For Immediate Release
January 8, 2015
NEW YORK, NY – WE ACT for Environmental Justice has been awarded a grant by The Kresge Environmental Program. The Grant which was given to non-profit organizations with a history of community based work, focuses on improving the resilience of low income, urban communities in the face of climate change.
With this Grant, WE ACT will be launching planning workshops in West, Central, and East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, these areas will be designated as four Resilience Capacity Zones. The workshops will engage community members in identifying key environmental issues that may affect Northern Manhattan and other low-income NYC communities, as well as a plan for adaptation.
The result of these workshops will be an action plan created that allows these high risk communities to be more prepared for the changing weather patterns and environmental shifts caused by climate change, in an article done on RTCC.org, “Oceanographer’s found that most of the American coast will experience high waters that are between 30-60cm’s above what is currently the average tide levels.” An increase like that will make disasters like Hurricane Sandy in New York the norm.
While climate change continues to be debated on the federal and state levels, the science is in. The average temperature is expected to rise between 4.1 and 5.7 degrees Fahrenheit and by 2050:between 1,200 and 1,500 people will likely die each summer from heat on average (heat island effect). It is this reason that so many from the WE ACT staff are excited about the community workshops. According to Aurash Khawarzad, WE ACT’s Policy Advocacy Coordinator, “We get to shift the conversation and decision making process. For too long, low-income communities of color have been excluded from making important decisions about the future of New York, leaving them vulnerable to environmental, economic, and other crises, we get to help change that.”
While outlining the next steps, WE ACT Executive Director Peggy Shepard promised an ambitious plan saying, “We will host a series of 9, facilitated planning meetings that, over the course of 4 months, will engage public/private-sector stakeholders, and leave us with a plan that the community can actually put to practice for their own climate resiliency.”