Conservation

Welcome to the main Conservation page of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s New York-North Jersey Chapter. The Chapter promotes conservation efforts in New York and New Jersey and supports AMC Club-wide conservation efforts. We encourage local advocacy such as writing to elected officials and attending town meetings, employ members’ expertise and enthusiasm for conservation work at Chapter level, and promote conservation awareness as an integral part of Chapter-organized recreational activities.

The Chapter covers an area containing unique ecosystems created by the Hudson River as well as the nation’s largest city and a diverse population. The Conservation Committee welcomes comments, suggestions, and insights from AMC members on conservation matters affecting New York and New Jersey. Contact us at conservation@amc-ny.org.

What you can do to support conservation

Confronting climate change and other environmental issues can seem like a daunting task, but there’s a lot you can do as an individual. Get started today:

Take action on environmental issues in New York and New Jersey

Make your voice heard on pressing conservation issues such as transportation alternatives and clean energy by contacting elected representatives. Use the Take Action links below to generate pre-filled emails to decision makers. You can also use the messages as phone call scripts. Check back for new action items and let us know what you’re concerned about by emailing conservation@amc-ny.org

Funding for the Essex-Hudson Greenway in New Jersey

Status: Authorized

Take Action: Thank New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

On November 12, 2021, New Jersey Governor Murphy announced that funding to purchase the land for the Essex-Hudson Greenway has been secured. This is an important win for the residents of the local communities through which the greenway will pass, as well as for all residents of New Jersey.

The multi-use Essex-Hudson Greenway will provide local recreation and also a non-motorized commuter transportation corridor for 1 million people who live within 1.5 miles of it. The greenway will be part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail and will connect to other parks.

Take Action

Reduce plastic waste in New Jersey

Status: Pending

Take Action: Urge New Jersey Assembly members to support New Jersey Recycled Content Bill

All too often plastic and other items are used once and then discarded. They end up in landfills, along roadways, and in waterways.New Jersey has an opportunity to reduce this cycle of manufacture, discard, then manufacture new again. Bill A.4676, which has been passed by the New Jersey Senate, now before the Assembly, would set minimum standards for post-consumer recycled content in several types of commonly used plastic items, as well as glass containers and paper carryout bags. It would also prohibit sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging.

This bill establishes recycled content requirements for:

  • plastic containers
  • reusable carryout bags made of plastic film
  • plastic trash bags
  • glass containers
  • paper carryout bags

Adoption of this bill will be a win on multiple levels. The amount of waste in garbage dumps and litter along highways and waterways will be reduced, and the amount of oil used to manufacture new plastic will also be reduced. Learn more about the “Plastic Pollution Plague.”

Take Action

Protect 30% of New York’s land by 2030

Status: Pending

Take Action: Contact New York State legislators

National efforts are underway to protect at least 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 (30×30). This ambitious goal will help mitigate climate change impacts and protect biodiversity. New York State must do its part to reach this goal. A bill in the state legislature, S.6191/A.5390-A, would amend New York’s existing environmental conservation law so that the state’s land acquisition plan would incorporate the goal of facilitating the conservation of at least 30% of land in New York by 2030.

Benefits of achieving this goal would include:

  • Safeguards for the state’s economic and sustainability and food security
  • Protections and restoration projects for biodiversity
  • Enabling enduring conservation measures, to be defined in the plan, on a broad range of landscapes, including urban, suburban, and rural natural areas, watersheds, and working lands, urban and rural agricultural lands, and resilient and connected lands, in partnership with land managers, farmers, and other stakeholder groups
  • Building climate resilience, reducing risk from extreme climate events, and contributing to the state’s effort to mitigate climate change
  • Expanding access to nature and nature’s benefits in communities in every region of the state, and expanding equitable outdoor access and recreation

Learn more about AMC’s advocacy for 30X30.

Take Action

Protect Liberty State Park

Status: Pending

Take Action: Urge New Jersey legislators to pass the Liberty State Park Protection Act

Liberty State Park is an oasis in Jersey City, the second most populous city in New Jersey. It provides recreation for local residents and visitors from further away, and also provides a habitat for wildlife. The park has trails for hiking, biking, nature walks, a playground, and areas for fishing and crabbing.

