Tag: policy

November 9, 2020

Viewpoint: Getting Back to Paris

By Evan Mason   In all the confusion and excitement of the post-election drama, some of us may have missed a piece of important news: the day after Election Day, the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement became official. But that doesn’t mean it became permanent.   According to the NY Times, President-Elect Biden plans to inform the United Nations of his decision to rejoin the Paris Climate accord, by executive action. While it’s preferable to go through Congress instead of changing policy in this manner—effectively this stroke of Biden’s pen can easily be reversed by the next president in 2024–it’s clear that the President Elect recognizes the short deadline for reversing the impacts of climate change. (more…)

July 14, 2020

Monthly Forum: Urban Heat Island and COVID-19 – A Perfect Storm?

Summer in the City: Urban Heat Island, Environmental Justice and Covid 19– a Perfect Storm?

  Temperatures this summer are rising to uncomfortable levels.  But what policies are in place to assist people who are confined to small, crowded apartments, with inadequate ventilation and no air conditioning —or unaffordable air conditioning—in the case of a heat wave?   What are the environmental justice issues that should be considered, since traditional practices like opening community centers and shelters may be contraindicated in the era of Covid? What populations are being disproportionately affected by urban heat and climate change?   Please join Adriana Espinoza, Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice, NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs, who will speak about environmental justice from a macro level, and how systemic inequality and environmental racism has created the disparities that exists in the City today. She will also discuss how the City plans to better incorporate equity and EJ into the city climate decision-making.   To dive deeper into the conversation, Mike Harrington, Assistant Director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center, will speak about the historical inequalities of urban heat island impacts on communities and some possible solutions from a policy and design perspective. He will also share some of the lessons learned from personal experience and the recently released “Turning the Heat” report that he co-authored as part of the Urban Design Forum’s Forefront Fellowship.   Sonal Jessel, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, will discuss what makes extreme heat a public health issue, why there are inequities in impact, and how communities cope. She will also highlight particular challenges that exist for vulnerable populations this summer due to COVID-19.  

Here is the Link to register:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monthly-forum-urban-heat-island-and-covid-19-a-perfect-storm-tickets-111864495718

  Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Place: Online   REGISTER HERE!         (more…)

June 30, 2020

The Intersection of COVID and Climate: What Have We Learned?

By Kaitlyn Pohly   In a post-quarantine, shelter-in-place, mask-wearing world, what does the fate of our climate look like? Amidst all of this upheaval, it’s hard to remember that just half a year ago sustainability was a rising priority on the public’s agenda; the debate about the climate and its subsequent socioeconomic implications was gaining momentum.  

Earth Day, April 22, 1970. (AP Photo/Toby Massey)

Although the world’s shared media has been widely focused on the pandemic, it’s crucial that the pressure remain on the topic of climate change. And not only for the future of the planet—investments in sustainable, climate-resilient infrastructure and the transition to a lower-carbon society can significantly increase near-term job creation, a crucial factor in rebuilding our societies following the pandemic. Creating both economic and environmental resilience in a post COVID-19 world is now more essential than ever.   (more…)

July 24, 2018

NYC Youth Lead the Charge on Climate Change

by Jennifer Lauren   Sixteen year old student Jamie Margolin had always been interested in creative action against climate change. Just last year, she developed a multidimensional, youth-fueled response to climate change aptly entitled Zero Hour. Today, Zero Hour is a full scale, national movement that is also gaining traction abroad.  

© Erik McGregor ([email protected])

Inspired by Margolin’s activism, then-high school students Ilana Cohen and her friend Amy Torres established Zero Hour NYC. Core to the organization’s mission is inclusivity and interconnectivity: its mission underlines that not only youth, but also those “of the Global South, People Of Color, Indigenous Peoples, People with Disabilities, Poor People, Women, Queer and Trans People, and People belonging to marginalized faiths” are all those who are on the frontlines of climate change and are therefore uniquely poised to co-lead positive social change for both planet and people.   Zero Hour NYC is well positioned to demonstrate Margolin’s vision of inclusivity. Amy Torres and Ilana Cohen, along with a robust and diverse team, oversee New York City’s own coalition of local city students who are working collaboratively to ensure a more sustainable future for all.   (more…)

