Coney Island

Activists to mobilize for 5th anniversary of Sandy

September 18, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Superstorm Sandy left damage and destruction in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bath Beach, where it upended sections of the Shore Parkway seawall. The seawall has since been repaired. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Hundreds to march across Brooklyn Bridge to demand action

As the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches next month, climate change activists are planning what organizers are calling a mass mobilization to demand that elected officials pay closer attention to the potential devastation brought on by drastic weather events like hurricanes.

The planned events will include a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 28, with demonstrators gathering in Cadman Plaza, marching over the bridge and then holding a rally at the Smith New York City Housing Authority Houses on the Lower East Side, which were heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy.

“We are relentless in our mission to elevate the frontline in the struggle for climate justice, building strongholds of resistance and resilience at the local level, and advancing models of just transitions away from extraction and exploitation. For there to be any hope of a livable climate and sustainable economy for our children and grandchildren, we need our elected officials and public agencies to recognize the scale of the threat, embrace frontline leadership and enact monumental climate action immediately,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance.

Superstorm Sandy, which had near hurricane force winds, hit New York City on Oct. 29, 2012.

Several shorefront communities in Brooklyn, including Red Hood, Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gerritsen Beach, sustained serious damage as a result of the storm.

Under the banner “We remember, we resist, we rise,” the protesters, calling their new group #Sandy5, are calling for a resistance against the Trump administration’s rollbacks of climate change initiatives. The organizers are also demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer champion bold climate policies that would take New York away from a reliance on the fossil fuel economy. 

Specifically, #Sandy5 is demanding that de Blasio get Sandy survivors back in their homes, fix still-damaged New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing and work with communities to ensure that residents can make it through coming storms, heat waves and extreme weather.

On a state level, the coalition wants Cuomo to push for passage of the NY Renews policy platform in 2018 and commit the state to 100 percent renewable energy.

Schumer should stop what the coalition is calling the Trump administration’s “climate-killing agenda” by fully funding the Environmental Protection Agency, according to #Sandy5 leaders.

The protesters also want New York’s senior senator to block an energy bill championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and supporting legislation for 100 percent renewable energy.  

The mobilization is also coming on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which tore through communities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean, devastating families, bringing unprecedented rainfall and flooding and landing the record for strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic.

Following the Oct. 28 protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge, several of the communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy will hold local events on Sunday, Oct. 29 to commemorate the storm and celebrate the resilience of residents.

“Climate chaos is here and now, with each superstorm a tragic message that we must reject dirty fossil fuels and move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. We must honor the victims of Sandy, as well as now Harvey and Irma, by resisting the climate denier in the White House and getting off fossil fuels,” said Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Watch.

Michelle de la Uz, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn, said the time for action is now.

“Five years after Sandy, Red Hook and Gowanus are still recovering from Sandy and public housing residents are still on the front lines of the impact. As we see the incredible devastation in Florida, the Gulf and the Caribbean, it is clear that climate change’s impact is real and must be urgently addressed,” de la Uz said.

For more information and to see a list of the coalition’s organizations, visit sandy5.org.