On February, 14th, 2015, a range of local residents, public officials, climate scientists, and others gathered at the WE ACT office to kick off a climate change planning initiative for Northern Manhattan. The meeting included overview presentations on the future impacts of climate change on New York City, such as an increase in severe storms and extended heat waves, to name a few, and provided opportunities for participants to discuss strategies for how communities can thrive in the face of future climate challenges.
The focus of this meeting, and of future public workshops, is on creating a climate action plan that outlines the threat that climate change poses to certain places and people, as well as methods for implementing climate solutions that address the crises with political and economic power that exists among Northern Manhattan's low-income communities of color. Other issues identified at the meeting, which will be added to at future workshops, can be found in the notes here.
The next meeting, where the climate action plan will begin its development, will be on April 4th. This workshop will be for residents of West Harlem and Washington Heights, with a workshop for East Harlem and Central Harlem occurring the following week on April 11th. For more information click here.
If anything, Sandy taught us that community resilience has to come from the ground up, and that city policy needs to not only support environmental changes, but also needs to strengthen communities before the disaster hits. Our communities will only get stronger if they organize and work together to push for organic solutions. As one participant at the workshop put it:
When Hurricane Sandy hit, there were a bunch of us who lost power in our buildings, and it just felt like no one was paying attention. I live in an 8 story building, and found myself having to go check on some of my older neighbors because there was no support. When I got my power back and complained, there was no response from City or government agencies. I don’t want to have to wait on people who don’t care about my community to do the right thing. Not when I can do what’s right on my own."
-Brandy Williams, Central Harlem resident
Please read more about climate change on this website and consider participating in this action-planning effort.