Local Warming

If you were there for the TORNADO that touched down in Bay Ridge/Sunset Park last summer, let alone the bizarre February fluctuations of temperature we’ve been going through (from 5 degrees to 65 degrees and back), you know that climate change is a very real, tangible thing here in Brooklyn. It seems that neighborhood organizations and city officials have also noticed this, and have started to do something about it! And as a member of the Sunset Park Community HealthCorps, I guess I’m sort of already implicated in all this.

This Friday I attended a community gathering to learn/raise awareness about what the concrete effects of climate change will be in the foreseeable future. The meeting, hosted by UPROSE, “Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organization,” focused on what we can expect in Brooklyn, particularly in Sunset Park. It turns out that since most of the industry and crucial infrastructure in SP is located close to the waterfront, small changes in sea-level rise, the intensity of tropical storms, and the length of heat waves will drastically impact the quality of life here. Presenters from the Office of Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office PLANYC2030 gave talks in which they expressed keen unwavering awareness of the following facts:

  • Scientists predict an increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes; it is more and more likely that a storm will hit us, even this far North. Hurricane season starts in the summer time, so you should prepare accordingly
  • OEM has calculated that if a hurricane strikes NYC or the environs (apparently Atlantic City is more likely based on meteorological data) this will likely leave about 2.3 million New Yorkers without housing, approximately 650,000 of whom will have to seek public housing. That is an insane number.
  • By 2039, NYC expects to experience over 70 days per year with temperatures over 90 degrees.
  • Today’s impacts come from emissions generated 50 years ago. Even if we drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are going to experience intensifying climate change impacts. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions in NYC are going steadily UP.
  • Nearly 80% of greenhouse emissions can be attributed to heating, cooling, and lighting buildings. Hence, amending the building code to promote green building practices will be a crucial step in cutting down on the carbon.

NYC is generally considered to be on the up and up. For the past 3 decades, NYC has been reviving its industries, infrastructure, parks, etc. and has been concurrently experiencing a decrease in crime, an increase in tourism, population, etc. I’m pretty impressed that the Mayor’s Office is taking this growth as an opportunity to raise awareness not only about mitigation of global warming but about adaptation to the coming changes; in fact, according to them,this represents the first climate change adaptation project in the United States. AND this meeting is the first neighborhood-level community outreach in the adaptation project, hence the first such meeting in the US! How bout that?


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: