September 6, 2018

Thousands of New Yorkers march demanding NY officials take bold action to avert climate catastrophe  

In coordination with 800+ global events, New Yorkers urge Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, all officials to Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice ahead of California-based Global Climate Action Summit

LIVESTREAM AVAILABLE HERE

PHOTOS AVAILABLE HERE: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmrYLUDZ

Photo credit: New York Communities for Change

New York, NY — In sweltering heat as a thunderstorm approached New York City, over 3,000 people from all five boroughs rallied in Battery Park and marched through Lower Manhattan demanding New York’s elected officials Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice. Organizers are demanding Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and every elected official take bold action to address climate change ahead of next week’s California-based Global Climate Action Summit through:

(1) a just transition to 100% renewable energy now;

(2) stopping all fossil fuel infrastructure, including fracked gas pipelines and power plant projects; and

(3) making corporate polluters pay.

“Today, thousands of New Yorkers are rising to demand what’s fair, necessary, and popular: a just transition off fossil fuels to 100% renewables for all,” said Denise Patel, Peoples Climate Movement – New York, and key organizers of today’s #RiseNY march. “In response to the Trump Administration’s regressive actions and ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, we need Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and every elected official in New York to rise with us for climate, jobs, and justice.”

With 104 groups formally endorsing, participants kicked-off with a series of powerful speakers by the waterfront in Battery Park. Then, led by young people of color, the crowd overflowing with music and art poured out of Battery Park and into the streets of Lower Manhattan.

Photo credit: Cristián Cáceres Granda

Thousands of New Yorkers marched uptown, passing the federal building to highlight the Trump administration’s dangerous regression on climate and City Hall to underscore the responsibility of local and state officials to step up and make New York the global model for climate action. The large march closed out in Zuccotti Park to symbolize worldwide activism for transformative change.

Photo credit: Cristián Cáceres Granda

Today’s march kicks off a weekend of over 800 coordinated events in 90 countries on Saturday, September 8. More than a dozen actions across New York state will echo the same demands of Cuomo, de Blasio, and elected officials. Many events will highlight specific fights against local fossil fuel projects, including fracked gas pipelines and power plants. Just yesterday, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announced his opposition to the proposed Williams Pipeline a 23-mile pipeline from New Jersey, past the Staten Island coast and Coney Island and into the Rockaways.

Photo credit: Cristián Cáceres Granda

New York State under Governor Andrew Cuomo is lagging in the fight against climate change, with only 4% of the state’s electricity coming from wind and solar. Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, New York City is divesting about $5 billion in oil and gas holdings from its massive pension funds and also suing oil companies for climate damages, making it a global model. Organizers of today’s march are highlighting the need for NYC to enormously speed up the commitment and laws needed to slash climate pollution.

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NOTES TO THE EDITOR

Contact: Lindsay Meiman, [email protected], + 1 (347) 460-9082

For more on #RiseNY, check out this Media Pack.

For more on the Rise for Climate global day of action, visit: riseforclimate.org

QUOTE SHEET

Petra Luna, member of Make the Road New York, said: “I have lived in this city for almost 20 years and both my kids and I suffer from chronic asthma. Too many New Yorkers have to live with poorly maintained housing that triggers asthma. To walk out of our defected apartments only to continue to breathe in harmful pollutants is unacceptable. My community of Bushwick ranks 9th in child asthma hospitalizations, twice the citywide rate. I join RISE NY on September 6th because I know we can do better. The health burdens on people of color communities are too high. We must transform this city so that your zip code does not determine your health outcome.”

Patrick Houston, Climate & Inequality Campaigns Organizer, New York Communities for Change, said: “Climate action cannot be measured down against the least common denominator, like the backward steps of the Trump administration. Rather, climate action must be measured up against the findings of scientists. When Koch-funded electeds, like New York Governor Cuomo, claim to be climate leaders, the people must rise to demand real and transformative climate leadership, rather than be appeased by Cuomo’s empty climate rhetoric. And so, on September 6th, we rise.”

Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer for Food & Water Watch, said: “New York and the country are looking to Governor Cuomo to be a true climate leader. This means moving off fossil fuels entirely – shutting down pipelines, power plants and all dirty energy infrastructure – and transitioning the state to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030.”

Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S. Communications Manager, 350.org, said: “With Trump and his fossil fuel cronies treating our communities like we are expendable, it’s more crucial than ever that Cuomo and officials at all levels fill this void with bold and immediate action to protect people and our home ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. The costs of climate inaction are paid for in the lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers. Together, we are building a fossil free New York with 100% renewables for all, a ban on all new and planned fossil fuel projects, and polluters paying for their destruction.”

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez is an emergency room nurse from the Bronx, and President of the NY State Nurses Association (NYSNA), said: “As both witness and caregiver to victims of climate change-induced disasters and toxins, NYSNA nurses are protesting alongside our allies in the Climate Justice Movement today. We believe that a just transition to publicly-owned clean energy is essential to earth’s survival, as we phase out the use of planet-destroying fossil fuels; and that the creation of quality sustainable energy employment is a must for the well-being of our world’s inhabitants.”

Kim Fraczek and Lee Ziesche, Sane Energy Project, said: “While Governor Cuomo is presenting himself as a climate leader on the national stage, the truth is New York’s current energy policy is crushing the development of community solar and billions are still being invested in fracked gas infrastructure.  New Yorkers deserve real climate leadership to bring about the swift, just transition we need to ensure all of our citizen have access to clean, affordable energy.”

Alex Tindal Wiesendanger, campaign coordinator for the NY Renews coalition, said: “The over 140 organizations of NY Renews statewide are calling on Governor Cuomo to be a true climate leader on the national stage this fall. The Governor can create hundreds of thousands of green jobs and protect the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers by passing legislation to transition New York to 100% renewable energy. We need to move beyond playing defense to the Trump administration’s egregious injustices; we need a leader who fights for a 100% renewable economy that prioritizes our most vulnerable communities and inspires other states to follow suit.”

Irene Woodard, Board Member, GreenFaith, said: “There’s one non-negotiable for people of faith: the Earth, God’s creation, is a sacred gift whose care is in our hands. It couldn’t be clearer that all our elected officials need to get serious, much more serious, about the climate threat and take action at the level needed to protect all people – particularly the most vulnerable among us.  That’s why people of faith and spirit, in New York and around the world, are rising for climate, jobs and justice this September.”

Nancy Romer, Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, AFT #2334, Environmental Justice Working Group, said: “Labor is stepping up and joining the climate movement to demand a quick and just transition to 100% renewable energy.  Let’s end the fossil fuel economy and bring in a renewable energy economy that will bring good, union jobs to millions of people, especially to those most affected by the dual crises of climate and inequality.”

Aaron Eisenberg, New York City DSA, Climate Justice Working Group, said: “We are tired of the years of inaction and dysfunction in Albany. We are tired of the Wall St corporations that got us into this mess. We are tired of an economy based on extraction that works for only the few. New York not only deserves more, we need more. Today in Battery Park, joined by over 100 NYC-DSA members and thousands of allies, we say enough. We rise for a sustainable future where people and planet are placed above profit. We rise for climate, jobs and justice because we have a radically just and sustainable world to win. We rise for a New York for us all.”

Shay O’Reilly, New York City Organizing Representative at the Sierra Club, said:  “If Governor Cuomo wants to be a credible leader at the Global Climate Action Summit, he needs to step up and take action to match his rhetoric. We need to finalize the pollution protections for coal plants by the end of the year while ensuring that energy is not replaced with fracked gas, and increase our investments in offshore wind and electric vehicles so that we can move the state to a 100 percent renewable energy economy.”  

Andy Morrison, Campaigns Director or Sarah Ludwig, Co-Director, said: “Our economy does not work for all of us. In fact, it runs on extraction. Whether it’s wealth extraction from our neighborhoods, or it’s the extraction of natural resources from our planet, exploitative corporations put profit over people. We, as New Economy Project, rise to transform our economy into one rooted in racial justice, democracy, cooperation, and ecological sustainability. By working with groups throughout New York City to build and expand alternative economic institutions—from community land trusts and public banks to worker and neighborhood-based financial cooperatives—we can help stem the rising tide of climate change and build a sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”

Arthur Z. Schwartz, NYPAN New York Progressive Action Network, said: “We are rising because our country, and our world, needs new, dynamic leadership unafraid to break with the old, if we are going to save our planet, and create a just world.”

