Daniela Lapidous, the coalition organizer for NY Renews, presented Nov. 27 on the fight against climate change in New York, and how Hamilton students can join the clean energy movement. NY Renews is a coalition of more than 140 grassroots, state, and national organizations fighting to transition New York to 100% renewable energy by 2050 while promoting clean energy jobs and worker protections during the transition to clean energy, as well as supporting low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change.
“It’s more critical than ever for states to lead in the absence of federal action [on climate change], and to show what we can accomplish without waiting around for this administration,” Lapidous remarked while reflecting on the Trump Administration’s climate change denial.
Our [climate change] solutions must also reverse the effects of racial and economic injustice along the way, otherwise we risk replicating a lot of the injustices that have been created by the status quo.
The organization strives toward two forms of justice in the fight against climate change: environmental justice and climate justice. Lapidous explained environmental justice as “when everyone has an equal right and equal access to live work and play in healthy and safe communities”. According to Lapidous, climate justice goes beyond “only [addressing] environmental burdens but talking about the broader picture of climate change.”
Lapidous said that this broader picture incorporates a just transition, which “is the idea… of applying [environmental and climate justice] to the way we fight climate change.” Lapidous emphasized that a just transition is vital for creating climate justice: “our [climate change] solutions must also reverse the effects of racial and economic injustice along the way, otherwise we risk replicating a lot of the injustices that have been created by the status quo,” Lapidous said.
The just transition is front and center in NY Renews’ efforts, which include lobbying for the passage of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA). The bill is intended to move New York to 100% renewable energy by 2050 while allocating a minimum of 40% of the state energy budget to disadvantaged and frontline communities and improving labor standards on projects using state energy funds.
Lapidous and NY Renews are part of the nationwide grassroots movement that is bringing climate change to the fore of public policy discussions. In conclusion, Lapidous shared the core tactics of the grassroots environmental and climate justice movement:
- In-district constituent lobbying
- Climate justice forums
- Statewide mobilization