December 2022 Newsletter

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Our Founder & Executive Director

Welcome December!

Greetings South Ward Family,


As we celebrate the Holiday season, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect, release and set goals for the new year. The month of December brings the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the shortest day of the year and the least amount of sunlight will occur on Wednesday, December 21st. December is best known for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve. 



Enjoy walks in the neighborhood and conversations with neighbors. We can build a cohesive neighborhood through love, patience, trust, and care for each other. As I reflect on my visit to Egypt, the love shown to us everywhere we traveled was a sight to see. The families and communities supported each other so no one was left behind. This is our South Ward charge for 2023, We Will Not Leave Our Neighbors Behind! Block by Block, residents, and stakeholders, We Are the Ones, the South Ward has been waiting for!

Power to the People, let us continue to Lift As We Climb.


In Solidarity,

Kim Gaddy, Executive Director

Sims Metal Management Tour

The South Ward Environmental Alliance has scheduled several tours of industry and polluting facilities in the three neighborhoods of the South Ward. On Tuesday, December 1st, we visited the Sims Metal Recycling Facility located at 18 Noble Street. We want to thank Eric Helders and his team for taking us on a tour of the facility to see the daily process of the largest electrical and electronics recovery and recycling company in the world. Sims Metal buys and processes scrap metal from businesses, other recyclers, and the general public. The facility was clean, no environmental hazards were present and the staff provided us with a wealth of information. We will continue to inspect and visit sites to ensure environmental compliance.


Unfortunately, we can not say the same for Dublin Metals, located at 489 Frelinghuysen Avenue, the business next to Sims. The Dublin facility is next on our list to visit and inform them of the complaints from residents and the urgent need for them to keep their business clean and safe for our residents to walk or drive by without being injured or harmed by toxins.

The last photo (on the right) is Dublin Metals and not Sims.

Covanta Public Hearing

On November 16 ,2022 an information session for Covanta Essex was held via zoom as part of renewing their Title V Operating Permit and our Solid Waste Facility Permit. Covanta is a corporation that provides waste management and incineration services. This industry is located in the Ironbound, an overburdened environmental justice community of concern. The pollution the facility emits is decreasing the quality of life of those who work, play, live, and breathe in this area on a daily basis. Covanta has been operating in the Ironbound for over 30 years and has committed over 800 permitting violations since 2004. The members of Covanta presented slides on their efforts in reducing emissions and increasing their commitment to community engagement. At the end of the presentation, Newark residents voiced their concerns. This industry is still harming the environment and the people of the community. Covanta assesses its own impact and does not take into consideration the cumulative effects of pollution. They are not the only facility in the Ironbound, in Newark in general, that is polluting and causing harm to residents' health.. As a community, we must continue to show up at these sessions and speak up about the injustices we are faced with so that industries like Covanta are held accountable and forced to regulate their facilities better.

Aries Zoning Board Victory

On November 17th, 2022, there was a virtual zoning board hearing for Aries “Clean Energy”, a facility that advertises itself as a waste-to-energy facility. This facility burns human waste to create and sell energy.  Aries had proposed to add a sludge facility to Newark - an overburdened community that is already home to multiple fracked gas power plants and trash-burning facilities that cause long-lasting public health issues such as cancer and respiratory issues. At the zoning board meeting, Elnardo Webster announced that Aries is withdrawing their application from the zoning and planning board. This is a victory for the whole community, especially for those in the Ironbound section. Together we send a strong message that Environmental Justice communities like ours will no longer stand for these types of injustices in our neighborhoods.


https://www.njspotlightnews.org/2022/11/ironbound-project-stopped-aries-clean-technologies-sludge-sewage/

