By Patrick Robbins, 350.org
As someone born and raised in New York City, Superstorm Sandy devastated places I loved. I remember watching places I’d grown up become disaster zones, and walking through dark streets where electricity hadn’t returned. As the waters rose, we asked ourselves – how could this have happened?
The answer is complicated, but climate change is a major part of it. We know climate change is supercharging storms, “setting the stage” for a greater frequency of storms and storms that are deadlier and more intense.
And let’s be very clear – this is about justice. The poor and vulnerable are hit first and worst by extreme weather events like Sandy. At the time of the storm, 70% of New York City’s low-income housing was located inside “Zone A,” the area at highest risk of flooding. While there has been a lot of rebuilding, many neighborhoods are still feeling Sandy’s impacts five years later.
New York City’s political leaders claim to care about climate change. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that “the world cannot ignore the very real threat of climate change.” Scott Stringer, the Comptroller who controls the city’s vast pension funds, responded to Trump’s pullout from Paris by saying we would “work towards a sustainable future in every capacity we can.” But today, there’s still $3 billion of New York pension funds invested in the likes of Exxon, Kinder Morgan and Transcanada, and dozens of other oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Why does this matter? Because these are the very companies that are supercharging hurricanes and storms like Sandy and Harvey and Irma, and more that will likely hit this fall.
By supporting fossil fuel companies, de Blasio and Stringer are supporting injustice, plain and simple. You don’t get to be a climate leader while giving away money to oil and gas companies. That’s not how it works.
— Fossil Free (@GoFossilFree) September 18, 2017
It’s time for a reckoning.
On October 28, we remember, resist, and rise. We will join together and demand that our elected officials stand with their people. Reckoning with the past, particularly a painful past like Hurricane Sandy, is never easy. But it is necessary to ensure a healthy and equitable future. RSVP here, and tell everyone you know.
See you in the streets.