Green Healthy Schools
New York City public schools were among the institutions hit hardest by COVID, especially for our frontline Black and brown students and their families. These are the same communities that are ingesting toxic air and water, suffering from heat waves, and vulnerable to the next big storm. We owe it to New York’s more than 1.1 million students, teachers, staff, and their communities to provide clean air in schools and create more resilient communities that will withstand the next pandemic, or catastrophic climate event.
That is why ALIGN’s Climate Works for all Coalition is urging the City for a strong implementation on solar and HVACs for green, healthy schools. We released a report, Creating Green, Healthy Schools: An Equitable Action Plan for the Next Mayor of New York City, which lays out a plan for our City to build a sustainable future for our children and our communities. This work continues the previously won commitments for strong labor standards as New York City installs solar panels on public buildings, as well as a process for prioritizing installation in neighborhoods most impacted by climate change. There are a total of 88 sites to have new solar panels installed, using union labor. Our support for the Project Labor Agreements underlined in the City’s Community Hiring economic justice plan will ensure that climate infrastructure will be built through career unions jobs and by the New Yorkers most impacted by Covid and climate change.
Reducing City’s contribution to GHG emissions, while improving indoor and outdoor air quality for frontline communities will have consequential positive health outcomes and save lives. Installing solar and air control systems like HVAC in public schools will allow NYC to foster more resilient neighborhoods and ensure the benefits of renewable energy reach low-income New Yorkers of color who are most impacted by COVID and the climate crisis. By installing HVAC systems and siting solar on public schools, the City can create good green jobs, fight climate change, and ensure an equitable recovery for all.