New BC Club TREEage Hosts Welcome Event 

TREEage Members at First BC Club Meeting /Brooklyn Darling

By Tejaswi Kunamneni

 

   Brooklyn College’s new TREEage club conducted its first meeting in the Sustainability Club room on Tuesday, March 19. The event was held in collaboration with the Sustainability Club and the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) to discuss how BC students can get involved in the fight against climate injustice. 

   TREEage is a grassroots, student-led climate advocacy organization focused on building a community of youth that works towards achieving environmental policy change, according to their mission statement. The club’s mission is to educate NYC high school and college students on the current climate crisis and envision a more equitable future. Attendees already involved with advocacy on campus hoped to join the fight to protect the environment by joining TREEage.

   “I came to the meeting because I’m an intern with NYPIRG who is co-sponsoring this event, and I wanted to learn more about what they do for the environment because we got to protect that environment,” Jake Mooney, a media studies major and NYPIRG intern at BC, told The Vanguard. 

   The BC chapter aims to support various transformative environmental action policies. Introduced to the attendees was project “100,000 Climate Jobs” by Climate Works for All, a subdivision of the advocacy group Align NY. Their goal is to create climate jobs for communities of color, according to their project outline

   Another project was the “Green New Deal for New York City”–an agenda spearheaded by Council Member Tiffany Cabán and a coalition of climate organizations to create green union jobs and other sustainable action plans. “Local Law 97,” “Climate Jobs and Justice Package,” and “Green Healthy Schools” are three major campaigns that the TREEage community is actively fighting for in order to shape New York’s future. 

   TREEage members will also be trained and empowered to lead various campaigns as the next generation of climate activists. Additionally, progressive leaders who refuse donations from fossil fuel, real estate, and charter schools are endorsed by TREEage. 12 out of the 16 endorsed candidates have been elected in the past three years. 

    “I always think it’s great when young people get involved with environmental and climate justice issues, and TREEage is a student-led movement that even reaches into NYC high schools and middle schools and grammar schools,” BC philosophy adjunct professor Kobie Colemon, who is also the project lead for the NYC Climate Justice Hub operating out of the CUNY Graduate Center, told The Vanguard. “TREEage are political and seeking legal change, which folks that work on climate change maybe don’t spend enough time doing so I’m glad to see that.”

   Green Healthy Schools is the lead initiative for the BC TREEage chapter. New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged $4 billion to fully electrify 100 school buildings by 2030, but only $400 million has been invested thus far, according to The Gothamist. The club’s directors explained the long-term goals for 2030–to electrify and upgrade 500 public school buildings–and for 2040–make NYC a zero emissions school district–to members and the organizational escalation arc, starting with school teach-ins and leading up to rallies and large mass actions. 

   “TREEage is focused on climate justice and we collaborate a lot with NYPIRG and other sustainability or city activist groups in the city. We normally work a lot with K-12 but it is expanding into college chapters, and more attended today than expected so it was a great meeting,” said Josh Narisma, club connector of the TREEage club and senior at BC. 

   Leaders of the club expressed that establishing the organization at BC will help create more advocacy power to fight climate injustice, and will be hosting more events with the collaboration of candidates to help facilitate doing so.

   “The mission of TREEage is to empower Brooklyn College students to become climate organizers, so we’re planning to have the candidates that we’ve endorsed come speak at BC,” Idrees Ilahi, president and lead organizer for TREEage, told The Vanguard. 

   Included in their upcoming events is a “Host Talk” with Shahana Hanif, a New York City Councilwoman representing District 39 and a BC alumni, on April 18, and a picnic on the East Quad in the upcoming month. 

  

 

   Students interested in learning more about TREEage can follow their Instagram page @bc_treeage_club

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