The Environment

The importance of thinking globally and acting locally has never been more apparent. New York City and each of our communities must help lead the way on climate change, and toward a more sustainable way of living. At the community level, creating new parks and greenways, supporting the cause of environmental justice, promoting better transit and alternative modes of transportation, and greening our homes and businesses are just some of the ways we can help make New York one of the most sustainable cities in the world.

City Councilmember Brad Lander’s Statement on Governor Cuomo’s Appointment of the Statewide Plastic Bag Task Force

 

Since February 15th – when the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo nullified NYC’s “Bring Your Own Bag” law – residents of NYC have sent approximately 750 million plastic bags to landfills.  By the end of the year, it will be another 7 billion.

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Statement of NYC Council Member Brad Lander on NYS DEC Commissioner’s Newfound Support for a NYC Plastic Bag Ban

“After failing to weigh in to support NYC’s efforts to reduce plastic bag waste at any point over the past three years, it takes a lot of chutzpah – and very little concern for good public policy – for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner to start telling New York City what we should do. 

Just last week, Governor Cuomo promised to form ‘a statewide task force to develop a uniform state plan for addressing the plastic bag problem’ by the end of this year. Did the task force meet? Did I miss it somehow? Read more »

Statement of Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin on Albany's Pre-Emption of NYC's Bring Your Own Bag Law

"We fought plastic bags, and for now, plastic bags won. They are stubborn and toxic forms of solid waste. They never biodegrade, so they pollute our trees, oceans, and landfills forever. And they are hard to dislodge from the State Legislature, too.  Read more »

Overwhelming Support for NYC’s "Bring Your Own Bag Bill" // Request for Governor Cuomo to Veto Pre-Emption

New York's environmental and climate justice groups, labor unions, good government organizations, local elected officials around NYS, business leaders & editorial boards overwhelmingly support New York City’s "Bring Your Own Bag Law" and urge Governor Cuomo to veto state legislation (A.4883/S.4158) which would unfairly pre-empt NYC's new law. Read more »

Contact Governor Cuomo TODAY to Save NYC's "Bring Your Own Bag" Law

This is our last chance to save NYC's Bring Your Own Bag Law. Governor Cuomo will make his decision in the next few days. 

Please call or write Governor Cuomo TODAY and ask him to VETO A. 4883S. 4158 and allow NYC to implement our Bring Your Own Bag Law. And please share this message and encourage others to do the same.

Contact information and suggested messages are below. Read more »

Join Environmental Groups & Elected Officials to Save NYC's Bring Your Own Bag Law

New York City, Feburary 5th -- Environmental groups and elected officials will gather at New York City Hall today to call on the Assembly, Senate and Governor to Oppose Assembly Bill No. 4883 and Senate Bill No. 4158, which would nullify NYC’s Bring Your Own Bag Law -- the CIty’s thoroughly-vetted, democratically-adopted, easy-to-follow, environmentally-sound, Bring Your Own Bag Law. Read more »

Editorial Boards Oppose Albany Effort to Preempt NYC's Plastic Bag Law

The editorial boards of the New York Daily News, New York Times, Albany Times Union, Crain's New York Business, Newsday, and AM New York all support NYC's "Bring Your Own Bag" Law, and oppose efforts by the New York State Legislature to overturn and pre-empt it: Read more »

Lead sponsors of NYC’s “Bring Your Own Bag” bill appeal to NYS Assembly not to nullify the City’s thoroughly-vetted, democratically-adopted, easy-to-follow, environmentally-sound law

 

New York City Council Members Chin, Lander, Reynoso, Richards make clear that the City Council stands ready to address technical issues the Assembly has raised in negotiations. The City’s law is set to go into effect on February 15th, and should not be pre-empted (either temporarily or permanently).    Read more »

Don't Let Albany Legislators Cram Plastic Bags Down NYC's Throat (and Trees, Storm Drains & Landfills)

Statement by Council Member Brad Lander on efforts by Albany legislators to overturn NYC's plastic bag law (which will go into effect on February 15th, 2017):

"With Trump and the GOP Congress rolling back climate protections and bullying cities, it would be shameful for Albany to join them. Don't they have more important work to do?

New York State legislators who care about the environment must defend the right of localities to advance effective, forward-looking environmental policy. Read more »

Still and always, grateful

Some years, gratitude is closer to the surface. Some years, it takes a little more digging.

Four years ago, as Thanksgiving came, we were recovering from a natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy had taken the lives of loved ones, and battered our city. There were 500 nursing home evacuees living on the drill floor of the Park Slope Armory. But we found – no, together, we made – a “paradise built in hell” (the title of a brilliant book by Rebecca Solnit, about the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster). With food, music, art, volunteers, bathroom-cleaning, doctors, donations, smart organizing, love, and a deep sense of purpose, we turned that Armory into a place (as described by evacuee Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler) of “courtesy, gentleness, and goodness beyond description.” Even if it could not hold back the hurricane, she said, “it makes one feel more secure and very, very grateful.”

Today, as Thanksgiving comes, we are trying to recover from a political disaster. While the lives lost and damage done by Hurricane Sandy cannot be directly compared, the experience of loss for many of us is still real. Not just that we lost an election, though that will have profound consequences. What feels especially painful to me today is the risk that we’ll lose a vision that we’ve been so proud to hold up for our kids – of a country called to its best self, rooted in compassion, embracing difference, with a real belief (even when we don’t make it real) that everyone deserves a more equal chance across all our lines.

That very dream, and the effort to make it real, provoked a sharp back-lash (a “white-lash”, as Van Jones rightly called it). At this moment, it seems easier to mobilize the darker, more closed, more resentful, sides of humanity – rather than the hopeful, open, embracing ones. I’m afraid, honestly, about what that means for being human.  

Still and always, gratitude is a critical part of the way forward. Not as a way of “feeling better” (although gratitude turns out to be good for your health). And not only because bitterness can consume us (although John Lewis reminds us that hearts full of love will do a lot better to sustain us for a long-term struggle). But also because gratitude for what we do together, for what we can’t do alone, for the ways we need each other, is at the heart of creating an inclusive community. “Organized compassion” is not only how we fight but what we are fighting for.

So, in that spirit, here’s some of what I am so deeply grateful for, still and always: Read more »