NJEJA 2022 Waste Justice Assembly

On December 8th, 2022, the South Ward Environmental Alliance staff attended the Annual New Jersey Waste Justice Assembly of 2022, hosted by the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) and EJ Communities Against Incineration. The assembly focused on the experiences of NJ’s Environmental Justice and Overburdened communities, and opportunities for these communities to address the impacts of the waste crisis and infrastructure in NJ. The day consisted of four amazing panels: Waste Impacts in EJ Communities, Ending the Cycle of Plastic Pollution, Resisting False Solutions & Greenwashing in NJ, and A Just Transition Towards a Waste-Free NJ. The panelists included leaders fighting for environmental justice in Newark, Rahway, Camden, Chester Pennsylvania, Hartford Connecticut, and more. Our very own Kim Gaddy, the Executive Director of SWEA was a panelist as well. The audience was filled with community members that live in these overburdened areas. It is so important to include the frontline communities in the creation of solutions that lead to a safer and healthier neighborhood and this assembly made sure to do that. The panelists engaged in vigorous and engaging discussions. The development of a healthy waste management system, understanding the connections between health and the environment, addressing the oppression of black and brown communities and how industries are literally poisoning them with the emissions of toxic waste chemicals, plastic infiltration, switching to more reusable items, the path to zero waste, incinerators being false solutions, being able to organize against these poisonous and polluting industries, celebrating victories from defeating toxic facilities, educating and including the community, green jobs, green infrastructure, and taking an intergenerational approach to solving these issues  were all discussed. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks were provided. There was also a mixer towards the end where people were able to network as well as debrief any lingering questions or comments after the wonderful, informative day. Thank you NJEJA and EJ Communities against Incineration for inviting SWEA and we look forward to returning next year.


SWEA Amazon Youth Rally

On Saturday Nov 19, 2022 The South Ward Environmental Alliance Youth Committee hosted a youth rally in conjunction with ICC, Clean Water Action, Parents Engaging Parents (PEP), Make the Road NJ (MTRNJ), Weequahic Park Association, Teamsters, Main Street Alliance, Joint Board, and Athena. All organizations listed are a part of the Good Jobs Clean Air coalition. The GJCA partnered with SWEA on this event to highlight the environmental and working conditions of those who work at amazon. We highlighted the health impacts on college students and how it’s affecting them and their families. The long hour shifts with very little break time. The right to unionize is taken away and sometimes resulted in punishment by dismissal which is unjust and illegal. It is also important to highlight the environmental degradation caused by Amazon, which is why this rally is so important, it was an active protest against ordering from amazon during black Friday. Frankie Walls, the youth coordinator, spoke at the event and highlighted specific working conditions of amazon workers whom she had spoken to over the phone. As well as highlighting the importance of the South Ward Environmental Alliance Youth Council. SWEA is currently recruiting members for our committee team and encouraging South Ward youth and other youth from the other 4 Wards of Newark to apply and work with SWEA to better their community.

CHCA Disaster Preparedness Zoom Meeting

On November 17, 2022, Clinton Hill Community Action hosted its last webinar session as part of its Healthy Homes Workshop series. The final session in the series focused on resident preparedness for natural disasters. The conversation was led by Bijal Patel, FEMA Region 2, who covers all of New Jersey, for any further questions about Disaster preparedness make sure to contact her email: Bijal.patel@fema.dhs.gov. Here are some important takeaways from the meeting. Preparedness is important and there are 4 basic steps to keep in mind, to be informed, two to make an emergency plan, three to build a kit, and four to be involved. Being informed means knowing your hazards, natural hazards (hurricanes and tornadoes) versus manmade hazards (power outages and industrial accidents). Ways to be informed can include signing up for emergency alerts in your area and downloading the FEMA app. Within the FEMA app, you can find local centers and ask for help, and register for the local emergency alert systems. Next is making the plan, for most natural disasters there are two main objectives, shelter in place, or evacuation. Sheltering in place is important for situations like active shooters and tornadoes, and then situations needing evacuations it is important for people to identify a destination to travel to beforehand and have a packed emergency supply kit. For evacuations it is important to have a family communication plan, there should be someone out of state that all members of the family can get into contact with and flee to, in case family members are unable to get into each other. Patel also went into further detail about preparedness myths and what essentials are needed in a kit. For more information on emergency kits and disaster preparedness visit FEMA's website.

National News


FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Leadership to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Galvanizes Unprecedented Momentum at Start of U.N. Climate Conference (COP27) | The White House


FACT SHEET: Progress on Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure | The White House

SWEA Youth Council Vacancies 

The South Ward Environmental Alliance seeks 5 youths to join the Youth Council. Our mission is to cultivate, recruit and engage South Ward youth to become the next generation of environmental advocates. Youth between the ages of 14-30 are invited to join the Youth Council. Also, SWEA will be hosting a youth retreat in February at the Newark Watershed for the first 25 youth who sign up to attend.

