New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York County Politics Environment Advocates Rally Behind Kallos by Michael Rock

Environment Advocates Rally Behind Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos at the ribbon cutting for East River Esplanade completion in 2019 (Photo credit: Jeff Reed/City Council)

Several prominent environmental advocates and activists endorsed Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) in his bid to succeed Gale Brewer (D) as Manhattan Borough President.

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

Kallos’ colleague City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chair Costa Constantinides (D-Queens) was among those to endorse him in the race, citing Kallos’ track record.

“The New York City Council passed Climate Works for All to limit pollution by dirty buildings thanks to unwavering support for our planet from Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Ben Kallos,” said Constantinides. “When the real estate industry put profits over people by fighting strong limits on dirty buildings,  Ben Kallos not only stood up for our planet but refused their dirty money.”

“We authored a resolution declaring a climate emergency here  in New York City and became the biggest city in the world to do so. I am endorsing Ben Kallos  as the next Manhattan Borough President to continue our fight against climate change.” 

Barbara Pyle, who co-created “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”, a popular children’s superhero cartoon from the early nineties that promoted environmental education, also joined in.

“Ben Kallos is a leader, a true advocate, and a fighter not only for the environment and  sustainability but also for social justice. I’m very proud to know Ben and it is my honor to  endorse him for Manhattan Borough President,” said Pyle.

“When we created Captain Planet and the Planeteers 30 years ago, our mission was to inspire and empower a new generation of environmentally literate leaders. Ben is exactly the kind of person our program hoped to inspire: Planeteers that would go on to be in politics and in positions of power where they can make a difference for the betterment of the planet. Seeing the work Ben has done and what he represents in New York City is a dream come true for me. I am impressed with his commitment and I could not imagine a better Borough President. New York City is lucky to have him. He gives me hope for the future and is an ideal role model for today’s young people to not only walk to the ballot box, but to run, run for office,  that is.”  

Chuck Nice, a comedian and media personality who is passionate about environmental justice, put his sense of humor aside to highlight the importance of solving climate change.

“Climate change is no joking matter and I’m a comedian,” he said. “We can’t keep ignoring the world around us, our forest burning, and the rising sea level. The party might keep going, but you better know how to swim.”

Christina See of Extinction Rebellion added her cooperation with Kallos in making New York a greener city, including banning single-use plastic bottles in city parks in favor of reusable ones.

Kallos welcomed the endorsements. “As a species on this amazing planet, all we have is the environment. We must do everything in our power to protect it from powers who don’t see it that way. I am honored and humbled to have the support of these fellow environmental activists,” said Kallos.

“As Manhattan Borough President, I will fight to make Manhattan’s carbon footprint smaller and focus on protecting coastal communities around the island.  When I worked to get New York City to declare a ‘Climate Emergency,’ a part of me did it knowing it was what a good Planeteer would do. Barbara Pyle’s work has helped shape me into the climate advocate I am today and I am thankful for that. In the City Council, it has been great partnering with Environmental Committee Chair Constantinides over the years. Together with the historic passage of the Climate Mobilization Act, we have taken on New York City’s largest polluters and seen victories pushing our City to become greener.” 

Despite this support, the Sunrise Movement has yet to endorse a candidate in the race.

“No one in the Manhattan Borough President race submitted an application before our deadline, but we expect that they will all prioritize climate justice. Young people hunger for leaders who will stand up to corporate greed, build and preserve low-income housing, unsnarl the streets, and decarbonize the borough,” said Sunrise organizer Harry Manin. 

“Sunrise NYC anticipates a candidate for Borough President will emerge who will wield the office’s budget to creatively weave Green New Deal measures into capital projects. By adapting Council Member Costa Constantinides’ plan in his inspiring bid for Queens Borough President, the next Manhattan BP has the chance to combat housing insecurity, invest in children, create good union jobs, and lead a transformative carbon drawdown.”

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