A survey distributed last year by North Hemsptead’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force showed that over 70% of people that responded are concerned about the impacts of climate change in the town.
North Hempstead’s Town Board and task force sent the survey out in June 2022 which received approximately 500 responses that were collected and analyzed, according to a town release.
Key findings include 84% of respondents feel climate change is an urgent problem that needs to be prepared for, 73% felt unsafe from extreme storms and 72% from a loss of power and 84% are concerned about climate change for the next generation
About half of the respondents see the biggest barrier for progress as a resistance to change while 67% answered politics, according to the town.
“It is always important to check in with residents to ensure that their priorities match ours,” Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said in a statement. “Results from the survey confirm that our residents are worried about the impacts of climate change and want to get involved with actions the Town is planning to reduce emissions and help us adapt and thrive in a changing environment.”
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 83%, said they want to be part of the solution and they are interested in engaging in solutions that could include reducing waste, increasing recycling and resiliency measures, among other things.
Climate Smart Communities is a state program that helps municipalities work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. North Shore villages that are registered as a Climate Smart Community along with the town include Flower Hill, Great Neck Estates and Great Neck Plaza.
“It is clear that this is an urgent, time-sensitive issue that the community recognizes,” said Council Member Mariann Dalimonte said. “The town will be embarking on new initiatives to help our environment and participating in climate actions and projects to help us become a Climate Smart Community. I am very proud of efforts I am leading, including introducing a bike share program in Port Washington to reduce car dependency and adding oysters to our waterways to improve our water quality.”
In March, the town board voted to adopt a Climate Action Plan, which includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.
Staff from all town departments and the state Department of Planning and Environmental Protection will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan.
Oversight efforts include tracking and monitoring progress toward emission reduction goals, identifying proposed changes in policy, education and engagement, among other things.
“The information gathered from the survey enables us to prioritize certain climate-smart projects based on community interest,” Council Member Veronica Lurvey said. “For example, the findings showed increased interest in reducing the greenhouse gases emitted by landfills through activities such as composting. I am very interested in a municipal compost program that will make composting more accessible to our residents.”
The survey will again be redistributed every five years to gauge the progress in reducing fears of climate change in the town.