Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

environment

environment

  • op really energy

    Mayor de Blasio makes a climate announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)


    In 2019, New York City passed some of the most progressive climate legislation in the country. Local Law 97 requires 50,000 large buildings to slash their carbon output en route to cutting emissions 40% by 2030. Yet if the passage of the law suggested that the city would be putting people and the planet before the typical monied powers that be (real estate, the utilities, and others), ...

  • climate sha bike

    Shahana Hanif (photo: @ShahanaFromBK)


    Trash is too often an afterthought. Voters and friends pause when I share my love for recycling, composting, and colorful trash cans. But, as a climate champion endorsed by Sunrise NYC, Resilience PAC, TREEage NYC, and NYC’s chapter of Sierra Club, I know that waste equity is critical to achieving New York City’s climate resiliency goals.

    We need to stop thinking of waste as ‘trash.’ Waste is valuable material; compost is nutritious food for our community gardens’ soil. Over one third of New York City’s waste

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  • Brian Benjamin

    Senator Benjamin (photo: NY Senate)


    As the coronavirus ravaged New York City, it quickly became apparent that its effects were being felt disparately across the boroughs. Black and brown communities that have been the dumping ground for the city’s most-polluting infrastructure, where respiratory illnesses occur at higher rates, were more prone to a pandemic caused by a respiratory virus. The problem of environmental racism is not new, but State Senator Brian Benjamin is hoping that it is finally dire enough to be taken seriously and that, if elected the next New York

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  • gov cuomo mt

    Gov. Cuomo at an MTA announcement (photo: governor's office)


    This budget year for New York State is like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing remains business as usual in Albany: The Governor is once again filling state budget holes with funds that are supposed to be dedicated to supporting mass transit and fighting climate change—hitting disadvantaged communities especially hard.

    Governor Cuomo intends to take $240 million in dedicated taxes from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and $23 million from the Regional

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  • mta led installed

    Green investments are the future (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    2021 has the potential to be a pivotal year for New Yorkers. Vaccine distribution is underway, and plans are being drafted to rebuild New York’s economy. As state leaders consider how to address the state’s deficit and create a sustainable future, investing in environmental programs is the answer. 

    Environmental programs, such as the Environmental Protection Fund, are proven to aid in state economic recovery, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen local economies while protecting our

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  • lincoln restler garden compost

    Lincoln Restler, the author


    With unprecedented environmental catastrophes and more hundred-year storms each passing year, the climate crisis is fully upon us. Our leaders of government and industry have failed to rise to the greatest challenge facing our planet. That abdication of responsibility is inexcusable, but we don’t have time to wait for them to get it together. We need to lead the way. As a City Council candidate, I have a plan to make my district - Brooklyn’s own 33rd - the first carbon neutral district in New York and the United

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  • 5 video brief climate

    Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer & others (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    In this episode, we discuss the issues of climate change and resiliency, and key aspects of what candidates in the 2021 New York City elections are considering as they present their visions for the future of the city, protecting it from the impacts of climate change, fostering a green economy, and more.

  • op p biden

    Joe Biden with solar panels (photo: Christopher Dilts/Biden for President)


    Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. Global warming and extreme weather are accelerating.

    We need Joe Biden to be the Climate President, especially after the four lost years under  climate-denier Donald Trump. This begins with Biden taking comprehensive executive action on climate change on day one.

    A number of large coalitions (e.g., ClimatePresident.org) have outlined a comprehensive list of executive actions

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  • NYC Green New Deal rally Trump Tower

    An NYC Green New Deal event (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A coalition of climate-conscious groups is calling on candidates running for citywide and City Council positions in this year’s full slate of city government elections to sign a pledge to create a Green New Deal for New York City, with specific policy proposals.

    The pledge asks that candidates who sign both advocate and vote for Green New Deal policies at the city level. The recommended policies aim to end fossil fuel infrastructure, create more

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  • Kathryn Garcia

    Kathryn Garcia (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Kathryn Garcia is running for mayor chiefly on her city government experience, but she’s also pitching voters on her ideas for the future, and where the two merge: the notion that she has the right plans and can execute them. The city sanitation commissioner for six years until she stepped down to run for mayor, Garcia has also been interim chair of the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, the covid emergency “food czar,” and in other roles under Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom she has sharply criticized early on in her

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  • cm attends bridge

    A path to greener pastures (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As New York City plans for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must first examine the ways our environmental decisions have contributed to public health abuses in the past and enact a green recovery program that centers the wellbeing of long-ignored communities.

    New York City has a long history of environmental racism and injustice.

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  • mta pro el

    An electric bus (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)


    This has been a year of unexpected and devastating loss with the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States already surpassing 300,000. In New York City, bus drivers, train operators, and other transit workers have shown up everyday to keep the city moving forward through the spring peak and now into a second wave of infections. 

    But there is a cost to providing transit services during a pandemic. And the cost is more than ...

