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7 Events to Check Out During the 10th Annual Climate Week NYC

Climate
An art installation of a polar bear crossing a New York City street. Thomas Jackson / Getty Images

Monday marks the start of the 10th annual Climate Week NYC. From Sept. 24 to the 30, non-profit The Climate Group has invited businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations, universities and art and music organizations to host a wide variety of affiliated events devoted to raising awareness and prompting action around climate change.


"Climate Week NYC is the largest climate week in the world and as one of the key summits in the international calendar—which runs alongside the United Nations General Assembly—has been driving climate action forward since its launch in 2009," The Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson said in a New York City mayor's office press release. "We are thrilled to be hosting our 10th Climate Week NYC and to appear on the world's stage, to continue to advance climate action to the top of the global agenda."

It's a jam-packed week—last year's week hosted more than 140 affiliate events. So if you're lucky enough to be in New York, it's a great chance to learn more about climate change and what you can do about it. You can see the full 2018 events program here, but if that's too overwhelming, below are seven events that demonstrate the full variety of what Climate Week NYC has to offer.

1. Drawdown

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming is a best-selling book edited by Paul Hawken that outlines 100 existing climate solutions that, if applied globally and to scale over the next 30 years, could bring the earth to "drawdown," the point at which greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and then begin to decline. Even after the book's publication, Project Drawdown continues to research and promote climate solutions. The event will feature a presentation by Drawdown senior writer Katharine Wilkinson followed by a panel discussion moderated by 350.org founder Bill McKibben.

When: Monday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: 2 West 64th Street, New York, NY
Hosts: New York Society for Ethical Culture, Pachamama Alliance, and 350NYC
Cost: $10

2. Climate Change - Politics, Arts, and Innovation

This stimulating evening of panel discussions features the work of people using their artistic and technological skills to confront the problem of climate change. The first panel focuses on art with the Climate Museum, the first institution dedicated to cultural engagement with climate change, Storm King Art Center, which is currently showing an innovative climate art exhibit, and artist Justin Brice Guariglia, whose work is both part of the Storm King exhibit and the Climate Museum's Climate Signals installation featuring 10 solar-powered road signs with text written by Guariglia on display around NYC until Nov. 6. Next, The ixo Foundation, which develops ixo Blockchain for Impact, and SolarCoin, which uses blockchain technology to create a digital currency promoting solar energy, discuss innovation with sustainability financing company South Pole and SDG Futures, which is working on developing a 2019 TV program promoting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, speaks with fellow Yale professor Dan Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, about the "Politics, Policy and Communication" of climate change.

When: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY
Host: The Explorers Club
Cost: $5 to $25

3. Cool Tips for a Liveable Planet - The Whys and Hows of 1.5°C

Climate Analytics is a non-profit based in Berlin dedicated to bringing together experts on both the science and policy of climate change. It makes sense, then, that it is hosting an event discussing the latest science on the benefits of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and what this means for the successful implementation of the Paris agreement. The event will feature an update on the significance of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the impact of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, presented by Princeton scientist Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, as well as talks on the climate and policy implications of that goal by Climate Analytics members Dr. Tabea Lissner, Dr. Bill Hare & Jasmin Cantzle.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave, New York, NY
Host: Climate Analytics
Cost: Free, register here

4. Climate Solutions for Affordable Housing in NYC

Buildings are responsible for 70 percent of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions. This event will focus on how to reduce those emissions, especially in buildings housing low-income communities, in a way that preserves affordable housing. The panel will feature speakers from the mayor's office and environmental justice organizations like WeACT and NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.

When: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: McNally Amphitheatre, Fordham University Lincoln Center, 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY
Host: NYC Climate Action Alliance
Cost: Free

5. THE POINT: Elements of Change

Come to the closing night of Elements of Change, a play by Divya Mangwani based on the UNICEF Climate Comic Contest winner "Tré: The Adventures of Brother Earth" by Sona Sridhar. The theatrical event is part of a larger collaboration coordinated by Greenpoint Innovations (GPI) under the banner of THE POINT that seeks to leverage the arts for climate action. Also part of the collaboration: a mural by South African street artist Sonny and Brooklyn art duo ASVP on the walls of Intermediate School 318 in north Brooklyn. You can track the mural's progress on Instagram. This is the third year in a row that GPI, a purpose-based company founded by Stephen Donofrio to use data, media and the arts to promote sustainability, has coordinated an NYC Climate Week event, according to Broadway World.

When: Friday, Sept. 28, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Castillo Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street, New York, NY
Hosts: UNICEF, Comics Uniting Nations, Greenpoint Innovations, Hypokrit Theater Company and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Cost: Free, but tickets are limited, register here

6. Global Citizen Festival

Global Citizen is dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030 by encouraging people around the world to pressure governments to take action on gender equality, the environment, food security, education, global health and sanitation. By downloading the Global Citizen app, you can take recommended actions to enter a lottery and earn tickets to the 2018 concert. 48,000 tickets will be given away in total. Headliners include Janet Jackson, The Weekend, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B and Janelle Monáe, with special guest John Legend.

When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Doors open 2 p.m.
Where: Great Lawn, Central Park, New York, NY
Host: Global Citizen
Cost: Free

7. Bay to Beach Climate Walk and Arts Workshop

This event is not officially affiliated with Climate Week NYC, but it matches up in spirit. The Climate Museum is inviting the public on a guided tour of Rockaway Park. Hurricane Sandy devastated the Rockaways more than five years ago, and the walk bears witness to that devastation, as well as the steps the community has taken to rebuild and prepare for the future. The event closes on the boardwalk with a workshop by local artists on processing climate-based emotions through visual art.

When: Sunday, Sept. 30, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Rockaway Park, Queens, NY
Host: The Climate Museum and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy
Cost: Free

This post was reformatted for clarity.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protestors marched outside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, August 26, during the MTV Video and Music Awards to bring attention to the water crisis currently gripping the city. Karla Ann Cote / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Will Sarni

It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.

The city of Flint, Michigan, where dangerous levels of pollutants contaminated the municipal water supply, is a case in point — as is, more recently, the city of Newark, New Jersey.

The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future

We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.

"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.

One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.

Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.

Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.

These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.

We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).

We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.

We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.

Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.

Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.

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