New methods to reuse "fast fashion" clothes, recycling of construction materials, and adoption of electric school buses could all become possible in New York City under far-reaching new climate legislation introduced Thursday by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
The proposals include measures to encourage New Yorkers to use the city's composting program to cut down on the 3.1 million tons of garbage, one-third of which is food waste, households produce each year — measures that could eventually become mandatory, the legislation says. Johnson, who is running to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2021, said he also would push proposals to convert Rikers Island into a renewable energy hub and push for solutions to protect the city's shorelines from sea level rise.
For a deeper dive:
One of the world's most iconic parks is going vehicle-free this summer; New York City is banning all cars and trucks from Central Park.
"This park was not built for automobiles," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday in Central Park. "It was built for people."
Central Park will reach its full potential by going car free. They didn't design it for cars in 1857, and it's not… https://t.co/C8S1ctco5y— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1524254847.0
Starting June 27, the day after public schools close, drives will be closed below 72nd Street. Cars are already banned on park drives north of 72nd Street at all times.
There are roughly 42 million visits to Central Park every year. Its 843 acres of green space is a welcome respite for tourists and residents of the bustling, crowded metropolis. However, a number of motorists drive through the park's various roads to get to their destinations.
"Now all of those people will have a safe, beautiful experience because this park will be car-free," de Blasio said.
Mayor de Blasio has prioritized environmental concerns since taking office. Earlier this year, the city government said it will divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments and announced that it filed suit against five oil giants for contributing to climate change. In Sept. 2014, the year he was sworn in, de Blasio announced New York City's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
"This announcement is very much connected to understanding what we have to do to protect our Earth and to fight against climate change," he said Friday, just days before Earth Day.
The world’s most famous park is going car free! Join me in Central Park for more. https://t.co/lrpbyyHmC2— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1524238390.0
"Parks in this city are sacred because, probably more than any place, our parks are our refuge, they are where we do everything—little league, and kids learning on the playground how to play for the beginning of their lives," de Blasio said. "For some of us, even more important things. My wife Chirlane and I got married under a tree in Prospect Park."
"They are an oasis," he added. "For some people, they are literally where they take their summer vacation, because that's what they can afford, to be in a park and that's even more important for those families."
According to the New York Times, the new rule will not affect the crucial traverses between 65th, 79th, 86th and 97th Streets, which are built below park level. Parks Department vehicles and emergency and police vehicles will be allowed access to the park.
Naomi Klein: 'New York City Is Taking a Game-Changing First Step in Turning the World Right Side Up'… https://t.co/OzIRam3gTD— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1515888031.0
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Rachel Hubbard
Tuesday, the city of Paris has said it will explore the possibilities of suing the fossil fuel industry. In response to the city's recent climate damage including massive recent floods, Paris is considering taking this action following in the footsteps of New York and other U.S. cities.
Paris made the commitment to divest three years ago in the run-up to COP21 where the Paris agreement was signed. The city council also aims to use its influence, as well as the mandate of president Anne Hidalgo within the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to convince other big cities to divest.
This month, Paris suffered once again major floods, which, according to Anne Hidalgo, poses "clearly a question of adaptation of the city to climate change." Following the floods that swamped Paris in May 2016, studies have shown that climate change has increased the chances of floods by almost twice as much.
But Tuesday's announcement shows that cities in the path of climate impacts are ready to take action.
Clémence Dubois, of 350.org France said:
"It's fantastic news that cities like New York and Paris are mobilizing to protect their citizens and hold multinational fossil fuel companies accountable for the damage they cause. This is a major breakthrough for the divestment movement and the thousands of people around the world who have pushed cities to take a stand against polluters who are destroying our climate and the planet.
Fossil fuel companies like Total, Shell, BP and Exxon are causing floods and heat waves that are intensifying in Paris, and severe floods, droughts, forest fires, rising sea levels strike in France and around the world. This wish is a crucial step towards a future free of fossils. "
On Jan. 10, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced that the city would disinvest its pension funds of $191 billion in fuel fossil investments and sued BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.
With Tuesday's statement, the city of Paris affirms its solidarity with the City of New York's bold move. Major cities such as Sydney and Cape Town, as well as many European capitals such as Berlin, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm have already committed to divest fossil fuels.
Could this be a start of a wave of cities divesting and institutions suing fossil fuel companies for damages?
In France, 33 other local authorities, such as Bordeaux Lille La Rochelle, Dijon have adopted divestment motions.
Clémence Dubois said:
"We will mobilize locally to ask other cities to follow: communities have more power than is believed in resistance to the fossil industry, including through their links with the 'Caisse des Depots et Consignation' who manages the pensions of their employees, officials and contractors. We will ask that this crucial public financial institution listens to this momentum that is happening throughout the country, and divests from fossil fuels."
With this announcement, the global pressure on the fossil fuel industry ramps up some more. To date, more than 800 institutions, including universities, religious and medical groups, have joined the divestment movement. To build on these victories, the Fossil Free movement is preparing to launch a new wave of local actions around the world to keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate the shift to community-run renewable energy.
Be a part of it—find out how you can take action wherever you are.
- New York Takes Giant Step to Divest From Fossil Fuels ›
- World's Biggest Investment Fund Considers Divesting From Fossil ... ›
New York City's iconic Empire State Building glowed green Wednesday night following two "watershed" announcements—that the city would seek to divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments, and that it filed suit against five oil giants for contributing to climate change.
"The Empire State Building is shining green tonight because it's time to put our planet first. #DivestNY," Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Wednesday.
The Belgium-based European Green Party also chimed in and advocated for European leaders to follow the Big Apple's footsteps.
"Let's join #DivestNY and #DivestEurope for a Green and sustainable future for us and generations to come," the party said on social media.
Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer said they intend to divest New York City's $5 billion in securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies.
New York's lawsuit, filed in federal court, names BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell as defendants. The city seeks billions of dollars in damages and alleges the fossil fuel industry knew for decades that burning fuels drives global warming.
Environmentalists cheered the city's historic announcement.
"Today was an incredible day," author and investigative journalist Naomi Klein tweeted. "Hearing the mayor of the biggest city in the richest country on earth announce a lawsuit against 5 oil majors for climate damages AND fossil fuel divestment? Wow. We needed this. We will build on it."
@NYCMayor On 34th Street tonight. https://t.co/qeYYeDFWM3— City of New York (@City of New York)1515631758.0
- 50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won In 2017 ›
- Norway’s Largest Private Asset Manager Divests in Chevron, Exxon for Lobbying Against Climate Action - EcoWatch ›
- Empire State Building Realty Trust Now 100% Powered by Wind - EcoWatch ›