EPA Water Research Webinar

This webinar entitled, "Real-Time Risk Characterization Tool for Harmful Algal Booms" primarily focused its research and analysis on the Ohio River in monitoring the water quality issues related to nutrient pollution and the tools used to monitor the Harmful Algal Booms. As there are tools to monitor air quality, there are tools and data to monitor the quality of water.

Welcome Back Kim Gaddy! ✈️

Founder and Director, Kim Gaddy has returned from her 2 weeks abroad in Egypt from the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 27. Global leaders gathered for the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-20th. This year's conference brought together leaders in government, civil society, industry, and finance from around the world to raise ambition and accelerate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

COP27 was important because it held high-level and side events, key negotiations, and press conferences hosted more than 100 Heads of State and Governments, over 35,000 participants, and numerous pavilions showcasing climate action around the world and across different sectors. COP27 concluded with a historic decision to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations was a keynote speaker and highlighted the urgency to address Climate Change, He stated, "It’s fitting. Climate chaos is a crisis of biblical proportions. The signs are everywhere. Instead of a burning bush, we face a burning planet."


To watch/listen to the full statement of the UN Secretary general, please visit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kv61ifi4iab66eq/SG%20COP%20OUTCOME%20POSITIVE.mp4?dl=0 


Q: So you were invited to the United Nations COP 27, why was it important for you to attend?


A: Yes I was invited by Dr. Mildred McClain, Executive Director of the Harambee House. I felt this was the perfect time for me to visit Egypt, allow my voice to be heard on a Global platform and seek solutions and solidarity with other advocates. Moreover, with a President of the United States and a Governor of New Jersey prioritizing Environmental and Climate Justice, the time to act and engage is now.


Q: What does being invited mean to you?


A: The opportunity to travel with the EJ Pioneers and sponsorship from the HBCU Green Fund was appreciated because they valued my EJ work and selected me to be a part of the group to share my work experiences.


Q: What expectations did you have before going?


A: My expectations were to participate as a delegate in the Blue Zone and have access to all the events and panels. Unfortunately, due to the politics of COP27 and engaging late in the process, I only had delegate credentials for the World Climate Summit events and Green Zone activities.


Q: What was your biggest goal for the trip? And did you achieve it? 


A: Yes I achieved my goal to visit the Giza Pyramid complex which included the Great Pyramid of Giza, Pyramid of Khafre, Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Also, to visit step my feet in the Red Sea, visit the burning Bush where Moses spoke to Jesus and St. Catherine Monastery and Mt. Sinai, where Moses received the 10 Commandments.


Q: What was the most impactful thing you heard this weekend?


A: The most impactful was a convening with youth who attended COP27, the EJ Pioneers, the HBCU Green Fund and EarthJustice. Dr. McClain spoke about the history of Environmental Racism, why the EJ work is important and the role our youth have as future EJ Leaders in this movement.


Q: What was your favorite part of Egypt? 


A: The favorite part was socializing and engaging with other EJ Leaders from around the world and discussing how we can work together to obtain solutions.


Q: What group did you travel with? 


A: I was a participant of the Environmental Justice Pioneers Delegation sponsored by the Harambee House, Citizens for Environmental Justice in collaboration with the HBCU Green Fund. Dr. Mildred McClain, Executive Director of the Harambee House participated in several panels at COP27. Although most of our delegation didn't have access to the Blue Zone, we were able to participate in the green zone activities, network with community-based activists at the Taproot Noire's Global Black Climate Leaders social and attend workshops at the World Climate Summit off-site locations.


Q: What are your next steps? 


A: Members from the Harambee House COP27 delegation will be invited to speak at our Annual Conference in April. In addition, we will conduct quarterly meetings to discuss topics for COP28 in Dubai and how activists can receive the proper credentials for participation. 

The SWEA Monthly meetings will reconvene in the new year with a new day and new time! We will now meet every 4th Wednesday of the month, 6:00 - 7:00 PM.

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