New York, NY -- Baking in the heat, activists lined the sidewalk in front of Governor Cuomo’s midtown Manhattan office. They carpeted the sidewalk with their bodies in a “die in” meant to dramatize the effects of climate change. They called on Cuomo to enact a Green New Deal for New York to stave off the climate crisis and create good jobs.
“We’re dying from the heat. Cuomo must finally stand up and take on the climate crisis. We’re already paying an enormous price for Cuomo’s slow action on stopping the fossil fuel industry. It’s time for Governor Cuomo to take a firm stand and reject all proposed fossil fuel projects across the state,” said Laura Shindell, Organizer with Food & Water Action.
Heat waves are worsened and caused by climate change. Extreme heat, such as today’s, causes death, disease and suffering, especially for people with respiratory illnesses, which are exacerbated by the smog that forms from climate-heating air pollution. Higher air pollution is linked to higher COVID death rates, which is especially high in communities of color.
“Black and Brown people already feeling the crises of disinvestment, COVID-19, and air pollution are now facing the consequences of extreme heat. The 1% must shoulder the costs of the solutions, not the working class,” said Illapa Sairitupac, organizer from NYC DSA.
The activists pointed to the state’s lack of action on climate, exemplified by a dirty, fossil fuel-powered grid that is only 5% wind and solar power. They called for a Green New Deal for New York: no more fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines and power plants; 100% renewable energy across the economy; public power and utilities; and taxing the rich to fund these programs, especially targeted to produce good, union jobs for low income and communities of color.
“Environmental racism is an issue that disproportionately affects the communities in Assembly District 31," says Khaleel Anderson, Democratic nominee in the 31st Assembly District. "Black and Brown people in my district already feel the crises of systemic disinvestment in green solutions and air pollution exacerbated by pollutants from JFK Airport, and it is proven that these factors have correlated to more significant health difficulties, particularly respiratory issues, disastrous amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1% must shoulder the costs of the solutions and collaborate with the working class to ensure that Green New Deal legislation is passed which secures the futures of both current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
The groups sponsoring the protest have formed a coalition called the Movement for a Green New Deal, and include 350.org, Food & Water Action, NYC-DSA, New York Communities for Change, and Sunrise NYC.