Nydia Leaf, Granny Peace Brigade, said: “Our planet needs Peace in the form of actions that will end the violence of wars, racism and poverty.  The Granny Peace Brigade will not stop.”

Justin Green, Executive Director and Founder of Big Reuse, said: “As we cleaned up our flooded center after Sandy, it was painfully clear climate change is impacting New York and we must take aggressive action now to slow climate change. 100% switch to renewables by 2030 is ambitious but a absolutely needed response to our growing climate change emergency.  As we see escalating flash floods, record high temperatures, erratic weather, storm surges, and rising sea levels – we can not wait to take action.”

Jeff Levy-Lyons, Jewish Climate Action Network NYC, said: “​Jewish Climate Action Network NYC (JCAN NYC) raises the voices of the Jewish community to protect sacred creation by living sustainably on our common home​. On Sept. 6 we​ rise with all New Yorkers to call for our leaders to make bold commitments to move ​our city and state​ to a clean energy economy ​with good, green jobs and​ environmental justice for all.”

Robert Wood, Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition, said: “Climate change is already affecting New York’s frontline communities, and projects like the proposed Williams NESE pipeline, which would carry fracked gas under New York Harbor, would ​only fuel the fire. We rise to demand that Cuomo ​do what is so obviously right for these and other New Yorkers: ban ​all ​fossil fuel infrastructure​ and embrace a more equitable, sustainable future.”

Nancy Lorence, Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement, said: “As Catholics, We Rise and we are still in! Over 600 U.S. Catholic institutions have signed a declaration saying so. We Rise because life itself is threatened by climate change. We Rise because climate change will affect most those who have the least.  We Rise as a moral and ethical stance. We Rise for our children and our grandchildren who face a future less than our own. We Rise for the common good of all.”

Allen Roskoff, President, The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, said: “The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, named after the founding president of the Gay Activist Alliance, joins hands with our brothers and sisters to fight the Trump administration as they are doing irreparable damage to our planet.  Fighting for civil rights and equality must include fighting the climate crisis for the sake of humanity.”

Harriet Shugarman, Chapter Chair, The Climate Reality Project NYC Metro Chapter, said: “The Climate Reality Project NYC Metro Chapter stands in solidarity with communities across the metro area and around the country, as together we Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice. We in the New York City metro area are on the front lines of climate change. We demand bolder and more immediate climate action from all our elected officials. Now, our future, and the world our children will live in, depends in large part on what we do today. Together we Rise.”

Margaret Tran, Organizer at Action Corps NYC, said: “Action Corps NYC rises to agitate and advocate for climate, jobs, and justice! Governor Cuomo, let’s lead the way by moving off fossil fuels now.”

Smitha Varghese, NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson and Queens College student, said: “Students across New York State rise up to stand with our allies in demanding climate justice. Governor Cuomo and all other state officials must do everything in their capacity to stop all future fossil fuel infrastructure across the state. Our future depends on it!”

Rob Watson, Board Chair, Green Schools Alliance, said: “Our leaders of tomorrow are looking to Governor Cuomo and other leaders of today to take strong, affirmative action to stop unmanageable climate change.  Strengthening energy saving building codes and retrofitting schools and other buildings to full technical potential, increasing renewable energy siting on buildings and off-shore; expanding funding for mass transit, promoting low-carbon agriculture are just a few of the measures that can be taken immediately to take our species’ foot off the climate change accelerator pedal. Today’s students are already facing a future of 2 degrees plus warming with its attendant catastrophic impacts on oceanic acidification, food production, disease, coastal inundation and millions of climate refugees. We must reach across generations, across political parties and boundaries to create the future we want to see: one of abundance and harmony for all species of the earth.”

Adam Flint, Director of Clean Energy Programs for the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition in New York’s Southern Tier, said, “For three years, community organizations such as ours have invested time and resources to help make New York a leader, not only in clean energy deployment, but in its accessibility for working class people and environmental justice communities. Today, we’re calling on Governor Cuomo to truly be a national leader for green energy by bringing back the option of net metering for solar power – we have already lost hundreds of millions of dollars in solar investment and the jobs, and New York can’t afford to lose even more.”

 

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