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HomePlanet LoopHappy Earth Day: Westchester's Own Challenge

Happy Earth Day: Westchester’s Own Challenge

This year’s Earth Day celebration underscores the important role of local Westchester governments in achieving the climate goals spelled out New York State Climate and Community Protection Act. The Act requires New York to have 100% clean power by 2040, be 100% carbon-neutral by 2050, and direct at least 35% of the benefits of climate programs to environmental justice communities. 

How do we get there?

A key priority in Westchester, according to the nonprofit New York League of Conservation Voters, lies in the transportation sector of our economy, which continues to generate the largest share of Westchester County’s damaging greenhouse gas emissions. The League has identified six top transportation action items for local governments in Westchester:

  • “Increase funding for Metro North and regional
    transit, increase service and routes, and improve
    and expand the capacity of the Metro North White
    Plains station.””
  • “Convert municipal fleets to hybrid, electric, or
    other clean energy vehicles. Replace diesel vehicles,
    especially those that transport children, with electric
    vehicles and buses.”
  • “Require electric vehicle charging stations in
    municipal garages and parking lots. Promote local
    ordinances that require EV charging in all new and
    renovated housing and commercial construction
    projects and provide incentives for EV charging
    in existing developments.”
  • “Reduce reliance on cars by creating complete
    streets with dedicated bus lanes, bike lanes, and
    walking paths that make it easier to walk, bike, use
    e-bikes and e-scooters, and take public transit.Create bike and scooter-sharing opportunities and expand electric car-share initiatives.”
  • “Explore congestion easing measures on
    county highways.”
  • “Evaluate ways to reduce emissions at
    Westchester Airport, including converting
    to EV ground vehicles, installing onsite solar
    facilities, and investing in efficiency projects.”

What Can You Do?

The Westchester County Department of Conservation and Sustainability offers advice on  sustainable transportation choices as follows:

  • Start a carpool with your coworkers: carpooling cuts down the number of vehicles on the road and helps you save on gas. For ridesharing opportunities, check out New York’s 511 Rideshare program. Additionally, Westchester County’s Department of Transportation offers SMART Commute programs and services for county businesses and their employees. A SMART Commute program is good for business, the economy and the environment.
  • Take public transportation: Taking mass transit is one of the best ways to cut back on your carbon emissions. Recently, the County invested in converting the Beeline fleet to electric vehicles so taking the bus will be more sustainable than ever.
  • Purchase an electric car: Buying an electric vehicle can be a smart long term investment: saving on fuel costs and reducing your carbon footprint.



Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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