Beginning on September 18th, Brooklyn residents can avail themselves of constructive tools to help battle climate change by deepening their knowledge of the critical and complex issues. Climate Wednesdays: Solutions for a Cooler Brooklyn will gather community members at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library monthly to explore and discuss the challenges of our global climate crisis and some local solutions. Among the features of the series will be discussions with experts on the energy, economic, policy, agricultural, social and psychological dimensions of this crisis, which threatens the future of our planet and our progeny.

    The series is organized by 350Brooklyn, a local affiliate of 350.org, an international climate change organization working to end the use of fossil fuels and support a just transition to a sustainable world. Partnering with the Brooklyn Public Library for this series, 350Brooklyn aims to engage more citizens in a head-on effort to confront the worldwide climate crisis. Nine sessions from 7-8:30pm will comprise the in-depth series —with a one-month break in January 2020 — and all will take place in the library’s Info Commons Lab at the Central Branch of the BPL at 10 Grand Army Plaza.

     The panel discussion launching the series on 9/18 is “The Big Green Picture: Local Strategies for A Livable Planet.” It posits the climate crisis as one of the most serious challenges we’ve faced as New Yorkers. And panelists will point out that although the city and state are setting a national example with new laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry, cars and even buildings, the fossil fuel industry is steadily rolling out new pipelines. Also, as we know, some communities bear a much heavier pollution burden than others. 

     Those gathered will discuss the way forward with the launch month’s panelists: Yessenia Funes is an environmental journalist who focuses on issues surrounding race and justice; Dr. Lisa DiCaprio, a professor of Social Sciences at NYU, teaches courses on sustainability; Kim Fraczek is the director of the Sane Energy Project and works with grassroots organizations statewide using art, music, film and food to organize people around the issues. The panel will be moderated by Sara Stidstone Gronim, one of 350Brooklyn’s co-leaders who recently retired from her work as an historian of people’s relationships with the natural world. 

     350Brooklyn announces the themes for sessions through the end of the year.

     On October 16th, the topic of discussion will be “Climate Smart Energy: Heating, Cooling and Turning the Lights On.” The description: 

     “Whether for heating, cooking or generating electricity, the so-called ‘natural gas’ New Yorkers use is essentially methane, a fossil fuel and an extremely potent greenhouse gas. On top of that, it’s produced by fracking—a process banned in our own state for health reasons. It’s time for a transition to renewable electricity sources and the adoption of heat pumps and other modern, clean and efficient technologies for heating and cooling. What state and city policies can accelerate this switch on a large scale, and what benefits could we see?”


     The topic on November 20th is “Parenting in the Age of Climate Change:”

     “How do we talk to our children about climate change? How do we incorporate climate activism into the busy routine of parenting? How can we process our emotions in order to effectively respond to this threat? This discussion will bring together leaders in the climate movement who are tackling these sorts of questions for an important and engaging discussion. The evening will also provide concrete ideas and resources that parents can use immediately to help build a greener future.” 

     The year’s panels end on December 11th with “Green New Meal: The Food-Climate Connection.”

     “How does our current food system affect the climate and how does climate change affect the quality and availability of food? What methods and policies can protect both the climate and the food supply? And who’s farming in Brooklyn?”

     Information on the panelists who will present from October through December is on the organization’s website at 350brooklyn.org.