In the wake of a week for environmental activism, New York officials set a goal of 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2015, saying that the momentum for change needed to be sustained.
The talk about the future of a “greener and cleaner New York” came at a meeting in City Hall on Tuesday evening, where officials praised the involvement of the 300,000 citizens who participated in in the Climate March on Sept. 21. They also emphasized the need for a collective effort in the future.
City Council member Donovan Richards, chair of the council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, announced New York City as an environmental model for municipalities worldwide and expressed the city’s mandate of an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050. “We must divorce our love of fossil fuels and we must marry renewable energy.”
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, claimed there were clear signs of a new beginning. She emphasized that this “was the first time an environmental event of this type had been held in the city chambers.”
She further declared the introduction of a “sustainability plan that will achieve 0 percent carbon emissions in newly constructed buildings and place sanctions on existing ones.” She asserted that the city must not only uphold its green reputation, but also improve its core structure.
Several non-profit youth, organizations were also present at the Climate event and received recognition for their continued commitments in environmental awareness.
One such group were UPROSE, whose 16-year-old youth leader, Ashley Rodriguez, received an award for producing several short environmental films and participating in the Students on Ice Artic expedition.
An educational organization, Globalkids, was also recognized for its innovative leadership, with calls for public schools to include Climate Change as part of the core curriculum.
Dr. Robert Bullard, described as “the father of environmental justice,” summarized the tone of the occasion by stating, “the time is ripe to put environmental justice on the forefront.”