More than 100 supporters of offshore wind power gathered on the steps of New York City Hall on February 18 for a rally and press conference to kick off a 2016 campaign to secure a large-scale, long-term commitment to offshore wind development in New York.
ACE was proud to join a diverse group of offshore wind power supporters, including Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Wildlife Federation, NYPIRG, Rockaway Wildfire, United for Action, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Food & Water Watch, and 350NYC/BK. Despite the cold, windy weather, the City Hall steps were filled with incredible enthusiasm, colorful signs and banners, and even large paper mache wind turbines.
"As a young person and as a New Yorker, I am personally affected by climate change in numerous ways."
—Action Fellow Desiree Obaji
ACE’s New York City Action Fellows are excited to be a part of the offshore wind campaign and to fight for just and equitable offshore wind development in New York. Action Fellow Desiree Obaji spoke powerfully at the press conference, addressing issues of climate justice and sharing her vision for the future she wants to help create. Desiree is one of thousands of New York youth, and over 100,000 young people arond the country, who are raising the volume on climate change as part of the Get Loud Challenge. “As a young person and as a New Yorker,” she began, “I am personally affected by climate change in numerous ways. My father has had health challenges and a compromised immune system. It has been challenging for my family to react to extreme weather events because of my dad’s immobility and the financial stress, when he has been too ill to work.”
Her family’s home still has a leaky roof from Hurricane Sandy, damages that they’ve been unable to afford to repair. During heat waves, Desiree’s father is unable to travel or support many daily life activities, from grocery shopping to attending her dance performances. Desiree and her family are being impacted by climate change right now and she is concerned about what the future could hold if we don’t adequately address climate change. “I worry that if we don’t take urgent action now, New York City will experience more frequent and intense weather conditions that will impact us all, but especially the most vulnerable.”
As Desiree, her family, and many of our NYC communities so intimately know, New York City is on the frontlines of climate change as a low-lying city made of islands, which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The good news is that there are many organizations, community members, and elected officials who are passionately working to address climate change in NYC. At the press conference, offshore wind supporters thanked Mayor DeBlasio for his bold leadership in setting the goal to power 100 percent of New York City's government operations (schools, hospitals, libraries, and firehouses) with energy from renewable sources and urged DeBlasio to step up to make offshore wind power a primary piece of his renewable energy plans. For New York State to go 100% renewable, it needs about 40% of its energy mix to come from offshore wind (M.Z. Jacobson et al. 2013).
Desiree called on Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo to take leadership in making NYC and the state of New York “the first in the nation to develop utility scale offshore wind and inspire other states and cities to follow in our footsteps,” to ensure that Desiree and her peers can have a more just and livable planet for their future. Desiree shared her vision for the future she wants to help create. “I want to see a future with clean air and water, affordable healthy foods, equitable support for responding to community needs and emergencies, healthy communities with a reduced risk of life threatening diseases and asthma, businesses that invest in our communities, good quality green jobs…. I want a safe, stable, and just future. To achieve that, we must rapidly transition to 100% renewable energy in NY and across the world!”
ACE is thrilled to be a part of the incredible momentum that is building for the creation of just and equitable offshore wind power in New York. Let’s #WinWindNY!