Bedford 2020 encourages the community to help the environment


Charlotte Burchetta '22

Bedford 2020 invites the Bedford, New York community to engage in projects to benefit the environment.

Ms. Ellen Rouse Conrad and Ms. Olivia H. Farr co-founded the organization Bedford 2020 to encourage members of the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural resources in 2010.  The organization exceeded its goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, prompting Bedford 2020 to expand and become Bedford 2030.  The organization inspired many people, including Bedford, New York resident eighth-grader Avery Kim.

Bedford 2020’s motivation was the Town of Bedford’s Climate Action Plan.  The Town of Bedford Energy Advisory Panel and the Bedford Garden Club held the Bedford Environmental Summit January 31, 2009.  The intention of the summit was to further educate locals on the most significant environmental concerns, sparking the Climate Action Plan and the 20 percent reduction goal.  The Climate Action Plan focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, food and agriculture, transportation, and recycling as the five main action areas they hoped to address.

Bedford 2020 exceeded the 20 percent goal of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction with a 40 percent decrease.  The local organization is now developing a new goal to transition to Bedford 2030.

Bedford 2020 exceeded its 20 percent goal for 2020 by 40 percent in 2017.  Courtesy of

GHGs consist of 82 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), ten percent methane (CH4), six percent nitrous oxide (N2O), and three percent fluorinated gases such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons, according to  Although they can be harmful, the Climate Action Plan says that GHGs, which trap heat in the atmosphere, are what keeps the Earth at a hospitable temperature

In 2009, the Climate Action Plan recognized that the industrial economic habits society has adopted have had a drastic change on the climate.  CO2 emissions increased by 80 percent from 1970 to 2004, according to ipcc.chWith temperatures already increasing, scientists predicted in 2001 that if the nobody made changes, the Earth would warm up at a rate of 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, according to ipcc.chThis discovery sparked action amongst the founders of Bedford 2020, hoping to encourage and inform locals that helping is easier than originally thought. 

“I think there is a lack of hope and people think, ‘There is nothing I can do,'” Ms. Conrad said, according to  “That’s one reason we’re having a Summit.  It’s an opportunity to bring the region together and realize we’re part of something bigger.”

Bedford 2020 held multiple events following its launch in 2010, each promoting climate action and change.  The first was a car show April 28, 2013 “Hot Cars For A Cooler Tomorrow,” according to  The following events were the Environmental Summit and Solar Action Day, Power Up for Clean Energy New York, the Food Forum, the Climate Action Summit, and the Moon Dance.

In addition to organizing events, Bedford 2020 has launched various initiatives to encourage residents to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.  “Community Compost” is a Bedford 2020 organized initiative and grant from New York State.  The project encourages composting and allows residents form the Town of Bedford to sign up for a curbside food scrap pick-up.

Eighth-grader Avery Kim is passionate about helping the environment, and has participated in Bedford 2020’s “Community Compost” program for over a year.

“Bedford 2020 is helping our community actually take steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and our negative effect on the environment and gives people ways to become more environmentally friendly in their homes and daily lives,” Avery said.  “My family has been participating in their ‘Community Compost’ program for a year and a half now.”

“Energize Bedford” and “HeatSmart” are programs designed to reduce GHG emissions and help homeowners save money.  The three-step process helps assess what energy plan is best and cheapest for specific houses, installs new and effective heating and cooling systems, and saves energy and money, which benefits the owners and the Earth.

Bedford 2020 is now aiming their initiatives toward a goal for Bedford 2030.  Sydney Kim ’20

Bedford 2020 also initiated the “Take it or Leave it Shed,” a shed in the Bedford Hills Train Station Parking Lot that promotes recycling and reusing.  Residents of Bedford can drop off unwanted household appliances that are in working condition, and anyone is allowed to take the items.  The shed encourages people to recycle not only plastic and paper, but also goods that they do not want.  The shed also allows people to save money on items from seeds and plants to electronics and puzzles.

Avery feels that the human race has a responsibility to care for the Earth.  As an active participant in helping the environment, she feels that fixing problems modern human society has created for other forms of life is incredibly important.

“Helping the environment is extremely important to me because, first, climate change is our fault; humans’ actions are causing it, so we are consequently affecting all the other life, and since we must coexist with other life, it’s our responsibility to fix this,” Avery said.  “I want to fix what humans have done by destroying things we have no right to interfere with, and because this is the only world I have to live in; I want it to be right and beautiful.”

Featured Image by Charlotte Burchetta ’22