A local companion event to Rise for Climate rallies held across the country Saturday drew about three dozen people and a gas-masked Lady Liberty to Cobleskill’s Centre Park Saturday.
It also drew Joyce St. George of Margaretville, who’s challenging longtime incumbent Republican Jim Seward for his seat in the 51st District in November’s election.
Ms. St. George was in town to open her campaign headquarters in space she’s sharing with the Antonio Delgado and Aidan O’Connor campaigns for Congress and state Assembly respectively.
In a press conference before the rally, Ms. St. George called Senator Seward, first elected in 1986, vulnerable because of what she sees as a blue wave sweeping the country.
But her real focus was on the environment and climate change, neither, she said, partisan issues.
“We see the signs of climate change everywhere we look,” Ms. St. George said. “Hurricanes are slowing down, which means they’re lasting longer; we’re seeing more and worse floods…People can call it anything they want, but it’s changing our world.”
Ms. St. George, 67, started her career as a corruption investigator for the New York Attorney General’s office and today, owns and runs a small business in Delaware County with her husband.
Rather than despairing over climate concerns, she said, she sees it as an issue with “so many solutions” and an economic engine that can create new industries and jobs.
“We can’t keep going to the same things that created this situation, our addiction to fossil fuel and the lobbyists who keep the oil flowing,” she said.
“At some point, we have to start thinking—and acting—differently.
Ms. St. George said she’s certain the farming community, which she called “the most creative people I know,” can come up with solutions to their own environmental concerns and she said schools, SUNY Cobleskill, and in particular, BOCES, are well-positioned to train young people and even transitioning adults for the kind of environmental jobs that are just now being created.
Ms. St. George spoke in favor of Senate Bill S5908A, which would require the establishment of 100 percent clean energy system by 2030, mandate the adoption of a climate action plan, and create Climate Justice Working Groups for local solutions with local voices.
“Events like these [Saturday’s rally] draw attention to real concerns,” she told the crowd. “We don’t have to wait for change in Washington. There are many, many things we can do on the state level.”