Bedford, New York, a wealthy community of 18,000 north of New York City, recently kicked off an ambitious plan for a sustainable future. It hosted a conference called an Environmental Summit to launch its efforts to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. The number of S.U.V.’s in the parking lot underscored the challenges facing the town in reaching that goal. It will have to convince residents that each needs to make a difference, and can do so through their choice of cars. Another issue is that houses are large in Bedford, and energy-hungry. Because Bedford provides some of New York’s water supply, the town can’t build a waste treatment plant. About fifty students attended the conference, signaling how much environmental consciousness has grown in just a generation, and providing an example for other towns to follow.
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