May 29, 2018

March Forum Recap: Sustainable Policy 201

by Miaoru Guan   The Sustainable Policy 201 Forum featured four speakers working towards sustainable, affordable housing through diverse but connected roles. Michelle Andry works at New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), where she focuses on energy efficiency, clean energy, and energy affordability initiatives impacting low-income housing. Francesca Camillo, Project Manager at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), assists building owners in procuring funding for rehabilitation. Elizabeth Kelly, Manager of Sustainability Programs at The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), leverages private capital to support sustainable multi-family housing and community revitalization projects. Andrea Mancino is Director of New Construction at Bright Power, and manages team members working on ground-up new construction and commissioning projects.   The panelists discussed how effective policy can encourage wider adoption of sustainable practices in housing by facilitating financing from government sources. For example, to qualify for government funding, new construction and rehabilitation buildings must receive building certification, such as Enterprise Green Communities or LEED certification. Mancino mentioned that achieving certification as an Enterprise Green Community requires buildings to outperform standard building code by 15%. Kelly discussed how these standards help the CPC and private lenders ensure projects have fulfilled a sustainability checklist, reducing the time projects spend in due diligence. Andry added that certified buildings are eligible for NYSERDA grants as well as HPD funding. (more…)

March 1, 2018

January Forum Recap: The Green Catwalk

by Jenny Nicolas   At the annual GreenHomeNYC Green Catwalk, seven speakers presented the latest information on everything from ventilation to greening the moving industry to O&M to-do lists within the sustainability space.   Part 1: Eat, Breathe, Move, & Check Sustainably   Changing Our Relationship with Food Ricky Stephens, co-founder of AgTech X, set the stage by presenting some of the biggest flaws within our country’s current food system. He indicated that 80% of the food grown today is not meant for human consumption, with 40% grown to support animals and 40% to be processed into biofuels. Additionally, though the plant kingdom is diverse, 84% of total US cropland is dedicated to just three crops: corn, soybean, and wheat. The long term prospects for the system are also in jeopardy as farming is not attracting new folks to the industry – the average age of a U.S. farmer is 58.    

Farm One and Smallhold are two indoor farms housed in restaurants.

What can be done to fix our current system? The goal of AgTech X is to create a new food economy, using urban farming as a vehicle to educate, decentralize, and make farming exciting again. AgTech X fosters a collective community by hosting classes, workshops and tours. Its co-lab workspace supports decentralized urban farming methods like Farm One and Smallhold, indoor farms housed in restaurants that produce farm-to-table microgreens. And a recent “Intro to Aquaponics” class by Oko Farms explained the closed-loop system of raising fish, creating fertilizer for plant growth and filtering the water. While urban farming is not a new concept, innovations in the past five years are making it a more intriguing career option for young professionals! (more…)

January 9, 2018

November Forum Recap: Innovations in Transportation: Mobility in Smart Cities

by Jenny Nicolas   The GreenHomeNYC November Forum held at the Hafele America showroom showcased a panel of four thought-leaders, who provided insight on the current status of New York City’s mobility and addressed innovative solutions to create a truly Smart City. The panelists discussed exciting projects and cutting edge technology that will help cities cut their dependence on fuel inefficient cars.   A Streetcar Named BQX Jonathan Gouveia, Senior Vice President of New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), spoke about the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX). The BQX is a project which would create a 16-mile waterfront streetcar from Sunset Park in Brooklyn, to Astoria in Queens, and would be able to accommodate 150 people.   Evidenced by the NYC subway map, there is a lack of N-S connections from Brooklyn to Queens. The BQX can be instrumental in the effort to move people more efficiently, while improving streetscapes, currently dominated by one-person occupied cars. This would be the first large rail transit capital project in over 60 years overseen by the city. With that magnitude, many factors must be considered including route planning, street design approach, and system accessibility features, among others. (more…)