  • climate activists

    Pushing for a climate plan (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    From Superstorm Sandy to Tropical Storm Isaías, climate change threatens all New Yorkers. That policymakers have largely not acted on this threat in a meaningful way is a profound failure. Now is the time to rectify that lack of action.

    In New York at least, our new Democratic State Senate majority took power in 2019 and answered the call. Our Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is a nation-leading effort to fight back, putting our state on track for net zero

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  • paper recy si

    Garbage time (photo: Michael Anton/Department of Sanitation)


    Unequal impacts of COVID-19 on low-income Black and brown communities have magnified the consequences of our unsustainable working and living processes and accumulated environmental injustices.

    The highest rates of pandemic-related deaths are in the same communities that have long breathed more polluted air and who deal day-to-day with heightened police violence. The accelerating climate crisis will amplify both of these forms of violence as the stagnant quality of hot air concentrates local pollution and local

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  • gov 18bill

    Transforming the South Bronx (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Our country’s history has been fraught with issues that have disadvantaged communities of color, including unequal housing, education, health, food access, economic opportunity, and the chronic stresses of living with racial bias. Intertwined with these are a myriad of severe environmental justice issues.

    Communities of color suffer disproportionately from air pollution from nearby waste facilities, industrial plants, and high bus and truck traffic on their thoroughfares.“Diesel trucks and

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  • informal recyclers just

    Canners redeeming their work (photo: Carlos Rivea for Sure We Can)


    In New York City, there are an estimated 8,000 informal canners, or people who collect, sort, and redeem deposit-based containers for a living. Earning a nickel per can or bottle, canners straddle a liminal space in society: though often visible pushing carts with bulging bags through the city, they work in the shadows because of fear of harassment, shame,

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  • peaker plants comm

    A peaker plant


    As the weather warms and we head into the summer, we again expect record-breaking temperatures. Thousands of New Yorkers worry about accessing air conditioning units and surviving a hot summer in cramped apartments, and many will struggle to balance higher electricity bills from air conditioning against costs of health care, food, and rent. But most people don’t worry about the increased electricity demand from widespread air conditioning use during hot days and heat waves.

    Most New Yorkers are unlikely to know about the polluting power plants

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  • access damage updates

    It's time to better prepare (photo: governor's office)


    New York has faced its share of disasters, and each one seemed impossible and unprecedented until it actually happened. 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and now COVID-19 each took a dramatic toll on our social and physical infrastructure,  the state’s economy, and our very way of life. 

    We always recover, but we must break the cycle of rebuilding and plan for future risk instead. Any threats must be taken seriously as many communities are already overextended and strained. Hurricane

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  • american wind

    A New. York wind farm (photo: @nyserda)


    Prologue
    At the stroke of midnight, as April gave way to May, one hundred drones with diamond-brazed hacksaws descended on a remote section of the New York-New Jersey Bight. Methodically, diabolically, they set to their task: lopping off a thousand or more turbine blades whose spinning motion enabled the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. When the sun rose on May 1 it revealed a stark sight: 400 supertall towers stripped bare. Twelve hundred blades, three per tower, that for decades had

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  • ann state legal

    The current crisis reminds us of the past and warns us about the future (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Everyone on Long Island remembers how it felt during Hurricane Sandy. We were paralyzed, waiting for the storm to pass, fearing for our families, homes, and basic needs. When the skies finally cleared, and we saw the scale of the destruction, it was clear that no individual one of us was strong enough, connected enough, or resourced enough to recover alone. We needed each other, we needed our community, we needed to come

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  • plans signi expand

    Is the post-coronavirus future renewable? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    There have been many hard-learned lessons from COVID-19, but by far the most tragic – paid for with the lives of tens of thousands of people – is that when it comes to dealing with a public health crisis, preparation and proactive planning is the only approach that can keep our worst nightmares from becoming a reality. While New York is still far from reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, many inside and outside of government have rightly begun to envision what a restart to our economy

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  • divest ny fos

    A protest to push for New York pension system divestment from fossil fuel stocks (photo: @350)


    The oil and gas industries are experiencing significant upheaval as the coronavirus pandemic decimates economies across the globe. The price of crude oil in the United States temporarily fell below $0 per barrel for the first time ever last month, prompting renewed energy among activists and elected officials in New York who want to rid the state pension fund of all investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    But the one person they must convince, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

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  • reynoso celebrate renovate

    City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    These months will go down as one of the most trying periods in our city’s history. We are consumed by the grief of lost loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors, while facing a level of economic uncertainty not seen in generations. In this moment of crisis, many of us feel compelled to put on blinders and focus solely on addressing the present situation, and there is no doubt that efforts to combat COVID-19 will require vast resources and attention from our best

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  • joint ind board

    The future is renewable, the author writes (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day—Wednesday, April 22, 2020—, the world is in crisis. An unbearable number of lives lost each day. Livelihoods disappearing or threatened. And the uncertainty of what might come next is disrupting communities. Our infrastructure is strained to the brink and our most marginalized communities are bearing a disproportionate brunt of the pain. I’m of course talking about the ongoing devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The tragedy is that these

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