Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Spreads Awareness of Impacts of Climate Change on People with Disabilities

Along with agency partners, elected officials, disability advocates and allies, MOPD marched and rolled to call attention to impacts of climate change on the disability community.

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2019

New York—The New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, NYC Emergency Management, disability advocates, elected officials, and allies today walked and rolled alongside Canada To Key West supporters from the High Line to the Oculus at the World Trade Center in order to highlight the effects of climate change on people with disabilities. 

As a result of climate change, extreme weather events including hurricanes, severe rainstorms, and heat waves are becoming more frequent and more severe. It is critical that emergency preparedness efforts account for the needs of everyone, including the estimated one billion people around the world who live with self-disclosed disabilities. The de Blasio Administration has taken steps in expanding this preparedness by enhancing our Advance Warning System messaging, making accessibility enhancements on our Hurricane Zone Map and continually expanding Ready New York for Disability Access & Functional Needs populations.

At the same time, the de Blasio Administration has taken bold action to address the causes of climate change with NYC’s Green New Deal, including ending the City’s reliance on single-use plastic foodware in an inclusive way, investing in renewable energy sources, and more. In April 2019, the de Blasio Administration and the City Council passed the landmark Climate Mobilization Act, which will dramatically reduce emissions from existing buildings and requires all new buildings to install solar panels, green roofs, or a combination of the two.

“As society continues to respond to the weather events and other emergencies caused by climate change, we must include the needs of people with disabilities,” said MOPD Commissioner Victor Calise. “New York City has led the way by working with the disability community to ensure that our emergency preparedness and sustainability efforts have put accessibility at the forefront. MOPD is proud to march and roll to raise awareness about climate change’s impact on the disability community and we look forward to continuing to work with our agency partners, elected officials, and advocates to further increase accessibility of all City initiatives.” 

“We are now in peak hurricane season, and it is important that every New Yorker makes a plan that includes his or her unique needs,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell. “It is critical that all planning includes the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities. If you are not sure where to start, check out the Ready New York: My Emergency Plan to make sure you’re prepared for hurricanes and other extreme weather.”

“Here in New York City, we recognize our climate crisis for what it is - an emergency - and also that what matters most is not words, but inclusive actions,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC's Chief Climate Policy Advisor and OneNYC Director. “With OneNYC 2050, we are demonstrating to the world what a Green New Deal looks like in practice. Not only are we taking on the fossil fuel industry and getting our emissions to net zero, but we are serving as a model for progressive change that is both impactful and equitable for all New Yorkers.”

“Extreme weather events can pose unique challenges to people with disabilities,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. “Equity is at the heart of our climate change adaptation strategy, and we are committed to meeting the needs of all New Yorkers as we build a stronger and more resilient future.”

The City is proud to partner with Canada To Key West and its founders, Drs. Marcalee and Craig Alexander, to raise awareness of climate change and its specific impacts on the disability community. Along the 2,500-mile journey that began on June 21st, the Drs. have continually engaged with people with disabilities and academic partners about the need for more effective mechanisms and planning in emergencies that include the disability community. 

"Climate change is already adversely impacting the quality of lives with persons with disabilities. As a physician, my goal is to help people maximize wellness and quality of life. This is such an important message, I left my full time practice to raise awareness about climate change and disability,” said Dr. Marcalee Alexander, founder of Canada to Key West. “A goal of Canada to Key West is to launch Day for Tomorrow 9/22/19, as a parallel to Earth Day to call even further attention to the impact of climate change on people with disabilities. Canada to Key West is grateful to the City of New York for its partnership in amplifying this important message to ensure that all emergency preparedness and efforts to combat climate change includes the needs of the disability community.”

Contact: Jonathan Novick, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities;

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