EXTREME HEAT COALITION: Catalyzing Legislative Action to Protect Communities
Extreme heat is the deadliest impact of climate change, and communities of color are the most affected. In New York City, for example, 50 percent of the heat-related deaths are among Black/African American people, even though they make up only 25 percent of the city’s population. This disparity can be traced back to policies like redlining that have resulted in decades of divestment in these communities, which are now burdened with older, often poorly maintained and energy inefficient housing stock, fewer street trees and green spaces, and lower wage job opportunities.
New York City and New York State have been slow to respond to the public health threat of extreme heat, and the responses they have undertaken are often poorly funded and fail to address the inequitable impacts. That’s why WE ACT for Environmental Justice joined forces with South Bronx Unite, Earthjustice, Groundwork Hudson Valley, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, NRDC, and HeartShare Human Services to form the Extreme Heat Coalition, with the goal of catalyzing legislative action that protects heat-vulnerable urban communities throughout the state.
We urge all New York City residents to join the coalition in urging the City to take action to address extreme heat:
Improving the City’s Cooling Centers
Cooling Centers are often the only relief for those of us without air conditioning. Yet the program has no funding. Our Cooling Center Audit Report identified gaps in coverage for heat-vulnerable neighborhoods, accessibility, and operating hours. We want to see an improved and fully-funded Cooling Center Program. Click here to send a letter to Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams
Cooling Our Communities with More Trees
One of the easiest ways to cool our communities is by planting more trees, and yet tree planting has hit its lowest level in 15 years. Join us in telling the New York City Council to create an Urban Forest Master Plan to assure proper growth, maintenance, and preservation of trees now and for generations to come. Click here to send a letter to your City Council Member
Establishing a Maximum Indoor Air Temperature
In New York, the law states that if the outside temperature falls below 55°F, then the inside air temperature must be at least 68°F everywhere in your apartment and in your building. But extreme heat is far deadlier than extreme cold, so why don’t we have a maximum indoor air temperature? Click here to sign our petition
JOIN OUR COALITION
If your organization is active on heat issues in a major metropolitan area in New York State, we encourage you to join the coalition by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.