This week, New York accomplished the unheard of: divestment from fossil fuels funds in efforts to combat climate change, and holding oil companies accountable for damage done. One of the few cities in the country to lead the charge, NYC will wean itself from fossil fuels over the next five years, and fight against the literal rising tide that stands between a city thriving and a city under water. This divestment is also a huge step away from environmental racism; in a metropolis as diverse (yet segregated) as NYC, people of color and the city's poorest are often hit the hardest by design when environmental catastrophes strike and they can't afford to rebuild. So how can we move forward as a fossil fuel-free city and what does long-term sustainability look like considering NYC's economic challenges?
The Museum of the City of New York and CUNY hosted a panel in December 2017 to discuss ideas of renewable energy sources in NYC, preventing another citywide electrical blackout, the intersection of sustainability and affordable housing, lessening climate change's effects and financial impacts, and protecting our grid against possible outside interference. Led by Michael Shank of USDN, New School professor Charles Allison, CUNY's Director of Sustainability Tria Case, NYCHA's Vice President of Energy and Sustainability Bomee Jung, and Nilda Mesa of Columbia University's Urban Design Lab/Earth Institute and formerly of Mayor DeBlasio's office, the discussion centers around how big cities can take back control of its resources, and how to engage change beyond a political standpoint and getting citizens involved in a greener future. Watch the whole panel now.