By DC 37
Earth Day is an annual event that is held throughout the world to support environmental protection. To show solidarity for this day, District Council 37 Education Fund hosted an Earth Day Expo on April 13, 2019. Queens City Council Member Costa Constantinides who was a co-sponsor and keynote speaker for the event, had been actively engaged in chairing the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee to endorse the Climate Mobilization Act. This Act has since been passed and is known as the Green New Deal. According to the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council, it is seen as the largest single carbon reduction effort thus far.
According to the City Council, it amended a local law to the New York City Charter and the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to the commitment to achieve a high level of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This law will also establish the Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance as well as greenhouse gas emission limits for existing buildings.
In attendance was DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, DC37 and Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I, as well as scientists, environmental organizations and activists commemorating their support for this humanitarian cause. Garrido, expressing his support for environmental protection, stated that from discussions he had with the different environmental groups, they went through a variety of models and probability results that proved that if climate levels were to increase by a series of degree levels, the results of such would have negative implications. “We need to invest our money into green, renewable energy.” He highlighted that we, as a city would be doing the morally correct thing by addressing emissions and the retrofitting of buildings. “We have a moral responsibility to do this. It is the right thing to do for our environment,” said Garrido, as he spoke on climate change and our responsibility to our future generations.
DC37 and Local 372 President Francois, in his speech, highlighted that recent reports have indicated that time is of the essence if we want to save our city. “Climate change is affecting our members every day. There is an average of 17 days per year, where temperatures have risen to over 90. By 2050, this number is going to triple,… It’s for us today, to make sure that [future generations] …have good climatic conditions.”
Keynote speaker, Council Member Constantinides, highlighted the job opportunities that will be created as a result. He stated, “Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created to help retrofit buildings, conduct inspections and construction workers will be needed to renew our infrastructure.” It will eventually pave the way for a 21st century green economy. According to Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council, it would allow us to see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions released by large buildings by 2030. An immense amount of energy is wasted due to inefficient and archaic systems making large buildings significant contributors to the high level of climate pollution experienced in New York City. The bill will require large buildings to diminish their emission of greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030. Building owners will be required to modify their buildings using technology which promotes cleaner air throughout the city.
Green New Deal will require major changes to the efficient use of energy for New York City. In order to facilitate a decrease in the level of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and other harmful gases within the atmosphere, efforts must be made to drastically reduce activities that create more harm than good by 2030. According to Progressive Caucus it will form the building blocks of a more resilient and sustainable city, while protecting many of our most vulnerable communities, which are deemed at high risk of suffering the most crucial consequences in the face of climate change.