June 1, 2017
Today, the first day of hurricane season here in New York, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. Let’s not forget what climate change did to our city nearly five years ago: Superstorm Sandy ravaged communities, destroyed homes, and took lives.
Our parks and opens spaces are quite literally the first line of defense against extreme weather events. Resilient beaches and waterfronts protect us from flooding and storm surges; parks and green spaces provide clean air and relief from sweltering heat; and healthy street tree systems temper the urban heat island effect, absorb storm water run-off, and clear the air of carbon.
But all of this will be lost if we don’t take decisive action to curb the effects of climate change.
New Yorkers are as resilient as the city we call home and we will not back down. Today New Yorkers for Parks is reaffirming our commitment to creating a healthy and sustainable city through the principles laid out in our Public Realm Bill of Rights for New York City, and we’re asking you to join us.
The Bill of Rights includes the right to a healthy environment and a resilient city, where all New Yorkers can lead safe and healthy lives. When we start with a shared understanding of what our public realm rights should be, we can commit to the actions - small and large - that we'll take together. If you agree, add your name and show that you support a public realm that protects and sustains all New Yorkers.
The day after Superstorm Sandy, my heart was broken. At Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island, where I was President at the time, the damage to the park and many nearby neighborhoods was indescribable. But over the following days and months, as I saw New Yorkers come together to help each other and repair their city, I was filled with immense hope and pride that I continue to feel to this day.
Thank you for your support, and for everything you do for us and future generations of New Yorkers. Add your name to the Public Realm Bill of Rights today, and join us in committing to a safe and healthy city!
Lynn B. Kelly
Executive Director, New Yorkers for Parks