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After the People’s Climate March

What New Yorkers and the rest of us can do now that the historic day of protest is over.

Nancy Romer May 1

Issue 224

Tens of thousands of people participated in the April 29 People’s March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington, D.C. and the hundreds of sister marches held around the country. It was a moment when we loudly and collectively said “No!” to the disastrous policies of a rogue president and the Congress. However, the true measure of the march is what we do next.

Here in New York, we have broad and diverse coalitions that are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, aware that victories we achieve here in the city will resonate far beyond its borders.  Many look toward reforms, some toward a new vision of a society that cares for its people and planet, but all know the importance of building a mass movement to address climate change.  Here are some important events to plug into immediately following the march, empowering the movement in its many forms.

An NYC Accountability Forum will be held on May 16, organized by the People’s Climate Movement-New York and a variety of climate, jobs and justice groups. This will be a mass people’s interview of our three citywide officials — Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer — about climate action we can take right now here in the city. The event will also be an organizing forum where you can get information about, and join, ongoing campaigns on the issues the event will focus on:

— Creating good jobs to cut our city’s climate pollution by requiring all buildings to reach modern energy efficiency standards.

— Divesting our city’s pension funds from fossil fuels and pipelines, and reinvesting into renewable energy (wind and solar), good local jobs, and benefits for low- and moderate-income communities of color.

— Transforming the city’s commercial waste industry in NYC to reduce inefficiencies, create good jobs, improve air quality for overburdened communities and move closer to zero waste goals by increasing diversion from landfills.

Divestment by pension funds can significantly weaken the power and political influence of the fossil fuel industry. New York City’s $165 billion pension funds, which are managed by Comptroller Scott Stringer, have already divested from coal assets. The comptroller is now researching the current status of oil and gas investments.  We are pushing the city to divest its investments in Wells Fargo and other financial institutions funding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

As part of a Global Divestment Mobilization, there will be a Divestment Bill Lobby Day in Albany on May 8, and there will be a series of activities in New York City including Divest NY’s  May 9 noon, teach-in and demonstration at Trump Tower, and a demonstration to Defund the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on May 13 at noon in Union Square.

Climate battles are being fought across New York State. New York Renews, a coalition of more than 100 labor, community and environmental groups, is currently pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to pass the landmark Climate and Community Protection Act that would move our state to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, protect frontline communities, support workers in a transition to the new energy economy and make polluters pay their fair share. Text “NYRenews” to 52886 and the governor and legislators will get a message from you. To join a strategy call with campaign leaders on May 9, see nyrenews.org.

In addition to passing legislation, we need to stop the building of more fossil fuel infrastructure in New York and speed up the growth of renewable energy sources, especially offshore wind.  For the former, visit youareheremap.org to see an online and interactive map of fracking infrastructure and connect directly to grassroots communities that are fighting these projects.  Over on Long Island, the largest wind farm in the United State will open in 2021. On May 24 there will be a rally at the Long Island Power Authority urging support for a second larger offshore wind farm. For more information visit winwindny.org.

The Peoples Climate Movement-NY is meeting on May 23 to engage and move forward our vibrant movement.  Watch newyork.peoplesclimate.org for more information.  We are building a movement together, with broad politics and many approaches; find a way to contribute and dig in.

Nancy Romer is a member of People’s Climate March-New York.

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Photo: Demonstrators prepare to start the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday April 29th. Credit: Hector Emanuel/Survival Media Agency.