers that may present talks on sustainability issues at Wisner Library. Please contact Mary or Bill or email to join that committee.

F. The voters in Warwick turned down a spending plan proposed by the school board that would have included getting artificial turf for some of the playing fields. One issue that Mary will follow up on is why New York State is providing funding for artificial turf fields.

There was general acceptance of the idea that SW should regularly pose questions about sustainability to candidates for the school board as well as for the Village and Town Boards. We do not endorse candidates, but we can publicize answers to questions of concern to SW. Also, we would like to have better communication with elected officials on questions related to sustainability. Bill Greene and Geoff Howard are starting a new committee on this topic.

Other business

Bill Makfoske reported on early conversations with Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton about launching a Climate Smart Communities application, which will probably start some time after the holiday dust has settled.

Bag Committee - Julia Calderon reported that the NYS ban on plastic checkout bags will begin on March 1. At this point, it’s clear the Orange County Legislature will not act to adopt the optional five cent fee on paper bags. The BYOBag committee will do a press release sometime before the new bag law goes into effect that encourages people to adopt re-usable bags.

Refrigerants Committee

A. Plans are underway to hold the Coolest Recycling Drive of 2020, which will publicize the importance of recycling appliances that hold refrigerants, as well as simplify the process for residents of Warwick during the drive. If you know of anyone with a pickup truck who could volunteer for a few hours during the drive, please email or otherwise contact Michael.

B. In Washington DC, the House and Senate both have bills before them that would phase out HFC refrigerants. The bills have bipartisan support! Copies of letters to our elected officials in DC were circulated for signatures. Email us if you would like copies of those letters.

C. If you are picking a new appliance that uses refrigerants, look at the specs listed on the appliance and make sure it uses either R290 or R600 (or contact for more details).

VIII. The HeatSmart Warwick Campaign has concluded. Big thanks to Carolyn Cassata from Energize NY and to the volunteers who helped out!

IX. Deb Laporati made several suggestions

A. Do more of the plastic recycling, like the Lion’s Club.

B. Can we promote proper battery recycling in Warwick

C. Could we have a regular column in the newspaper on sustainability questions?

D. Glass presents lots of problems for multi-stream recycling. Is there a way to restart single stream recycling of glass?


Share your ideas for how to live sustainably in ways that save money. We’ll be compiling these ideas into a new presentation. Pictures that speak for themselves are the most prized. Share only things that you actually do and enjoy. Email with all of your suggestions on this topic.