Summarized by Joan Hoffman, Pushker Kharecha, Kimberly Ong, Anna Orozco
JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE MARCH 28, 2017
PROBLEMS: warming, executive orders and environmental injustices
The entire climate system is warming! This includes the atmosphere, land, and most importantly the oceans. Oceans are the greatest heat reservoir on the planet and the steady, consistent rise in their temperature since the late 1960s (see here) is clear evidence that the earth is heating up as a result of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that humans have put into the atmosphere, according to Dr. Pushker Kharecha, climate scientist from the Earth Institute of Columbia University. This warming causes irreversible sea level rise and worsens extreme weather events such as droughts, storms, heat waves, and floods, and, if not mitigated, can make the climate intolerable for human society and countless other life forms. It can also cause major food and water supply disruptions around the world.
“We must not burn the vast majority of the remaining fossil fuels buried in the earth,” warned Dr. Kharecha.
Coal, he showed with his colorful pie charts, is currently (and historically) the greatest source of carbon emissions. This is disturbing information when considered in light of executive orders favoring the fossil fuel industry issued by President Trump and described by Kimberly Ong, a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawyer who co-leads the Fossil Free Northeast Campaign. One provides for the expedited review of certain “high priority” infrastructure projects (https://www.nrdc.org/trump-watch/trump-fast-tracks-pipeline-permits-expense-environmental-review), such as oil and natural gas pipelines, and the other is designed to stop the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/david-doniger/trumps-climate-destruction-plan-deal-he-cant-close), which would have reduced the use of coal and prevented almost 4000 premature air pollution-related deaths each year, according to the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-overview-clean-power-plan). (NRDC is challenging Trump’s approval of Keystone XL (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anthony-swift/nrdc-and-allies-sue-trump-administration-over-keystone-xl) and Trump’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/david-doniger/nrdc-fights-back-epa-starts-trumps-climate-rollbacks) in two separate lawsuits.) Further, warned Ms. Ong, we should be aware that a very plain-sounding executive order is in fact quite detrimental to environmental and climate protection. That order requires agencies to repeal two existing regulations for each new regulation it puts in place (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/michael-jasny/trumps-new-executive-order-regulations-pure-kafka). This executive order both goes beyond President Trump’s authority under the Constitution and does not permit consideration of the need for or benefits of the regulations to be eliminated. Ms. Ong reported that this order will undermine NRDC’s long but almost successful struggle to regulate the transportation of crude oil by rail. (NRDC is also challenging Trump’s “2-for-1” executive order. (https://www.nrdc.org/media/2017/170208))
That the burdens of climate change and pollution do not fall evenly on populations, whether across the globe or within New York City, was a point emphasized by all three speakers. Dr. Kharecha warned that scientists have observed some especially weak points in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, and that if the most vulnerable parts of the ice sheets are lost, the oceans could rise by at least 10 meters (33 feet) worldwide, which would be particularly devastating for the many coastal populations of developing countries. The poorer communities in New York City also experience disproportionate pollution and costs of the effects climate change, such as SuperStorm Sandy, according to the community organizer and policy analyst Ana Orozco of UPROSE, a Sunset Park Brooklyn community organization that fights for environmental and social justice. Like many other poor communities, especially communities of color, Sunset Park has polluting industries close by, along their shore line, and the incidence of asthma and cancer increases among those living closer to these plants. Hurricane Katrina provided an example of the common pattern of environmental injustices. Low income people and people of color lived in the more vulnerable areas, received inferior assistance during the storm, relatively poor help after the storm, and were gentrified out of New Orleans due to the nature of the rebuilding.
STRATEGIES: information, legal battles, activism, organizational participation and individual actions
The speakers came to share information and inspire resistance to efforts to damage our climate and our neighborhoods. Dr. Kharecha explained that climate activists had created a nonpartisan public interest group to help people reach and write to their representatives (http://citizensclimatelobby.org). Ms. Ong’s reports of the NRDC’s legal challenges to the Trump administration were encouraging. In addition to suing the Trump administration over its approval of Keystone XL, its rollback of the Clean Power Plan, and its signing of the 2-for-1 executive order, NRDC is also suing the EPA for withdrawing the mercury protection rule (https://www.nrdc.org/media/2017/170201) and for suspending protections for the endangered rusty patched bumble bee (https://www.nrdc.org/media/2017/170214), a decision the administration reversed after NRDC’s lawsuit.
