Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Oceans are Rising and So Are We: Five Years after Sandy #Sandy5 #OffFossilFuels

Diane Greene Lent took this shot of us.

I remember it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained, the water splashing against the windows of our apartment on Sackett Street.   We didn’t know what was happening.  But up on the fourth floor, we felt safe. Others were not so lucky. 

The city below us was changing, waters pouring the shores from Staten Island to Rockaway Beach, houses flooded, trees ripped from their roots, gardens destroyed.  

Water was flowing everywhere, wiping away what the city was, as we all became something else. 

A new sustainable urbanism was born in New York after Sandy. 

We supported non-polluting transportation and grew community gardens. 

2014 we organized the People’s Climate March and beat back fracking in New York.
And governments responded. 

And the world seemed to hear us.

2016 we engaged in direct action to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.
But pressure wore on us.  We fought each other, battled over strategy and tactics. 

And a reactionary president signed it all away, pulling us out of the Paris Accord. 

The case reminded us cities and states are going to have to take the lead.  Its up to us.
The world had changed. 

New York movement legend Leslie Cagan sent a note:
Tomorrow we march to mark the 5th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Will you be with us?
We are marching to remember the past while insisting on a different future. We are marching because we know what climate change looks like and because we have specific proposals for our elected officials to act on. We are marching because it is time for bold leadership on the climate crisis.
The Peoples Climate Movement NY is one of the 149 organizations from around NYC that have come together to help build this event. We know that our voice is stronger when we all work together, and tomorrow’s march will be an example of that strength….
We’ve all been preparing - painting banners, calling friends, handing out leaflets - and today is the day for one more push to get folks out. There is still time to help us get the word to more people. Share this message with everyone you can. Invite your friends by clicking here.
Tomorrow’s march is going to be great…
See you on the streets! And don't forget to bring your family, your friends and lots of other folks.
Leslie Cagan
Peoples Climate Movement NY
Genny Roman of New York Communities for Change wrote:


Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy swept through the northeast and left entire communities devastated. Many Sandy survivors are still rebuilding their homes and their lives.

We know that climate change makes storms like Sandy more violent and intense, and we know that fossil fuels are to blame. Disasters like Sandy will only get worse as long as our elected officials keep supporting fossil fuels, and our most vulnerable communities will be the ones who suffer most.
The people hit hardest by Sandy were the poor, people of color, immigrants, and otherwise vulnerable communities -- just like Irma and Harvey today.

In 6 days we come together to say: that’s not who we are. In New York City we stand up for each other. By marching in the largest mobilization for full Sandy recovery and a just climate future, we'll show our elected officials that they must go beyond lip service and act on climate now.
In solidarity,
Genny Roman
Digital Strategist
New York Communities for Change
Together, we can build a movement. Help low-income and middle-income communities in New York stay strong. 

The Saturday of the march, I found myself reflecting on the old dialectical sentiments that had run through my mind since Sandy.  The world was in flux with water crashing onto shores, seas rising and cities evolving, melting into the air, old alignments disappearing.

The voices from these struggles over the years rumbled through my mind, the world clashing outside, ideas and conversations, moving inside, thoughts in motion, ideas careening through my mind.

The kid, whose first demo, was an earth day action, in 2003, was meeting friends from the activist club at her school.  I’d meet her at the demo. 

Where are you? I texted her.
I’m with Monica, she replied. The two have known each other for years. 

She knows Erik, Kim, Sara and countless other activists taking part.
It feels like we’ve been here before I greeted Monica, holding a banner highlighting the need for renewable energy. 

Kim helped pull some of the props together. 

Activists from all the city were there.
I talked with friends from world of my activism, from my Union, the Professional Staff Congress, from Rise and Resist, ACT UP, Sunrise, and San Energy Project. 

We talked about plans, the November 13th lunchtime demo at Cuomo’s office, followed by the November 18th action, calling for the Governor to sign the New York Renews policy platform committing NY State to 100%renewable energy.
Others talked about the Climate Mobilization, a Manhattan Project style project, calling for Zero Emissions in Ten Years, a city by city national strategy at the local level coming to New York.  The group’s goal is “to start a WWII - scale mobilization that restores a climate safe for everyone.”
The Rude Mechanical Orchestra lead us out of the park. 
 "Act now or swim later," declared one sign. 
"SOS democracy."
“Boo, its hot out here.  There too much carbon in the atmosphere,” we chanted, merging the old cheer as a climate consciousness raising, call and response.  The crowd was dancing.  And we made our way over the Brooklyn Bridge. 
Look at that sign, I said,
 “The Oceans Rising, so are we!” 
We'd reflect on the slogan all weekend. 
“The world needs to grow!  Pollutants no!”
“The planet, the planet, the planet’s on fire!  We don’t need no oil.  Let the corporations burn!”
Saturday, we marched for a better future.
Hopefully, the world and our elected officials would hear us.

The #SANDY5 organizers declared:


On October 28th, New Yorkers will come together to remember the lives lost and the damage incurred from Sandy. And we will do more than remember: we will demand our representatives go beyond the small steps they’ve taken so far, and champion bold and immediate climate action towards a just transition.
In solidarity with those who lost family members, homes, incomes, and security to Superstorm Sandy, we make the following demands of New York’s elected officials:



Pass the NYRenews policy platform in 2018. Commit New York State to 100% renewable energy, thousands of good union jobs and true environmental justice by making polluters pay for the climate-destroying pollution they dump into our air.


Stop Trump’s disastrous climate-killing agenda by fully funding the EPA, blocking McConnell’s dirty energy bill, and supporting legislation for 100% renewable energy.
With the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico we are compelled to address this issue as well. Under the umbrella of a Just Recovery and Relief Aid Package for Puerto Rico, grassroots leadership on the island has developed a set of demands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. We support the call for massive funding to deal with the deadly shortages of water, food, medicines and other necessities. In addition, we support the demands in the full Just Recovery and Relief Aid Package that would put the island on the path toward regenerative energy, economic democracy, food sovereignty, control over land use, and community autonomy.


As always Erik McGregor was there to take these last two shots of us.

Image may contain: 1 person, text and closeup

Join us on November 18th to make history. We will dedicate a 100-year time capsule to record what New Yorkers love and are fighting to protect from climate change. It will be an interactive, inspiring, and family-friendly event where we will celebrate the people and places we are fighting for, and memorialize Governor Cuomo's response to the crisis.

And -- YOU are invited to contribute to the time capsule. Bring...
-An object (small enough to fit in your palm) representing what you love and want to protect in the face of climate change
-A letter to the future
Community Organization
Sunrise is building an army of young people stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

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