Volume 7, Issue 12

Although it might not feel like it, 2016 has been punctuated with many victories, large and small. The work of community-based organizations in building climate resiliency will only become more important in the years ahead of us. But before we jump into that work, it is important to take a moment to reflect on what we have accomplished together as a movement this year. Read on for a collection of some of our favorite moments from the past year.

2016 is also the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA)'s 25th anniversary! We will be celebrating our 25 years and (social) change on April 6, 2017 -- and we hope you will join us in this celebration.
NYC Climate Justice Agenda
NYC Climate Justice Agenda: Strengthening the Mayor's OneNYC Plan
In April 2016, NYC-EJA and our member organizations released our report,  NYC Climate Justice Agenda: Strengthening the Mayor's OneNYC Plan. The report assessed whether or not efforts from City government, as laid out in the City's sustainability and resiliency blueprints, can begin to reduce the vulnerabilities of low-income communities and communities of color to climate change impacts; and proposed recommendations to broaden and strengthen such protections. We also released an accompanying document, the  Toolkit for Communities,  which aims to assist advocates in promoting a more environmentally just New York City.

We have made great strides in building more resilient industrial waterfront communities through our Waterfront Justice Project initiatives in the South Bronx and Sunset Park. In partnership with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, NYC-EJA hosted a community workshop in Hunts Point where w e disseminated our Environmental Best Management Practices Toolkit, which consolidates pollution prevention and climate adaptation existing knowledge and best practices for the automotive industry. 

UPROSE and NYC-EJA rallying against displacement
We continue to push for community-based planning and support our member organizations in their local agendas. We've worked with THE POINT to co-host community disaster preparedness meetings in Hunts Point, with Brooklyn Movement Center on their energy work in Central Brooklyn, and with UPROSE to inventory auto shops in Sunset Park through our GRASP project, and resist the Brooklyn Queens Connector Street Car -- which may spur further gentrification along the waterfront and is vulnerable to flooding and storm surge
Trash Rally in the South Bronx, 12/20/16. Photo by Alex Moore.
After nearly three years of campaigning, NYC-EJA and our allies in the  Transform Don't Trash (TDT) Coalition achieved a great victory in the long fight for a fair waste system when the City of New York  released its study  of NYC's private carting industry. The study found that implementing commercial waste collection zones could reduce truck traffic associated with commercial waste collection by 49 to 68 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 42 to 64 percent. This represents a huge milestone in our fight to transform the commercial waste system. The de Blasio Administration has since announced plans to pursue commercial waste zoning in NYC.

Youth in the South Bronx advocating for Intro 495a, 12/20/16
There is still considerable work ahead to create a more equitable solid  waste system that respects the health and well being of all New Yorkers. On December 20th,  dozens of community members from the Bronx stood together in the cold for waste equity. We called on Council Member Salamanca and other Bronx council members to renew their support for Intro 495A, important legislation which would cap the amount of garbage each community district can handle, and protect overburdened low-income communities of color, like the South Bronx, from handling any more trash and trucks. 
Executive Director Eddie Bautista speaking at the NY Renews Rally in Albany, 6/1/16

In June, NY Renews held a rally in Albany to  demand a just transition to 100% clean renewable energy. Our progress has been nothing short of remarkable: t he ambitious New York Climate and Community Protection Act passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly and it even won the support of a bipartisan majority in the State Senate ! In the end, we got within inches of passing it, defying expectations left and right.

Crowd at the NY Renews Town Hall: Climate in the Era of Trump
With the incoming president, we need climate action at the state level now more than ever. NY Renews, an unprecedented statewide coalition of 90+ organizations, is poised to do just that. Earlier this month, hundreds of people came together for a Town Hall called Climate in the Era of Trump: How NY Can Lead the Fight. We continue to ask that you call Governor Cuomo today to urge him to get behind our bill! 

In 2016, NYC-EJA continued to push for more equitable and inclusive State energy policies and programs. NYC-EJA hosted an energy forum for low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities in partnership with The New School's Tishman Environment and Design Center earlier this month. The forum brought together NY community organizations, the Governor's Office, NYSERDA, and NYS Homes and Community Renewal to survey energy programs available to LMI communities. At the forum, NYC-EJA provided an accessible reference guide to NYS energy programs for LMI customers and communities.  


NYC-EJA Executive Director, Eddie Bautista, speaking at the conference. Photo via Latin Life Denver.

Throughout 2016, NYC-EJA was fortunate to present at multiple conferences and summits, including the two national conferences below.
  • America's Latino Ecofestival in Denver: Executive Director Eddie Bautista spoke on the environmental justice panel, titled: "Building Power and Community - A Lifetime of Advancing EJ Goals and Passing the Baton to Rising EJ Leaders." 
  • New Economy Coalition Commonbound Conference in Buffalo: Resiliency Planner Annel Hernandez spoke on our work with NYRenews at a panel titled: "New York Renews: Uniting Climate With Social and Economic Justice to Build Power and Win a Renewable & Equitable Energy Economy for All." 
Village Voice cover story, featuring NYC-EJA's climate work
Before you pop that well-deserved bottle of champagne with your loved ones , consider making a generous tax exempt donation to NYC-EJA. This is our chance to end 2016 on a positive note, and keep fighting the much needed fight for climate justice in the new year. 

In solidarity, 
Eddie Bautista 
Executive Director 
New York City Environmental Justice Alliance