Climate change protesters march across Brooklyn Bridge on Sandy anniversary

Sunday marked 5 years since the deadly 2012 storm

October 30, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The protest march was led by children from communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Photo by Erik McGregor
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Climate change proponents marked the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by marching over the Brooklyn Bridge and holding a rally to demand action from the federal, state and city governments.

The protest demonstration, which took place on Saturday, the day before the anniversary, drew thousands of participants, according to organizers. The protest was dubbed the #Sandy5 March.

Many of the protesters came from neighborhoods heavily impacted by Sandy’s wrath five years ago, including Red Hook and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, organizers said.

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The storm hit New York City with a fury on Oct. 29, 2012.

“Superstorm Sandy revealed the inseparable link between environmental justice and climate change,” Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, said in a statement. “The low-income communities and communities of color across New York City, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, have come together to demand that our elected officials take bolder, swifter action to bring about a just recovery, make our city more resilient and bring us to 100 percent renewable energy.”

The protesters gathered in Cadman Plaza Park Saturday morning and marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Lower East Side, where they held a rally outside the Alfred E. Smith Houses.

“Our family lost our home in Sandy. Five years later, my daughter still has nightmares and gets scared when it rains,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor who now lives in Cypress Hills.

Rivera, a member of New York Communities for Change, pointed a finger at climate change and said it’s time for the government to act. “All these storms are climate change, brought to us by the likes of Exxon and Trump, who are now taking the federal government backwards. Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo have the power to create many good new jobs for people who need it badly by moving us now to actually solve the climate crisis,” she said.

Organizers are demanding that swift and sweeping action be taken by Cuomo, de Blasio and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Here are the demands made by the #Sandy5 March protesters:

  •   At the city level: The protesters called on the de Blasio administration to develop a comprehensive plan to protect vulnerable communities from future flooding and to divest from using fossil fuels.

  •   At the state level: The organizers are pushing Cuomo to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy in the state and to force polluters to pay for any pollution they pump into the air.

  •   At the federal level: The climate change advocates said they want Schumer to ensure full funding of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), block bad energy bills and support legislation calling for the use of 100 percent renewable energy.


Meanwhile, the city is still taking a long, hard look at the impact of Superstorm Sandy. 

Last week, the City Council unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) to create a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force to analyze storm recovery efforts by city agencies and issue a report. 

Under the legislation, the task force would have 15 members and would require that the panel include a representative from each of the five boroughs. 

“It has been nearly five years since the worst storm in our city’s history devastated our coastal communities and changed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. For many across the city, the memories of Sandy’s devastation are still fresh in our minds. This legislation will help create a comprehensive, holistic understanding of our recovery process so we can develop a blueprint to guide us and our fellow Americans in the much-needed effort to become more resilient and better prepared to face natural disasters,” Treyger said in a statement.


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