by Rob English
New York has a new governor, Kathy Hochul, and there is big Infrastructure money coming from Washington. Besides jobs, what will this mean for you and me and to the environment?
Governor Hochul is from Upstate New York, and has visited every county in the state numerous times, proving her interest in our region. She is the type who you will find visiting your local diner, she says. What should we tell her when she stops at our table?
Will she pursue better wages and improved rights and living conditions for farm workers? New York has legislated improvements for farm workers and more are in discussion now.
as for the environment, unlike dry western states, New York is blessed with water – sometimes too much water. Warmer air holds more moisture, bringing heavier rain which damages crops and has caused river flooding and stream flash-flooding and people have died. State governments are addressing such Global Warming caused flooding by attempting to reduce carbon dioxide emissions whenever possible. Some have discovered that methane emissions must also be reduced. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is something like seventy times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and one main source of greenhouse methane is the burping of farm livestock. What can you and the governor do to help? Buy less meat!
Aside from rainfall, the rock basin that Lake Ontario sits on was compressed centuries ago by glacial ice and is now slowly decompressing, causing the lake to “spill” like a tilting bowl onto its New York shore where homes are. Governor Hochul will be called on to address that.
Drinking water is suspect or undrinkable in some areas of New York and must be improved. Chemicals that run off of farms add to polluting algae blooms in the state. Farmers need guidance, and perhaps money to help with that.
Along with the needed upgrades about to be made to roads and bridges, I would hope Governor Hochul will push for green animal bridges over selected highways so that wildlife can cross roadways safely. And culverts that go under our roads need to be upgraded to allow for small animals and fish to use them.
According to PewTrust.org, “Culverts constructed beneath roads can concentrate river flow, resulting in increased velocity, downstream erosion, and impediments to fish passage.”
Personally, I would ask our new governor to promote this idea above all: Barns that house large numbers of animals should be required to be sprinklered for the safety of farm workers and the animals housed in them. The idea may seem expensive, but Infrastructure money could provide low interest loans to farms with large numbers of animals at risk.
Beyond environmental issues, our new governor Hochul has much else to deal with. As I write this on her first day in office, she is saying that her first priority is making New Yorkers safer from the Covid-19 pandemic. We wish her luck, and I would only mention to her that those who eat more beans than meat tend to live longer and healthier.
Photos were taken from the https://www.governor.ny.gov/ website
Rob is a member of People for Animal Rights, a grassroots organization in Central New York,
Contact People for Animal Rights
P.O. Box 3333
Syracuse, NY 13220