Climate Activists Use Art to Tell State Leaders to Pass the Climate & Community Investment Act, Make Polluters Pay

by | Jun 8, 2021 | Press Releases, Western New York

Williamsville, NY – Community members are calling on State Senator Tim Kennedy, State Senator Sean Ryan, State Assemblymember Karen McMahon, State Assemblymember Monica Wallace, and State Assemblymember William Conrad to join Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera and Assemblymember Pat Burke in cosponsoring Climate Community Investment Act (CCIA) days before the state legislative session ends.

Citizen Action of New York’s Western New York chapter held an CCIA art competition and day of action on Monday, June 7. Citizen Action is one of more than 280 member organizations that are fighting to pass the CCIA as part of the NY Renews coalition. NY Renews succeeded in pushing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which sets nation-leading standards on green energy goals, into law in 2019. The CCIA would help fund those ambitious goals.

The CCIA would establish a corporate polluters fee and raise up to $15 billion to be reinvested into creating sustainable energy infrastructure and high-paying green jobs. The bill also prioritizes the hiring of women, Black, Indigenous and other people of color, formerly incarcerated people, and unemployed people for those green jobs, and will provide fossil fuel industry workers protection with transitional funding and employment opportunities.

“We don’t have time to wait. The governor has put out goals for good green jobs; we (NY Renews) have the plan to make that a reality. We need jobs, not jails in our communities. We need actual investment and prioritization of our frontline communities. From Buffalo to The Bronx, let’s protect the communities across the state that will continue to suffer gravely if we don’t take bold, climate action now. To our elected officials — what do you want to be remembered for? What will be your legacy?,” said Geovaira Hernandez, Lead Coalition Organizer with NY Renews.

 “For those of us who don’t speak the same language, art gives us the ability to speak about climate injustice and needed changes in a mutual medium all of us can understand without words! Music, dance, and the visual arts in particular can powerfully express how much we need the Climate and Community Investment Act in order to move us from a dirty, extractive, unsustainable economic model to a green, regenerative, sustainable economy,” said Luz Velez, Citizen Action of New York member and volunteer. 

“Right now, the financial burden for making environmentally friendly choices falls unfairly on everyday people, who often can barely afford healthcare and groceries, let alone a hybrid car or solar panels, while the big corporations who make huge profits while poisoning public air and water, and ultimately our lungs and our brains, face no penalties. The CCIA will flip this around. The CCIA will put the financial burden of climate justice where it rightfully belongs: on corporate polluters. By charging corporations fees according to how much pollution they produce, the CCIA will raise $15 billion per year and will use this money to build green energy infrastructure, to improve public transportation, to improve buildings’ energy efficiency, to invest in frontline communities most harmed by pollution, and to create over 150,000 well-paid green energy jobs. Moreover, the CCIA will protect fossil fuel industry workers with transitional funding, will protect everyday households from energy price hikes with a rebate system, and will encourage the hiring of women, as well as other marginalized groups, for those well-paid green jobs. The CCIA is not a radical bill; it’s elegantly logical and fair, and it’s how laws should’ve been written all along,” said Minnie Kim, Citizen Action of New York member and volunteer. 

Those participating in the art competition had until 11:59 pm of Monday, June 7, 2021 to upload a photo of their pro-CCIA art piece or sign on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, along with a message to their own State Senator and State Assembly Representative and with four specific hashtags, which can be found here. The art pieces will be judged based on the clarity of their message about the CCIA, colorfulness, aesthetic balance, coherence, and emotional power.  The winners will receive Visa gift cards in the amounts of $100, $50, or $25.