Coinciding with the forum was the release of the Green Our City Now partnership’s “Green Pact,” a document that highlights environmental justice issues and asks elected officials to pledge to prioritize environmental justice in their policy decisions and actions.
New York City, NY – On Friday, March 3, the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and South Bronx Unite co-hosted the Green Our City Now Forum, bringing together elected officials and advocates to discuss the path forward for achieving environmental justice and equity in New York City.
The event also marked the release of the Green Our City Now partnership’s Green Pact (available here), which calls on the city’s elected officials to commit to policies that advance environmental justice and to sign a pledge to uphold the green promises they made to their constituents. By signing onto the Green Pact, council members and other officials commit to prioritizing environmental justice in their policy decisions and actions.
The Green Our City Now convening featured panel discussions about parks and open spaces, expanding public transportation and micro-mobility options throughout the city, and green infrastructure. Among the participants were Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Louise Yeung, Chief Climate Officer at the Comptroller’s Office, and Council Members Carmen De La Rosa and Lincoln Restler, as well as a host of representatives from advocacy organizations throughout the city.
Louise Yeung broke news during her remarks when she announced that the NYC Comptroller’s office was signing onto the Green Pact.
The Green Our City Now convening was just the beginning. A series of roundtable discussions in the coming days and weeks will drill down further on the issues raised at the convening and identify concrete steps that can be taken to achieve environmental justice in New York City.
Opening remarks at Friday’s convening were delivered by New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund President Julie Tighe, who emphasized the importance of environmental justice in New York City and beyond, stating:
“From clean air and water, to accessible transportation, to public health, environmental justice is ingrained in every issue we face. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we have a unique opportunity to right past injustices and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to a healthy and sustainable environment.”
“It is time to address the legacy of environmental racism in this city, and put an end to the decades of harm that the cumulative impacts of unjust policies have done to the environmental health of low-income communities and communities of color here in New York City,” said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, who also addressed the convening. “With this Green Pact, we will help city officials better understand these issues as well as the path forward to environmental justice for all New Yorkers. And the Green Our City Now coalition will not only ask elected officials to commit to advancing environmental justice in New York City, but we will also hold them accountable to those pledges.”
“The Green Pact is a blueprint and a guide for what NYC electeds can do now to work towards climate resilience while centering environmental justice, said Arif Ullah, Executive Director of South Bronx Unite. “Enacting and implementing the policies outlined in the Pact would make a meaningful difference in the health and quality of life of all New Yorkers, especially under-resourced communities of color that have historically borne the brunt of environmental pollution and the fossil fuel economy. With the Green Pact and all the information and resources it provides, we have made it easy for legislators to take action. We are in a climate crisis; to not take action at this moment amounts to nothing less than willful negligence.
Photos from the convening can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aGJ1SnYz7vH9_8LVNGA1_bcRFcASsqAG?usp=share_link
New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund:
The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund educates, engages, and empowers New Yorkers to be effective environmental advocates. NYLCVEF’s programs foster open, nonpartisan discussion on environmental policy issues and encourage New Yorkers to get involved in the environmental decision-making process at the local, state, and federal levels. Visit www.nylcvef.org for more information.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C.
South Bronx Unite
South Bronx Unite brings together neighborhood residents, community organizations, academic institutions, and allies to improve and protect the social, environmental, and economic future of Mott Haven and Port Morris. We envision a South Bronx where everyone is thriving because we have equitable access to clean air, nutritious food, truly affordable and quality housing, good health care, resources to advance our contributions to arts and culture, community centers, open green spaces, good schools with adequate resources, jobs with livable wages, a transformative justice approach to public safety, and participatory decision-making for public policies and community development.