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  • NYC climate activists say the city isn’t doing enough to fight for green schools

    Feb 13, 2024

    People walk through the blowing snow in Manhattan as a large winter storm makes its way across the area on Feb. 13 in New York City
    Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

    Prism – As students at New York City schools increasingly experience the impact of environmental injustice, climate activists are urging Mayor Eric Adams to electrify, ventilate, and retrofit hundreds of public school buildings in the city by 2030.

    Schools in New York City have long lacked resilience to environmental challenges, particularly in communities of color. Because Black, brown, and low-income children are disproportionately exposed to air pollution, they also suffer from higher levels of asthma. Poor air filtration regularly leads to students missing school, and asthma is one of the major drivers of chronic absenteeism in NYC public schools.

    More than 150 New York City schools flooded in September. Some teachers said they were forced to wade in dirty, brackish water to enter their building, and one school in Brooklyn was forced to evacuate. About 28% of New York City public school buildings are at risk of extreme stormwater flooding, with the majority located in Brooklyn and Queens.

    “At a time when we have a youth mental health crisis, record-high student homelessness, systemic violations of the rights of students with disabilities, and an increase in newly arrived immigrant students enrolling in our schools, we cannot afford to roll back these important programs, especially those serving the students who need the most support,” said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, in a statement.