Climate activists celebrate and call for action

Jun 21, 2019

Several dozen students and activists gathered outside City Hall in Buffalo Friday afternoon to celebrate New York State's passage of the country’s most ambitious climate legislation. They also called for even greater action to combat climate change.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, passed both houses of the New York State Legislature this week and now awaits a signature from Governor Andrew Cuomo. The proposed law includes targets to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Climate activists gathered at Niagara Square on Friday.
Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

But some activists say there’s still work to be done. Geovaira Hernandez is a climate justice organizer at PUSH Buffalo.

"This victory is not the victory that we fought for, but it is for sure still a huge win because it puts New York as the lead state in the whole nation in terms of climate action, and doing something about it and providing justice, if only some part of that justice that was originally intended," Hernandez said.

Geovaira Hernandez is a climate justice organizer at PUSH Buffalo.
Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Hernandez said there needs to be more justice measures written into law for frontline communities and communities of color, who often bear the worst impacts of climate change. Other speakers at Friday’s rally echoed her sentiment that the work must continue.

Will Seip and Wendy Lau are Cornell University students.
Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Will Seip and Wendy Lau, both Cornell University students, closed their remarks with famous words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."