Ms. Ong also acknowledged that the range of problems we are facing can seem overwhelming, and she recommended that people focus their energies on a particular issue that drew their passion and engaged them, for no one can do everything. She explained how the NRDC made decisions on how to allocate their limited resources and energy. They try to choose battles that affect many people, where their participation can add value, where the organization has opportunities to represent communities that are typically underrepresented, and where, if won, the experience can serve as a model for other battles. Ms Orozco emphasized the importance of discussing with others how we can revision our economies to provide us the means to make a living in a manner that is healthy for our minds, spirits and bodies. She pointed out that our current arrangements were created by human beings, and that we can certainly create alternative arrangements that would be healthier for everyone. An audience member mentioned the divestment from fossil fuel campaign. A book, Viking Economics, which explains how Nordic people reorganized their economic system to benefit their populations was recommended by the teach-in organizer, Professor Joan Hoffman, Emerita of the Economics Department and the Sustainability and Environmental Justice Program.
Individual efforts that all of us can make that came up in the discussion included eating less meat, using less plastic, avoiding plastic bags, energy efficient cars/buildings/homes/light bulbs, and of course sharing information. While all of these measures are well and good, ultimately a shift away from the fossil fuel extraction economy is imperative to stop climate change. All of the speakers recommended activism and becoming engaged with some organization whose activities allow individuals to multiply their efforts through group participation.
Links that can multiply your efforts by joining them with others;
People’s Climate Movement, DC Climate March (has buses and subsidies for students)
350: Active Global Climate Movement; Supports DC Climate M Arch
Take Action NYC
#NODAPL the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Movement
Children’s Climate Change Lawsuit
Scientists Supported Citizens Climate Lobby
Student Organization Supporting Divestment From Fossil Fuels
Tuesday March 28, 2017
1:40 pm, Haaren Hall Room 630
EVIDENCE AND IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Dr. Pushker Kharecha Climate Scientist, Columbia Earth Institute
LEGAL OPTIONS FOR FIGHTING BACK
Kimberly Ong Esq. Environmental Lawyer NRDC: National Resources Defense Council
LOCAL CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENTAL, RACIAL, GENDER AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
Ana Orozco Climate Justice Policy and Programs Coordinator, UPROSE, a Brooklyn based community organization dedicated to fighting for environmental & social justice
Cuba! exhibit has recently opened at the American Museum of Natural History. On Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 SUS 200: Introduction to Sustainability Studies students and their professor Milena Popov browsed through this exhibit exploring extraordinary biodiversity (including many endemic animal species) of Cuba’s wetlands, forests, caves, and coral reefs, as well as Cuban urban organic farm practices. More on this exhibit can be seen at: www.amnh.org/cuba.
￼￼￼Green Justice for John Jay
￼Project Team: Registration Number M47
Dr. Milena Popov, Faculty Advisor, Sustainability & Environmental Justice Minor, Art & Music Department
Charrize Avendano, Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics Kel Blaze, Economics
Nadejda Dimitrova, Philosophy
Karishma Ramratan, Criminal Justice
Julian Useche, Public Administration
￼￼New York City is covered with of miles and miles of paved sidewalks and roads, and hundreds of skyscrapers and large buildings made of steel, glass, and concrete. The lack of green space and environmentally friendly infrastructure creates an enormous amount of stormwater runoff. Thus, the city faces severe flooding and pollution issues. Too often, New York’s sewage treatment plants are overwhelmed when it rains and are forced to allow sewage overflow to enter New York City’s surrounding bodies of water, including the Hudson River. The Hudson River is two blocks away from our school, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. At John Jay, we have a few features that help absorb rainwater, including the Jay Walk (a rooftop green space – image on cover page) and some trees along the sidewalk surrounding campus. However, these features are not enough to effectively combat environmental problems. Hence, our project focuses on adding more native plant life throughout the campus to make our college more sustainable, and resilient to climate change. We propose the building of outside vertical gardens and a vine pergola to be watered by eco rainwater catch systems. Additionally, we propose replacing sections of sidewalk around campus with more grass and trees, as well as making the pavement more porous to absorb rainwater. We think that these features will help to curb water pollution, and make the area more green overall. Furthermore, we believe that through the features’ ￼implementation, we can increase community engagement and education about sustainability.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice is located in a central area of New York City, Midtown Manhattan, at 524 West 59th Street. This area of the city is a concrete jungle where green spaces are limited, and trees and grass are not a very common sight – unless one ventures away into Central Park. John Jay College is surrounded by many wide-paved Manhattan streets, which have a sparse scattering of trees planted on them; for the most part, broad, dark gray streets are what surrounds the tall, bustling modern campus. This vast pavement is not designed with environmental issues in mind, and greatly contributes to New York’s major stormwater runoff problem. Sewer overflows are very common in New York, and as a result, the surrounding bodies of water are often polluted with untreated sewage, various litter, toxic chemicals, etc. (The City of New York, 2016; DePalma, 2007; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016). Also, since New York is a coastal city, it is at a great risk for flooding and severe storms due to climate change. However, there are not many climate-resilient structures or plants throughout the city for its protection. Likewise, not nearly enough is being done to undermine climate change, and the burning of fossil fuels is pervasive. While John Jay does have some environmentally friendly features, e.g. a partial green roof known as the Jay Walk, including a small vegetable garden, and some trees planted outside the building, these additions are not enough.
