Why Brooklyn Will Be Marching

Why Brooklyn Will Be Marching

On April 29 hundreds, even thousands, of Brooklynites will join a march in Washington for “Jobs, Justice, and Climate.” They are marching because the current powers in Washington deny that climate change is real. Here are five dangers that Washington policies pose for Brooklyn:

Heat waves: The accumulation of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is will bring longer, more severe heat waves to Brooklyn. Heat waves lead to heat stroke and death.  Many Brooklynites cannot afford the utility bills that such prolonged use of electricity would require, leaving the very young and the very old vulnerable.

Air pollution: Childhood asthma rates are so high in neighborhoods like Greenpoint that they are called “Asthma Alley.”  A significant contributor is automobile and truck exhaust.  Federal agencies now plan to ease vehicle emission standards, which would perpetuate this scourge of childhood asthma.

Sea-level rise: As the world warms, melting ice will swamp neighborhoods like Red Hook, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach, neighborhoods populated by modest and low-income New Yorkers.  Inaction on greenhouse gas emissions  will have a direct effect on these vulnerable communities.

The Gowanus Canal: a Superfund site full of century-old toxic waste, the Environmental Protection Agency is just now beginning the process of cleaning up the canal.  Proposed cuts to the EPA could well mean a halt to the Gowanus Canal project.

Peaker Plants: These plants, located on barges off Sunset Park and Red Hook, generate electricity by burning oil or methane gas. They pollute the air and worsen respiratory and cardiovascular disease. New York City needs to replace them with solar and offshore wind, which produce no pollution, provide cheap electricity, and are a booming source of jobs.  Changes to federal policies could put wind and solar out of reach.

We lived through Superstorm Sandy.  We know the dangers of a natural world changed beyond recognition.  We also understand the value of clean air and water, affordable energy, and good jobs.  And so we will march.

-Sara S. Gronim, 350Brooklyn.org, , 718-344-5835