Since the park opened on June 14, 1976, there have been many attempts to take some of the 1,221-acre parkland for commercial use. The most recent is a proposal to lease the Craven Point section, a haven for wildlife, environmental education, and nature explorers to a private luxury golf club for three holes. It was thought that this issue was settled in 2018 when the Department of Environmental Protection rejected this privatization plan.

The Liberty State Park Protection Act, under consideration by the New Jersey legislature, would protect the park, including Craven Point, from privatization and commercial development. However, lobbyists are attempting to keep Craven Point exempt from its protection. Your help is needed to protect the park and Craven Point. Write to your legislators now, telling them to fully support the Liberty State Park Protection Act without any exemptions, the only way to end privatization threats.

Take Action

Cleaner transportation alternatives in New York

Status: Pending

Take Action: Ask New York Governor Kathy Hochul to support the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. New York has a very aggressive climate change law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, requiring the state to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050. While the act would create a plan to look at the transportation sector, New York has an opportunity to act now and sign on to the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program memorandum of understanding. Several other states have already signed on to make transportation in their states cleaner. Tell Governor Hochul now that we need her to sign the TCI Memorandum of Understanding. Learn more about the Transportation Climate Initiative and NY for TCI below and watch a video about AMC’s Net Zero Initiative.

Take Action

Cleaner transportation alternatives (NJ)

Status: Pending

Take Action: Urge New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to support the Transportation and Climate Initiative program

New Jersey has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Almost half of those emissions come from transportation. The state is implementing programs to electrify transportation, but more needs to be done. New Jersey should sign the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program Memorandum of Understanding, joining several other states which have already signed. Tell Governor Murphy now that we need him to sign it now!

Learn more about the Climate and Transportation Initiative and NY for TCI, and watch a video about AMC’s Net Zero Initiative.

Take Action

Reduce plastic waste

Status: Legislation passed in 2020; the law goes into effect in May 2022

Take Action: Thank New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for signing legislation to ban plastic bags.

With the signing of this bill, New Jersey now has what some consider to be the strongest measure against single-use plastics in the nation.

Single-use plastics become litter on our streets. They take up a large amount of landfills. They go into our waterways and eventually into oceans, where they remain. Most plastics do not disappear over a period of time – they just break into smaller pieces. The manufacture and transportation of plastic bags and paper bags contributes to air pollution and climate change.

This law addresses part of the plastics pollution problem by prohibiting food service businesses from giving customers single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food containers. The bans apply to a variety of businesses, including restaurants, convenience stores, food trucks, movie theaters, and grocery stores that are 2,500 square feet or larger. Grocery stores specifically would be prohibited from giving paper bags to customers.

What bags are exempt?

  • Reusable plastic carryout bags with stitched handles
  • Bags used solely for uncooked meat, fish, or poultry
  • Bags used solely for loose items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, baked goods, candy, greeting cards, flowers or small hardware
  • Bags used solely to contain live animals, such as fish
  • Bags used solely to contain food sliced or prepared to order, including soup or hot food
  • A laundry, dry cleaning, or garment bag
  • Bags carrying prescription drugs
  • A newspaper bag

Some additional items will be exempt until 2024.

More information on single-use plastics can be found here.

Take Action

Protect the health of New Jersey residents

Status: Pending

Take Action: Urge New Jersey Assembly and Senate Members to press for committee hearings for the Green Amendment

New Jersey has laws to protect the health of its residents and the environment; yet many water systems contain carcinogens, many residents have health issues due to air quality, and New Jersey has more Superfund sites than any other state. New Jersey residents deserve to have an even higher level of protection of their health and the environment through an amendment to the state constitition, the Green Amendment (ACR72 / SCR15)

The proposed New Jersey Green Amendment has been languishing in the Senate and Assembly for several years without committee hearing, despite 70 legislative co-sponsors. Committee hearings are necessary before legislation can be voted on by the full Senate/Assembly.

Ask your state senator and assembly persons to push for the necessary hearings. 

Take Action