December 4, 2017

GreenHomeNYC Year in Review: Taking on the Environmental Challenge

by Pamela Berns  

Photo credit: Pamela Berns

It’s been a year marked by extreme weather events, with hurricanes, fires, droughts, and flooding all across the globe. In the United States we saw Houston drown and Santa Rosa burn just a few months after Trump’s pullout from the Paris agreement in June. Climate advocacy groups, local policy makers, corporations, entrepreneurs, individuals, and nonprofits all stepped up their game in defense of the planet, and GreenHomeNYC was no exception.   Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, we were able to deepen our commitment to providing education and calls to action. Our speakers and our blog writers shared critical information on local policy, business actions, and academic initiatives. Record numbers of event attendees turned up to hear from innovators in energy, food waste, recycling, and sustainable building. Green careerists came out to find out where to point their compasses in the new paradigm.   We’re proud of the hard work that went into this challenging year, and hope that our contributions made a difference. Here are just a few GreenHomeNYC highlights for 2017:   (more…)

July 26, 2017

No Paris? No Problem: Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg Launch “America’s Pledge”

by Pamela Berns   Last month, GreenHomeNYC published “No Paris? No Problem: Climate Action Marches On” to demonstrate how the initial disappointment with the White House decision to withdraw from the Paris accord had “morphed into strengthened resolve and galvanized coalition building within and across public and private sectors, U.S. localities, and around the world.”  

Photo Credit: Pamela Berns

We are pleased to learn that California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg share our mission: On July 12, these two partners launched “America’s Pledge on climate change, a new initiative to compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses in the United States to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”   Said the press release announcing the partnership, “Building on this positive momentum, the America’s Pledge initiative will for the first time aggregate the commitments of these and other “non-Party actors” in a report on the full range of climate-related activities across the whole of U.S. society. The process of developing America’s Pledge will also provide a roadmap for increased climate ambition from U.S. states, cities, businesses and others, and will transparently demonstrate to the international community how and in which ways these entities can help the U.S. deliver on its pledge under the Paris Agreement.”   You can read more about America’s Pledge here.   You can access the June GreenHomeNYC article here. No Paris? No Problem: Climate Action Marches On  

April 17, 2017

March Forum Recap: Patty Noonan Memorial Policy Forum – Beware The Ides of March: Outlook for Our Sustainable Future

by Thomas Storck     This year’s Patty Noonan Memorial Forum on Policy addressed concerns over proposed policy changes made by the current White House administration to undermine ongoing sustainability initiatives. Drawing inspiration from the legacy of founding GreenHomeNYC member Patty Noonan, Andy Padian, President, PadianNYC Consulting, joined Marcia Bystryn, President, NY League of Conservation Voters, and Charles Komanoff, Director, Carbon Tax Center/Komanoff Energy Associates, to share past experiences and to offer insight into how to be an affective environmental advocate.   THIS IS WHAT AN ADVOCATE LOOKS LIKE It was 14 years ago that a group of 30 affordable homes in the South Bronx became the first of their kind in New York State to be built to Energy Star standards. Compared to typical affordable housing in the area, the project cost $1.36 more per ft2 and used one-fifth the energy. Today, all affordable housing is built to similar standards, but we didn’t get there without a fight. “This was thought of as completely berserk,” said Andy Padian. “[The developer] wouldn’t have done it without Patty kicking really hard.”   To provide some historical context, Padian recalled the mood among his colleagues at Mayor Ed Koch’s Energy Office when President Reagan was elected. “We were horrifically depressed.” Yet despite the President zeroing out both weatherization funding and the Home Energy Assistance Program in every budget, he encountered push back from a variety of groups who worked together to voice their opposition. As a result, funding for these programs actually increased under Reagan. When NY Representative Bill Green opposed federal solar and conservation tax credits because his low-income constituents failed to take advantage, Padian called Green’s Legislative Assistant on Housing and Energy and explained how these credits could be useful. Much to Reagan’s disappointment, Green was persuaded to change his vote. “This is what advocacy is about,” Padian said. (more…)