By: Sanan Ansar, field representative for Our Climate and the NY Renews Coalition
New innovations in the technology sector are driving America’s heavy industry and residential areas into a new era of clean energy.
However, this necessary progression into a sustainable and “green” future is being hindered by loose regulations of energy and production sectors, leading to high levels of GHG emissions despite these technological advancements.
Protective and equitable science-based policies are required for clean technology companies to survive while being faced with constant competition in our capitalist-driven commercial sector.
Their survival is quintessential in allowing for the “greening” of older residential buildings that need access to these new eco-friendly technologies. However, these technologies can only be considered eco-friendly if they are created using clean energy production which has the potential to drastically improve NYC’s stagnating air quality that impacts low-income minority populations the most.
In terms of government regulation by sector, there are very few federal standards for the energy industry.
This includes a lack of carbon valuing standards and rules about how the industry impacts communities unequally. There is more regulation directed towards sectors such as tourism or food service than the sector which determines the future of our planet and the health of our people.
There needs to be a fee or tax in place to penalize companies who emit extensive amounts of carbon into our atmosphere, which accelerates the drastic impacts of climate change and environmental racism directed towards Black and Brown communities.
We require policies such as the New York State Climate and Community Investment Act which will force polluters to pay a fee for their GHG emissions. one-third of the funds raised will then be reinvested into disadvantaged communities.
We must continue to advocate for this change because youth will inherit a world of not only climate change but also gross racial, economic, and environmental inequality.
More specifically, air quality is much worse in majority-POC (persons of color) neighborhoods because the government allows companies to construct harmful pollution-causing plants in certain areas that have less power to advocate for their protection.
Communities including East Harlem, Long Wood, and Hunts Point which are all predominantly non-white colored and have significantly higher rates of asthma amongst children as compared to less diverse communities in NYC.
Research shows this pollution will decrease the lifespan of thousands of Americans. Essentially, greed for economic gain is taking away life from the residents of these areas.
Together we must reform these archaic systems through policies such as the CCIA in order to establish equity, justice, and sustainability.
Sanan Ansar is a student at John Dewey High School and a field representative for Our Climate and the NY Renews Coalition. Ansar’s interests include climate and health-based advocacy emphasizing community involvement. Ansar is passionate about creating change within preexisting systems to create a better, more equitable, and sustainable future.
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