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Category Archives:

environmental justice

NYCHA’s Queensbridge Houses Go Solar

Solar Panel installation at Queensbridge Houses with GCF Participants

On Earth Day this past Thursday, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced substantial
completion of 1.8 megawatts of rooftop solar arrays on 27 buildings across Queensbridge North
and Queensbridge South Houses, the largest public housing project in the country. This solar
installation is the first to reach completion as part of NYCHA’s solar program, and is a key
component of the NYCHA Sustainability Agenda commitment to host 25 megawatts of solar
power by 2025, which will make it the largest community shared solar project in New York City.

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The Derek Chauvin Trial Is Over, But the Fight for Justice and Accountability Isn’t

Americans who were horrified about the murder of George Floyd and protested police violence and over-policing of people of color throughout last summer breathed a collective sigh of relief when the jury in the Chauvin trial returned a verdict of “guilty” on all three counts on Tuesday. Mr. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, wrote this moving tribute in the Washington Post that speaks to what so many are feeling: exhaustion, relief, a sense of history moving slowly forward. The verdict is historic and we hope it is a strong first step towards more even-handed and less racially motivated dispensation of justice in the United States.

But there is still much work to be done. Hours before the Chauvin verdict was announced, 16 year old M’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police responding to a 911 call in Columbus, Ohio. And in December of last year, two other Black citizens died at the hands of Columbus police: Casey Goodson, Jr., 23, and Andre Hill, 47. Many others around the country, including Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and so many others have had the justice they deserved deferred or denied. We must continue to remember their humanity, the pain of their loved ones in the face of their tragic and unnecessary deaths, and the value to our society that was lost with them.

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NYC Schools Going Solar “From the Outside In”

Want an in-depth look at how Solar One is working with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to solarize our public schools? Check out this article from Solstice.us that includes a great interview with Amy Colorado, the Green Design Lab’s Program manager fro K-12 Curriculum & Instruction.

“Learning about buildings and how buildings use energy – that’s what sustainability looks like in the city of New York,” Amy said. “I’m incredibly thankful to have entered Solar One to be able to teach environmentalism that is relevant to NYC and its residents.”

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solarcte1

Waste Management Is an Environmental Justice Issue

solarcte1Environmental justice is having a moment. The term, which encompasses the many ways by which low-income people and communities of color suffer an unequal burden from pollution, contamination, and climate change, has seen a surge in use, largely due to the recent American political campaign and the protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder this summer. Those factors, as well as the patterns of infections and death due to COVID-19, focused attention on a number of systemic issues in the U.S., including unfair environmental impacts felt by Black and brown Americans.

Into that political and social moment comes the book Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, written by Catherine Coleman Flowers, an environmental health researcher, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and a founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. (She’s also a 2017 Grist Fixer.) The book pulls the curtains back on how poor communities and communities of color in Lowndes County, Alabama — located between Selma and the state capital Montgomery — are reckoning with a lack of adequate sewage infrastructure and the health crises that accompany it.

Flowers says that she wanted readers to see the issues in her book as problems that can get much worse if governments in this country don’t invest in better infrastructure for basic necessities, like access to modern plumbing. She worries that future infectious diseases will spread even more as climate change scrambles weather patterns in the South.

“People that are impacted the most will be those living around raw sewage,” she told Grist. “We see this already with the death rates for people that don’t have [regular] access to water — they can’t wash their hands. We’re also seeing parasites that are living and thriving that we thought had been eliminated. And they’re going to be moving further north as the climate changes.”

You can read more at Grist.org here.

Social Justice NYC

New York Announces More than $10.6 Million in New Grants for Environmental Justice

Social Justice NYCAgainst the backdrop of renewed calls for racial justice nationwide in the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the state of New York announced on Tuesday a slate of grants totaling more than $10.6 million to help underserved residents access affordable solar energy. The grants will help offset predevelopment costs to address resource barriers that typically prevent low-income residents — particularly communities of color — from installing clean energy or energy storage in their homes.

The Empire State is set to provide individual grants of up to $200,000 each to affordable housing providers, community organizations, and technical service providers to assist low-income households and install solar and energy storage systems meant to benefit entire communities. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the government agency administering the program, will be hosting a webinar on July 14 to launch the grant opportunities and provide more information on the application process. The state will accept applications on a quarterly basis through the end of 2024.

This initiative is the result of New York’s landmark environmental justice legislation, which helped bring the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to life in January. The CLCPA made headlines for being the most ambitious emissions-reduction legislation in the country, thanks to its promise that the state will reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040. The CLCPA and the accompanying environmental justice bill require the state to make good on its commitments to address environmental injustice and invest in underserved and pollution-burdened communities. Tuesday’s announcement is part of that follow-through.