The day after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, communities across New York City launched the call for City Comptroller Scott Stringer to divest from fossil fuel companies knowingly causing these kinds of disasters. Five years later, Comptroller Stringer continues to oversee more than $3 billion invested in fossil fuel corporations like ExxonMobil.
That’s why on the fifth anniversary of this storm, New Yorkers and allies came together for the Sandy5 march. With over 5000 people and 150 organizations, young people of color led the march in remembrance of the devastation from Sandy and recent hurricanes. Just one week before election day, we made powerful and urgent calls for New York’s elected officials – at all levels – to take swift and meaningful action on climate.
A week later at the powerful Pathway to Paris event at New York’s Carnegie Hall, as Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Talib Kweli and Michael Stipe bore witness, Bill McKibben, spoke about the urgent need for New York to lead and to do so by divesting from fossil fuels. It was in that iconic setting that an audience of over 3000 paused to write individual letters to Comptroller Stringer urging him to be a true climate leader and divest. To present this unignorable call from New Yorkers, organizers across the #DivestNY coalition mailed 850 letters to his office.
The momentum isn’t stopping now. On Wednesday, November 29, New York City’s Public Advocate Tish James will host a public hearing on climate change and the need for New York to take bold and immediate action. Even with dangerous regression from the Trump administration amidst devastating climate impacts, we will mark 2017 as well as a year of historic uprising. Join us for the rally and hearing November 29 to ensure the need to #DivestNY is front and center.
Everyone has a role to play. The #DivestNY coalition has grown to include organizations representing faith groups, businesses, students, union members, and more. Our work becomes infinitely stronger when we unite across our differences to fight for a shared vision of the world.
Across the US, communities are uniting to pass Fossil Free resolutions in our towns, cities, and states to build a powerful and ignorable upswell of urgency for fast and just climate action. By demanding a halt to all new fossil fuels — projects and investments — and commitments to 100% renewable energy for all, we will take back local power and build a movement on scale with the crisis. Let’s get to work to build a Fossil Free world that puts people and planet first.
Betámia Coronel, is the US Reinvestment Coordinator at 350.org. Beta is a coordinator of the #DivestNY coalition and is a native New Yorker born-and-raised in Brooklyn currently residing in Queens.