Inequality and Ida
Climate Injustice Slams New York
Rainfall from hurricanes that start far to our south is nothing new to New Yorkers. Hurricane Ida was different, crashing into Louisiana only to resurrect itself for a second ruinous round against the Northeast. As with all environmental calamities, poor people and people of color were hit “first and worst.” The housing crisis that has intensified the health crisis of Covid-19 took another deadly turn as people living in basement apartments drowned in their homes.
For those who need help or want to give help in NYC, Councilmember Brad Lander’s office has this list of resources while EarthJustice has information on aid for Louisiana.
350Brooklyn’s mission is to “build a world that is just, equitable and sustainable.” Mostly we focus on ending reliance on fossil fuels. But we’re also working to improve New York’s ability to protect vulnerable communities from the devastation of extreme weather. We helped to pass the Renewable Rikers Act, which mandates a feasibility study for a new wastewater treatment plant on Rikers. And we work with the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice toward achieving environmental justice; a top demand is to mitigate the combined sewage overflow that pollutes the Gowanus area, particularly during heavy rains.
Governor Kathy Hochul has promised that New York will be better prepared for the record-breaking storms she says we must expect. But preparedness and resilience are not enough. We must raise the pressure on Hochul and the legislature to deal with the root causes of climate change. This includes passing and signing the Climate and Community Investment Act to fully fund the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed in 2019.
Even now, forces of the status quo are trying to take the teeth out of key city and state climate legislation, including the CLCPA and New York City’s Local Law 97. We can’t let them get away with it. We have to fight with everything we’ve got for the survival of our city and our world. If not now, when?