Thus, our undergraduate student team has designed some green infrastructure to improve the building both for the environment, and the people that use it. Our team consists of five John Jay students from Dr. Popov’s Introduction to Sustainability class who volunteered to collaborate on the RainWorks Project together. These five individuals have no extensive academic or professional background in architecture, engineering, hydrology, sustainability, etc. We developed our design through reviewing assorted research and literature and collaborating with our faculty advisor, Dr. Popov, and Steve Waxman of the John Jay Facilities Department.
Professor Milena Popov is scholar, educator, and multimedia artist. Dr. Popov received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies and an MFA and a BFA in Painting and Education. Popov teaches art and interdisciplinary sustainability and environmental justice courses at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York, and she is a founding member of the Sustainability and Environmental Justice Minor at the college.
Kel Blaze is a student at John Jay and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. At the beginning of the project, he was really interested in the prize. As the course went on, he later found out how fragile the planet really is and how we can save it. Blaze has traveled to numerous countries throughout his lifetime, mostly due to military training. He has several awards and medals such as challenge coins from the commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, LOA’s and
￼￼￼Charrize Cindy Avendano is a senior majoring in Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics. As a PADI Certified Scuba Diver, Charrize has traveled to numerous dive sites throughout the world and has personally witnessed the effects of human activity on coral reefs. This prompted her interest in enrolling in the sustainability course with Professor Popov to learn more about ways to become more involved in making an impact on the local community and ultimately increasing
￼environmental awareness within the community.He is tri-lingual and a Chick-Fil-A lover. He now believes that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity.
Nadejda Dimitrova is a senior majoring in Philosophy. As a young child, she was inspired by learning about Native American culture which respects and cares for the Earth. She has traveled to all fifty states, experiencing the beauty of nation’s natural environment and recognizing the importance to protect it. Nadejda realizes that the environment, as well as the livelihood of people, is being seriously threatened by climate change and other environmental destruction, and that action must be taken to combat these threats and make the world more sustainable, starting within her own community in New York.
Karishma Ramratan is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice. Growing up in Guyana, nature and wildlife were a crucial part of her childhood. She was accustomed to so much greenery that upon her arrival in New York it was a shock to see little to no trees. She thinks that it is important for New York to become a greener as well as a cleaner city thus emerging into more than the greatest city in the world. She is compelled by her love of nature and the environment to make a difference in her community.
Julian Useche is a Queens, New York native who is currently a junior majoring in Public Administration. Growing up in New York City has made him appreciate how special nature is, because it’s so limited in New York. He cares about making New York City a more environmentally friendly place. He loves spending time at Rockaway Beach in Queens every summer, and is happy to be involved in a project that will help water quality in surrounding New York City beaches. Being introduced to sustainability at John Jay is what motivated him to get involved on campus in making it a greener place.
Since John Jay is a school for justice, our goal is to make the campus more environmentally responsible and exhibit that we are concerned about and take action for environmental justice.
As a group, our student team surveyed the school with the help of our professor to locate potential sites where we could implement sustainability features that would promote the reduction of water pollution. We propose the following ideas to reduce water pollution from stormwater runoff:
● Adding more green spaces and plant life throughout the outside of the campus. There are many paved sidewalks surrounding the campus where these green spaces can be placed. Adding more trees, grasses, and other plant life around our campus will reduce stormwater runoff, beautify the campus, reduce carbon emissions, reduce urban heat island effect, and create higher air quality for our students and the surrounding community. Planting more trees around the school will provide more shade in the summer, and placing benches near those trees will provide a place to rest for students and community members.
