Our mission is to develop sustainable communities across Putnam County, NY — ecologically sound, socially equitable, and economically responsible — today and for future generations. We believe that resolving the climate crisis requires all hands on deck.
We believe that developing a sustainable society requires adoption of ecological principles like diversity, circularity, adaptation, and interdependence. Ecosystems with greater diversity are stronger and more resilient to stresses. Contrary to popular belief, cooperation and collaboration are more frequently observed in nature than is competition. Human society must come to reflect the understanding that all life is interdependent and must be supported. The circular flow of materials in the natural world means that everything can be recycled, nothing is wasted. As the environment changes, species evolve and adapt.
Our Board of Directors
Today, our Board membership has grown to seven committed volunteer members. Our “staff” are unpaid volunteers, which both limits us (most of us are working other full time jobs) and also frees us from a need to constantly raise money for salaries and benefits. Our annual budget remains less than $10,000.
Sustainable Putnam was founded in February 2020, just one month before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. More than 60 Putnam residents gathered at Mahopac Public Library for a community meeting to organize for action in the face of the climate crisis.
Founding members Pete Elder, Jerry Katzban, Janet Jemmott (?), (Cold Spring lady?) Joe Montuori, Curtis Watkins, and Sarah Wilson formed a Board of Directors, naming Joe our first President. Jerry’s son, Jasper, designed and built our website. The Board incorporated Sustainable Putnam, Inc as a New York State nonprofit organization, opened a checking account and PO Box, then applied for (and received) federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. We were off and running.
In our first year, we instituted a community solar program and ran campaigns for the towns of Putnam Valley and Kent, and assisted with Phillipstown’s second community solar campaign. We coordinated Zoom meetings among the Putnam Climate Smart Task Force Coordinators to share information and learn from one another. Joe wrote blog posts and with Janet’s assistance, sent out regular email newsletters. Throughout the pandemic, Pete and Joe organized Zoom meetings to create community and develop our following. Joe began to offer virtual “energy coaching” sessions, now a mainstay of our Seven Steps to Clean Energy program.
Sustainable Putnam has occasional and ongoing partnerships with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Second Chance Foods, Putnam CAP, our Putnam County libraries, and each of the county’s three Climate Smart Task Forces, to name a few.
Today, Sustainable Putnam also boasts a Clean Energy Toolkit of online DIY resources, a Community Composting initiative, and our own quarterly Repair Cafés. Our beautiful and robust website is continually updated with more than a dozen pages of free information and resources. More than 800 residents subscribe to our eNewsletter.