#Sandy5 Will Demand Bold and Visionary Climate Action from de Blasio, Cuomo, Schumer in Wake of Extreme Weather Disasters
New York, NY — Today, a broad and diverse coalition of New Yorkers announced plans for a mass mobilization around the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. On Saturday, October 28th, groups will assemble in Cadman Plaza Park and march over the Brooklyn Bridge to rally at the Smith New York City Housing Authority Houses on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which were heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy.
This comes right after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma tore through communities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean, devastating families, bringing unprecedented rainfall and flooding, and landing the record for strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. Five years after Sandy, New Yorkers know firsthand how difficult the road to recovery is.
Under the banner “we remember, we resist, we rise,” #Sandy5 calls for remembrance of lives lost and damage incurred from the Superstorm; resistance against the fossil-fueled Trump administration’s rollbacks of climate and community protections; and demands Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Senator Chuck Schumer go beyond incremental steps toward championing unprecedentedly bold climate policies that make New York a model for the just transition we need: away from an extractive fossil fuel economy and toward a regenerative economy that works for all.
To achieve this shared vision, organizers are putting forth clear demands:
At the city level, Mayor Bill de Blasio must get Sandy survivors back in their homes, fix still-damaged NYCHA and affordable housing, and meaningfully work with communities to ensure our most vulnerable make it through coming storms, heat waves, and extreme weather; support the urgent call to divest from fossil fuel companies knowingly causing climate change and reinvest in a sustainable economy that works for all New Yorkers.
At the state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo must pass the NYRenews policy platform in 2018 and commit the State to 100% renewable energy, thousands of good union jobs and true environmental justice by making oil and gas polluters pay.
At the federal level, Senator Chuck Schumer must stop the Trump administration’s disastrous climate-killing agenda by fully funding the EPA, blocking Senator Mitch McConnell’s dirty energy bill, and supporting legislation for 100% renewable energy.
Similarly to the People’s Climate Marches in New York in 2014 and in Washington, DC this past April, organizing groups represent a broad spectrum of movements fighting for climate, jobs, and justice. The mobilization will be anchored by Good Old Lower East Side, LESReady, Move Forward Staten Island, and former members of Rockaway Wildfire, as representatives of those most severely affected by Sandy, as well as those most vulnerable to future impacted. Additional organizers include NYRenews, 350.org, PCM-NY, New York Communities for Change, 350NYC, Sunrise NYC, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, and many more.
Following Saturday’s march to demand bold climate action, communities most impacted by Superstorm Sandy will hold local events on Sunday, October 29th to commemorate damage faced and celebrate resilience being built.
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, said:
“Climate change affects everyone, but it won’t affect everyone equally. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately at risk in disaster, as they were in the aftermath of Sandy in 2012. Our future planning cannot focus solely on rebuilding physical infrastructure without addressing the underlying social fault lines that are exposed by these disasters. As the Trump administration rolls back progress on environmental and social issues, New York’s elected officials must act on climate change before it is too late.”
Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change now living in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, said:
“Our family lost our home in Sandy. Five years later, my daughter still has nightmares and gets scared when it rains. All these storms are climate change, brought to us by the likes of Exxon and Trump, who are now taking the federal government backwards. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have the power to create many good new jobs for people who need it badly by moving us now to actually solve the climate crisis. It’s time for them to pass and implement bold solutions, now, not call their tiny, tentative little baby steps on this issue of our collective survival ‘leadership’. That’s why I’m marching.”
Leslie Cagan, Coordinator of the People’s Climate Movement NY, said:
“On October 28th, we will march to remember the destruction Superstorm Sandy brought to NYC and the region. That storm, like Katrina, Harvey and Irma, like historic droughts and massive wildfires, are vivid reminders that global climate change is real and it is deadly. Now is the time for bold, swift and comprehensive action. Now is the time for Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to move beyond the nice speeches and take the steps necessary to move New York into a new 100% renewable energy economy. New York can move off of fossil fuels, create new jobs and ensure a commitment to racial and social justice. It can be done. It must be done.”
Jon Forster, Founder of the DC37 Climate Justice Committee, said:
“If it was not for the response of labor union members throughout this City, the impacts of Super Storm Sandy would have been far more devastating. The TWU members amazingly restored almost the entire subway system in 10 days; the volunteer nurses of NYSNA were the only source of health care in the Rockaways for weeks; DC37 members and others walked through the 30 story NYCHA complexes to bring food and water to the sick and elderly. And these were only some of the stories. As with 9/11, union members were absolutely critical in the response to and recovery from Sandy.”
Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE and Co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, said:
“Five years after Superstorm Sandy struck the eastern seaboard, our hearts ache as climate catastrophe unfolds across the Gulf, the Caribbean, and Florida. And we are now facing a federal administration that is maximizing emissions, rolling back racial justice victories, and ensuring economic insecurity, all of which put our family, our friends, and our people in grave peril. We are relentless in our mission to elevate the frontline in the struggle for climate justice, building strongholds of resistance and resilience at the local level, and advancing models of just transitions away from extraction and exploitation. For there to be any hope of a livable climate and sustainable economy for our children and grandchildren, we need our elected officials and public agencies to recognize the scale of the threat, embrace frontline leadership, and enact monumental climate action immediately.”
Betámia Coronel, Reinvestment Coordinator at 350.org, said:
“The day after Sandy devastated New York, we launched an urgent call for our elected officials to divest from the very fossil fuel companies knowingly causing this type of destruction. Now, with the fossil-fueled Trump administration and record-breaking storms, the window for meaningful climate action is quickly closing. Let’s be clear: New York’s over $8 billion of fossil fuel investments finance climate disasters like Superstorm Sandy. It’s unacceptable that Comptroller Scott Stringer and our elected officials pay lip service to climate action while pouring public money into rogue corporations like ExxonMobil. Climate denial and inaction is paid for in peoples’ lives, homes and families. Five years after Sandy, we rise united to demand our elected officials do the right thing: divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in the clean energy transformation that works for all. New Yorkers cannot wait any longer.”
Dan Sherrell, campaign coordinator of NYRenews, said:
“From Sandy and Irene to Harvey and Irma, climate catastrophe is a reality for millions of American families right now. People are losing their homes, they’re losing their savings, even their lives. On the 5th Anniversary of Sandy we’re joining thousands of New Yorkers to tell Governor Cuomo we need him to take visionary climate action this year to protect our city. That means making polluters pay for the damage they’re doing to our climate, and using the money to fund renewable energy, good jobs, and resilient communities.”
Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, RN, President of New York State Nurses Association, said:
|“When Hurricane Sandy hit, leaving New Yorkers knee deep in water, without power, medications, or access to care, nurses in our union rose to the occasion for our patients. Such Extreme Weather Events are becoming commonplace, and it is now abundantly clear that profound climate change is a result of our dependence on fossil fuels. Nurses will always defend our patients, and that means standing up for Climate Justice now more than ever.”
George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East – the largest healthcare union in the United States, said:
“Healthcare workers in New York not only suffered the effects of Hurricane Sandy in their own homes, but we were also at the forefront of the evacuation and rescue operations, as hospitals and nursing homes across the city were badly hit by rising flood water. 1199 members know from first-hand experience that the climate crisis is a major threat to our way of life and we call on our elected officials to urgently address its causes.”
Daniela Lapidous, NYC coordinator for Sunrise Movement, said:
“We are a movement of young people asking our representatives to make a choice: do they serve to protect the profits of fossil fuel billionaires, who knew about and denied climate change? Or do they serve the people, who deserve a future safe from fear of another Hurricane Sandy? Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and Senator Schumer: the eyes of a generation of young New Yorkers are on you. We will hold you accountable to protecting our futures.”
Mimi Bluestone, co-leader of 350Brooklyn, said:
“This season’s hurricanes, wildfires and droughts are telling the rest of the nation what New York learned five years ago when Superstorm Sandy struck: we must face the climate crisis head on. New Yorkers demand policies that go beyond resilience and mitigation. It’s time to move as quickly as humanly possible away from fossil fuels to a clean, sustainable energy system.”
Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York), said:
“As the risks of climate change intensify and as the federal administration rolls back vital climate protections and local hiring policies, New York must build its resilience to future storms, with workers and communities at the forefront. After Sandy hit five years ago, a powerful coalition of faith, labor and community organizations came together to create the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding. The alliance won the precedent-setting ‘Build it Back’ program that created good career-track jobs for members of communities impacted by Sandy. Holding the victims of Sandy, Harvey and Irma in our minds, we must continue to build towards a just, climate-resilient future.”
Denise Patel, Coordinator of the Divest-Invest Network, said:
“Fossil fuel companies, like Exxon, spent decades denying that use of their product causes climate change, putting profit ahead of people and the planet. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and wildfires in the West, it is undeniable that we live in a climate changed world. We need New York’s leaders to take bold action and stand up to the fossil fuel industry and the kleptocracy it has created within our federal government. New York must break ties with the industry that has wrought destruction of our planet and communities. It’s time for New York to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions that put our most vulnerable populations first and create good paying jobs to build a sustainable, fossil-free future.”
Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Watch, said:
“Climate chaos is here and now, with each superstorm a tragic message that we must reject dirty fossil fuels and move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. We must honor the victims of Sandy, as well as now Harvey and Irma, by resisting the climate denier in the White House and getting off fossil fuels.”
Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith, said:
“Our faiths teach us that the Earth is a gift from God. Sandy, Harvey, and Irma show how human irresponsibility in the form of climate change turns that gift into a deadly weapon. The time is long past for a moral awakening that will set us on a course for a safe and secure future. We urge New York City to divest its pension funds from the fossil fuel industry and invest in the sustainable future that all New Yorkers deserve.”
Jerome Wagner, President of 350NJ-Rockland, said:
“New Jersey stands with New Yorkers in commemorating the 5th anniversary of Sandy’s horrific landfall. We also stand with Texans, Floridians, and others living through extreme wind, rain, and flooding at this moment. We at 350NJ-Rockland believe strongly that global warming is at play here – and that we continue to make the problem more grievous as we proceed in a ‘business as usual’ manner. Let’s join together for effective and prompt action to address the climate crisis.”
Philip J. Bender, climate action organizer at Empire State Progressives, said:
“We at Empire State Progressives fight for a fairer and more prosperous future for all New Yorkers and all Americans. So long as super-powered storms like Sandy continue to damage our cities and destroy people’s livelihoods, no such future can happen. Climate change makes hurricanes larger, more powerful, and harder to recover from. Our local elected leaders must take bold action to mitigate these climate risks and repair the damage that has already been done.”
Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, said:
“Five years after Sandy, Red Hook and Gowanus are still recovering from Sandy and public housing residents are still on the front lines of the impact. As we see the incredible devastation in Florida, the Gulf and the Caribbean, it is clear that climate change’s impact is real and must be urgently addressed.”
Rosalind Bennett of The Climate Reality Project New York City Metro Chapter, said:
“On this day of remembrance for all the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the devastating destruction that it caused across our city, we stand in solidarity with victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose and Katia. We urge our elected officials in New York City to take bolder action now to counter the disastrous effects of climate change.”
Gregory Schwedock, NYC & National Organizer at The Climate Mobilization, said:
“Five years ago Sandy brought the climate emergency to our doorstep in NYC. It should have been a wakeup call to politicians: now it’s Harvey and Irma, hurricanes coming faster than we can rebuild. The climate crisis is the challenge of our time, but it can also be what inspires us to build a just and resilient, carbon neutral City. If D.C. won’t act, we can make sure our local government does. A Los Angeles city council-community alliance is already working on plans to make LA carbon neutral by 2025. This is the kind of bold action required in this time of crisis. New Yorkers: It’s time we take the lead.”
Jamie Tyberg, of the NYC-DSA and its Climate Justice working group, said:
“As ecosocialists, we recognize the working class and those most directly affected as the experts of this global crisis – not those with wealth or in power. Many of us have only known extreme weather events to be the norm, while witnessing the failure of our privatized systems on each occasion. We can no longer depend on the incrementalism of bureaucracies, and this coalition – their work together and individual – shows that tangible changes only result from building people power, block by block.”
Margaret Tran, Organizer at Action Corps NYC, said:
“The Trump Administration is quickly dismantling the climate change and climate resilience policies implemented and agreed upon in the past 10 years, protecting people’s rights to basic resources. Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy are directly related to climate change. As we remember Hurricane Sandy, we urge our elected officials in NYC to take bold climate action.”
Conor Dempsey, member of Science for the People-NYC, said:
“With respect to climate change, Science for the People is committed to the only rational energy policy based on the evidence: immediate nationalization of the fossil fuel industries and the re-direction of their assets toward the development of an efficient national power grid and improvement of renewable energy generation. As for dealing with the consequences of climate change already afoot, the system as currently organized most benefits and protects those least vulnerable to the impacts of storms like Katrina, Sandy, Harvey or Irma or the wildfires out west or so many other climate change-related tragedies. Science for the People is for turning the systems priorities on its head: let’s use the resources of the 1% who most benefited from the system that caused this crisis to protect those left most defenseless by it.”
Andrea Hektor, of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), said:
“Capitalism caused climate change, Socialism can cure it. The International Socialist Organization (ISO) is committed to building an organization that participates in the struggles for justice and liberation today–and, ultimately, for a future socialist society. Join us in organizing movements that can transform society’s priorities to people over profits.”
Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-Director of Green America, said:
“We can no longer ignore the link between climate change, fossil fuel consumption, and the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather. Remembrance of Hurricane Sandy, which wrought terrible damage especially in New York and New Jersey, must translate into action to protect people and the planet. We need strong leadership to cut fossil fuel emissions, increase renewable energy, and divest from the fossil fuel industry. Elected officials in New York City have no time to lose, as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma tragically remind us.”
To view this release online and for more on the October 28 mobilization, coalition demands, and a full list of participating organizations, visit: sandy5.org