● Installing porous sidewalks, grass, and trees alongside the perimeter of John Jay.
Similarly, this will help to mitigate the effects of intense precipitation.
● Building a vertical garden on the Jay Walk and along one of the walls of our roof. These
gardens will be watered using a rain harvesting system and a bike-powered irrigation pump.
● Installing vertical rain gardens on the campus façade. Rain gardens will help to retain water during storms to help mitigate flooding and sewer overflowing, as well as filtering it to improve water quality.
● Creating a vine pergola over a seating area on the Jay Walk. This will be a light way to
add more plant life to the space, and provide shade too.
CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES:
● Limited outdoor space and weight limit on the Jay Walk
● Bureaucratic restrictions
● Requirement of approval from the New York City Department of Transportation in order
to add the porous sidewalks
● Lack of funding
● Lack of popular support
We believe that all of these initiatives will significantly reduce stormwater runoff and provide other benefits to the environment, the student body, and the community.
● New York City’s gardens are expected to capture more than 200 million gallons of water – we can add to this figure. Plus, trees and vines can cool the city by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. (MillionTrees NYC, 2015)
● Mature trees can absorb (and filter) about 36 percent of the rainfall around them, improving the water quality through their roots.
● “One mature tree absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year… Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for one person to breathe over the course of a year… In neighborhoods with more tree canopy cover, air quality improves by as much as 15 percent… Urban trees in the continental U.S. remove up to 800,000 tons of air pollution from atmosphere annually.” (American Forests, 2016)
● Trees are a strong force against climate change and pollution.
● Vertical gardens, and more plant life in general, will encourage other students on our
diverse campus to become more aware/involved in green movements.
● Allowing students to use the bike-powered irrigation pump will help them to get
● Our project will inform students on sustainability issues and solution.
● Our efforts will set an example for all the colleges within the City University of New
York, along with other schools and visitors to the college and community members.
￼￼NATIVE PLANTS TO BE — USED:
• Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
• Swamp Milkweed (Asclepiasincarnata)
• Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)
• Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
• Interrupted fern (Osmunda claytonia)
• Spike gayfeather (Liatris spicata)
• Blue flag (Iris versicolor)
• Prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa)
• Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)
• Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)
• Crabapple (Malus)
• Hawthorn (Crataegus)
• Schubert Cherry (Prunus virginiana) • Purpleleaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera)
￼(New York Floral Association, 2011; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2012)
BIKE-POWERED IRRIGATION PUMP:
American Forests. (2016). Forest Facts. Retrieved from http://www.americanforests.org/explore-forests/forest-facts/
The City of New York. (2016). Stormwater. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/stormwater/index.shtml
DeBolt, E. (2011). Native Plants for Rain Gardens. New York Floral Association. Retrieved from http://www.nyflora.org/files/8913/6672/0378/2011_-
DePalma, A. (2007). When It Rains, Sewage Often Pours Into Harbor. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Figure 0 (Cover Page). Image of the Jay Walk, John Jay’s main green space. Retrieved
from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53acd622e4b0af2922e1fd96/t/5457f8b0e4b 041d4566c0e6c/1415051441258/?format=750w
Figure 1. Image of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Haaren Hall (Tenth Avenue). Retrieved from http://collegeinnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/john-jay.jpg Figure 8. An image we can use as a model for a pergola over the Jay Walk seating area.
Retreived from https://s-media-cache-
ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f7/31/4d/f7314dacae6df98776f3fe2d467cf543.jpg Figure 9. A diagram that we will use as a model for our bike-powered irrigation pump. Retrieved from https://uploads0.jovo.to/idea_attachments/580136/green-peace-
GreenBridge Staff. (2012). Native Plants for New York City Rain Gardens. Brooklyn
Botanic Garden. Retrieved from http://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/native_plants_for_new_york_city_rain_gar dens
MillionTrees NYC. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/home/home.shtml
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. (2016). Urban Stormwater Runoff. Retrieved from http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/69422.html
Extended to March 3, 2017
©Nick Brandt, Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, Amboseli, 2011
Courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York and Zurich
John Jay College – President’s Gallery
Haaren Hall, 899 Tenth Ave, 6 floor
Curated by Mary Ting
ENDANGERED! The exhibition and its related programming is an emergency call to save the imperiled creatures whose future existence depends on our actions today. The endangered species crisis is growing at an alarming rate due to wildlife trafficking; habitat loss, degradation and conflicts due to human encroachment, agriculture and fossil fuel industry, and further exacerbated by climate change. Wildlife trafficking with its direct ties to criminal syndicates and weapons threatens the rule of law, social stability and global security. Biodiversity is critical for healthy ecosystems. Species extinction of large or small animals has long lasting and far reaching negative impacts on this fragile balance of interwoven relationships. This is not just about the animals, this includes, us.
©Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark, A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) at the Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, South Carolina.
With the incoming administration’s immediate threats to the Environmental Protection Agency, The Endangered Species Act, the Paris Accord, the integrity of our national parks, our public lands, and air and water protections – we are pushed to a five-alarm siren to defend our wildlife, our wild places. What we do now will determine the future generations.
© Sue Coe, Moby Dick, woodcut,
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie St. Etienne
ENDANGERED! includes photography, prints and mixed media by a group of acclaimed international artists. From Nick Brandt’s heartbreaking Across the Ravaged Lands series, to the expressionistic protest prints of Sue Coe, the exhaustive Photo Ark by Joel Sartore, the last photographs of Cecil, the famed lion, by his researcher and photographer, Brent Stapelkampf, to the disturbing Ivory Buddhist deity images and PTSD baby animal sculpture by Mary Ting, these artists are emphatic about the importance and urgency of these issues.
©Brent Stapelkampf, Cecil and his lioness,
Courtesy of the artist and Anastasia Photo Gallery
Not satisfied with just making powerful images, this group of artists is also actively working in the field to save species, solve issues on the local community level, publish books and raise awareness among consumers and the general public worldwide. Nick Brandt co-founded Big Life Foundation to support anti-poaching initiatives and has four books, Inherit the Dust and the On this Earth Trilogy. Activist, journalist, artist Sue Coe has produced many books on animal issues and has a line of prints to benefit various organizations. Joel Sartore founded The Photo Ark, a 25-year documentary project with the National Geographic to photograph every species in captivity. Brent Stapelkamp, formerly of the Hwange Lion Research Project, now has an organization, Soft Alliance with his wife, Laurie Simpson working with local communities in Zimbabwe. For artist, educator and curator Mary Ting, ENDANGERED! is one of many environmental awareness efforts and an extension of her COMPASSION project on Chinese consumers and endangered species products.
©Mary Ting, Ivory Guanyin of No Mercy
ENDANGERED! has been extended to March 3, 2017. In conjunction with the final closing week, there will be an advocacy event, DEFENDING OUR WILDLIFE, OUR WILD PLACES on Tuesday, February 28 during community hour from 1:40-3pm in the Shiva Gallery, 860 Eleventh Avenue with Maggie Caldwell from Earthjustice presenting On Wolves and Accessing Justice and
Jenny Bock from Friends of the Earth on Palm Oil Impacts on Wildlife, Humans & Climate.
Gallery Hours: 9- 5 PM, M – F, or by appointment
The exhibition ENDANGERED! and its public programs are co-sponsored by the John Jay College President’s Gallery, the Art and Music Dept and the Sustainability and Environmental Justice program.
by Alexnder Schlutz
Right by the barricades on the north-east corner of 5th avenue and 57th street, where the unending throng of protesters united in the NYC Women’s march was dispersed by the NYPD, just a few tantalizing blocks short of the home-stretch to Trump tower, a group of crazed, caged chimeras was forced to sell Louis Vuitton merchandise on January 21st 2017. Fantasies of a sickened imagination, they stared silently into the void, suspended somewhere between cruelty, thoughtlessness, and the gaze of a culture gone off the rails. They didn’t need to hold any signs.
Fortunately, the 42nd street lions were ready to help.
Four Environmental Justice Radio Shows Created by Students
Teach in – Our Climate Now
February 9, 2017, 1:40-3:00 pm
Haaren Hall, Room 630
EVIDENCE AND IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, Dr. Pushker Kharecha, Columbia Earth Institute and NASA GISS
LEGAL OPTIONS FOR FIGHTING BACK, Kimberly Ong Esq., National Resource Defense Council
LOCAL CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENTAL, RACIAL, GENDER AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE Ana Orozco, UPROSE
4th annual EcoCinema Cafe, a 3-day Marathon of Films & Discussions
April 24-26, 2017, Morning till Night
New Building Student Dining Hall