The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has made it clear that climate change is here and it is a crisis that needs immediate action. As the climate crisis increases the number of extreme weather events that occur, low-income communities of color are disproportionately affected when disasters strike due to their historic disparities in access to governmental resources.
Green Our City Now is fighting environmental racism — racial discrimination in environmental policy-making, enforcement of regulations and laws, and targeting communities of color for toxic waste disposal and siting of polluting industries. We recognize and fight to remedy the negative cumulative impacts of unjust policies that have plagued communities of color for decades.
There is so much more, at the local level, to be done for environmental justice (EJ) — the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, policies, and activities and the distribution of environmental benefits. Local Law 60 and Local Law 64 codify environmental justice in New York City and we need to ensure we uplift the City’s commitment to undoing the legacy of environmental injustice; improving the lives of individuals who have been systemically left behind due to past and present racist policies; and guarantee an equitable future for marginalized communities.
Bronx – Years of environmental racism has battered much of the Bronx and its diverse array of residents. Poor air quality is one of the worst issues in the borough. It stems from multiple sources such as transportation emissions, peaker plants, and lack of community green spaces that lead to extremely high rates of adverse health effects, such as asthma. While the Bronx has so many important environmental issues that deserve attention, it presents an opportunity for the council members representing the nine districts to pass bold environmental legislation to counteract these injustices.
Brooklyn – For being the most populated borough, Brooklyn is significantly lacking in infrastructure. With about only 15% of the City’s bike lanes its cycling residents are left underserved and unprotected. Brooklyn also has the most subway stations of any borough but only a small portion of them are accessible. While major infrastructure upgrades are needed, Brooklyn is still home to numerous Environmental Justice communities that still deal with extreme heat, poor air quality, and lack of green space.
Queens – Often characterized by its diversity and size, queens is also home to a large portion of the city’s parks and shoreline. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is even bigger than Central Park meaning they require a lot of resources to keep it clean and maintained. The Rockaways are also highly susceptible to flooding and intense storms, some areas are still not built to withstand another superstorm like sandy. It is incumbent upon the following Queens Council Members to protect their borough inland neighborhoods and coasts.
Manhattan – Easily the most densely populated borough, Manhattan is often plagued by reckless drivers and trash piled up on the streets. An organic waste collection program would not only help us reduce our reliance on landfills but also cut down on pests and rodents. Manhattan is also home to massive skyscrapers that use an incredible amount of energy, lending to the buildings sector being the most emissions heavy industry in the city. Tackling these two issues will take complex and intricate policies, and the borough of Manhattan will be relying on the following ten council members to work with stakeholders to form such policies.
Staten Island – Home to the most green space in all of New York City, Staten Island is responsible for a massive part of our greenhouse gas offset and air purification. However, the borough is lacking in alternatives to cars, with only one train in the entire borough and only one way to access the island by foot or bike. The three council members representing the borough can make a huge impact for the many residents that live there by doubling down on their green spaces and investing heavily in transportation.