New York-based environmental activists headed to Trump Tower today (March 2) at 10:30 a.m. ET to conduct a teach-in at one of the city’s less known public spaces: a garden inside President Donald Trump’s 68-story building.
As the teach-in organizers discussed, 20 of these floors were added as a result of a 1979 agreement with New York City that allowed for the additional stories if Trump created 15,000 square feet of public space to the structure, Crain’s reports. While the current president profited an estimated $530 million off the deal, Climate Works for All, which organized the event, said, in an email statement, that the president has neglected the space. Crain's reported last year that it housed dead plants.
“New York City’s parks and public spaces are not just a luxury in a dense city of 8.5 million people, they are essential to livability,” said City Council Member Mark Levine, who attended the action, in a press release.
The action at Trump Tower today also called on Trump to confront climate change and change his mind regarding the future of the EPA and its programs including the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.
Environmental justice advocates were particularly vocal during the teach-in. Attendee Rachel River lost her home during Superstorm Sandy and criticized the fact that Trump Tower is one of the city’s most energy inefficient buildings, according to a report by ALIGN, an environmental and labor-rights group in New York. This sort of carelessness is what put communities like hers underwater, she said, per the press release.
“Donald Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax cooked up by the Chinese is not only a lie: It is downright dangerous, especially for communities on the frontlines of climate change,” said Daisy Chung, coordinator of Climate Works for All and campaign director of ALIGN, according to a press release.
Part of the discussion revolved around the need for a just transition. Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice Peggy Shepard called on Trump to focus job creation in renewables: “The president wants to be a job creator? Instead of risking all of our futures by investing in outdated, climate polluting industries, we need to prioritize creating jobs for frontline communities that also solve our climate crisis. I know a lot of workers who would be happy to get a job making Trump Tower energy efficient.”
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