September Newsletter

Greetings from Manhattan!

We spent almost the entire month of September in the Empire State. We began in Buffalo and then snaked along a very historic (and muggy!) 338 miles of the Erie Canal through small towns and farmland. In Waterford, NY we set off into the strong tidal currents of the Hudson River and down to the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  

The most exciting part of September was finally starting the primary phase of our Climate Odyssey project! We began by profiling our first community, the Lower Hudson Valley, and quickly learned that we had stumbled upon the starting point of much of the environmental movement in the US. In short the Hudson was a polluted and toxic mess and several groups formed in the 60’s and 70’s to help clean it up. One of these, Clearwater, even sailed from the Hudson to DC to rally support for the Clean Water Act! Sailing and environmental awareness turn out to not be such a new combination.

In total we interviewed four non-profits and two artists and spent a day teaching middle schoolers in Manhattan. We learned about climate change impacts in the region including threats to New York’s elaborate and delicate water system, the devastation that followed hurricanes Lee, Irene, and Sandy, and how invasive species pose a variety of challenges. We learned about adaptation strategies like restoring marshes and starting flood buyout programs to move people and property out of the way of floods. We’ve gathered thousands of pictures and now many personal stories too that we are excited to share in the form of blog posts and the interactive map! 

As I shared in a recent post, the computer programming required to build the map remains challenging. But I still hope to have some sort of artistic resource to share with you soon. I also have a lot of new posts coming out in the next week as we gather up our notes from the past few days and hunker down to wait out hurricane Joaquin.

Thank you as always for your support! We’ll keep you posted as the storm approaches,

Lucy and Zion

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