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September 9th, 2014

NY City Council Hearing on the Climate March

The Public Hearing on the Climate March was chaired by Donovan J. Richards, with several other members of the Environment Subcommittee joining. The objective was the Resolution 356 to support the Climate March in NYC, 21 Sept 2014 and its objectives, mainly to influence a positive outcome of the upcoming Climate Meetings at the UN in Sept towards a stronger national and global commitment in addressing climate change.

The Hearing opened with an overview of global warming by the Archbishop of Mexico! The Hearing concluded 3+ hours later with a strong statement by our Barbara Harris focusing on the importance of closing Indian Point, moving to renewable energy, especially solar energy, highlighting the efforts of CUNY  throughout the metro area to introduce solar  energy on rooftops, training programs on green energy, among other innovative activities that the city and Council can draw upon. The Chairman indicated that he expected that Council Members will be joining the March.He also emphasized the March was a “new” beginning to mobilize  actions at all levels in the city, state and country towards a carbon neutral future.  ACTION: Call our local council members ensuring they vote yes on Resolution 356 asap!

And just to give an idea of the proceeding:
There were around 40 representations and around 80 people from different groups at the Hearing, endorsing the March and welcoming the City Councils support. Damascus Citizens for Sustainability had a strong technical panel clearly highlighting the amount of methane released in NYC through our outdated, leaking gas pipelines. They commented that making statements like we should have 30% renewable energy by 2030 is a useless goal. We should be talking about how soon can we become carbon neutral……noting that this could be reached sooner than we think if actions are taken. “Smart people invest in the future” was their closing plea to the Council.
RiverKeeper raised several interesting points: that the city council has Citizens Task for on Adaptation. This needs to be activated. And the importance of finding a way to make this a non=partisan issue….so that we really can move forward.

Representatives of the city employees union noted the extent that Hurricane Sandy affected city workers, with Environmental Justice highlighting the fact that the poorest in the city were amongst those hardest hit by Sandy. However as many stated, Climate Change affects all races, income groups….no discrimination.

From 350.org, the inter-faith mobilisation efforts were noted, including all religious groups who all expect to be well represented. It was noted that Archbishop Doyle has urged Catholics to join the March. There will also be an interfaith service at 6pm at St John the Divine and that church bells around the city and world will ring out at 1 pm on the 21st. Sept.
There were interesting presentations by Global Kids on what young people bring to the table; community gardens and the important role they play in neighborhood development, youth support, and producing food locally; Citizen Action highlighting the importance of young people and kids being better informed; reference to Passive House which is a low cost approach to retrofit buildings; and a Bill of Rights of mother Earth were among other points noted.

We all learned something at this Hearing. The main point: The March is just one action…..the real work is the actions after.

The Granny Peace Brigade was well represented: Bev, Joan, Nydia, Barbara H and Marty.

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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