Metrofocus: July 19, 2022

This week we begin a new series “Supreme Impact”, where we will be looking at a selection of the recent Supreme Court rulings and their impact on the Tri-State region.  Tonight, we discuss the court striking down a long-standing New York state gun law that placed restrictions to carry a concealed handgun outside the home.  The decision is the most significant Second Amendment ruling in over ten years, and it effectively makes it easier for people to carry concealed weapons in public.  In response, lawmakers in New York and New Jersey immediately passed a patchwork of new gun laws, but it is not clear what effect those will have on the situation.  Joining us now to analyze the court ruling and of the new state laws passed to counteract it, is gun control expert Robert Spitzer, who is a distinguished service professor of political science emeritus at SUNY Cortland and the author of multiple books on gun policy, including “The Politics of Gun Control.”

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the nation, claiming the lives of about 350 New Yorkers every year with Black city residents twice as likely to lose their lives as white New Yorkers. Tonight, we’ll examine the climate solutions that can help save lives as the Tri-State braces for an especially hot summer,  and also what’s predicted to be an above average hurricane season.  Our go-to expert on the planet, Bill Ulfelder of The Nature Conservancy, is back with the steps we can all take to protect New Yorkers amid our changing climate.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, SUPREME IMPACT.

THE NATION'S HIGHEST COURT MAKES IT EASIER TO CARRY A GUN IN PUBLIC, AND NEW YORK FIRES BACK WITH NEW LEGISLATION.

WE BREAK DOWN THE FALLOUT.

> AND BATTLING THIS SUMMER'S SILENT CLIMATE CRISIS.

WHY HEAT IS THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER RELATED KILLER.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

WHAT WILL LIKELY BE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE SUPREME COURT LANDMARK GUN RULING ON OUR REGION?

STRIKING DOWN A CENTURY OLD NEW YORK GUN LAW LAST MONTH, THE COURT EFFECTIVELY MADE IT EASIER FOR MANY MORE PEOPLE TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS IN PUBLIC.

NO RESPONSE, LAWMAKERS IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY PASSED NEW GUN LAWS, BUT WILL THEY BE EFFECTIVE, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE RISE IN GUN VIOLENCE WE'VE EXPERIENCED OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS?

JOINING US NOW TO ANALYZE THE POTENTIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF THE COURT'S RULING AND THE STATE LAWS PASSED TO COUNTERACT IT IS ROBERT SPITZER, A DISTINGUISHED SCIENCE PROFESSOR AND THE AUTHOR OF A NUMBER OF BOOKS ON GUN POLICY, INCLUDING 'THE POLITIC OF GUN CONTROL'. HE JOINS US NOW AS PART OF OUR SPECIAL SERIES, SUPREME IMPACT, WHERE WE'LL BE LOOKING AT THE RECENT SUPREME COURT RULINGS AND THE IMPACT ON THE TRISTATE REGION.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

BOB, FIRST OF ALL, WHAT EXACTLY DID THE SUPREME COURT'S JUNE 23rd LANDMARK GUN RULING DO?

WHAT DID IT STRIKE DOWN, AND WHAT EXACTLY DID IT NOW MAKE POSSIBLE?

WELL, THE RULING IS IMPORTANT FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.

THE FIRST IS THAT IT DID STRIKE DOWN THE QUALIFIER IN THE NEW YORK STATE LAW, THE PROPER CAUSE PROVISION OF THE STATE CONCEAL CARRY PISTOL PERMITTING PROCESS, BECAUSE IT WAS CONSIDERED TOO DISCRETIONARY, TOO VAGUE, AND WAS ADMINISTER IN THE DIFFERENT WAYS IN DIFFERENT COUNTIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

BUT THEY DIDN'T LEAVE THINGS JUST AT THAT.

MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, THE COURT HAS EXPANDED THE DEFINITION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

IN 2008, THE SUPREME COURT RULED IN THE HELLER CASE THAT THERE WAS NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHT TO HAVE A HANDGUN OR PERSONAL SELF-DEFENSE IN THE HOME, AND THAT'S WHERE THINGS HAVE STOOD SINCE 2008 UNTIL THIS DECISION IN JUNE WHEN THE COURT EXTENDED THAT RIGHT TO THE STREETS, ESSENTIALLY, TO THE PUBLIC REALM, THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE A GUN WITH THEM FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE OUT IN SOCIETY, AND IT'S PRETTY VAGUE AS TO EXACTLY WHERE, HOW, AND WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE SOME STANDARDS THAT IT SET.

IN ADDITION, THE OTHER MAJOR THING THE COURT DID WAS IT TRASHED OR SET ASIDE THE EVALUAIVE STANDARD TO JUDGE WHETHER IT WAS CONSTITUTIONAL OR NOT, AND INSTEAD IN THE DECISION, JUSTICE THOMAS WROTE THE DECISION SPEAKING FOR SIX OF THE NINE MEMBERS OF THE COURT, SAID THAT YOU HAVE TO GO BY HISTORY.

UNFORTUNATELY --

WE'LL GET TO THAT AT THE END, BECAUSE YOU'VE WRITTEN ABOUT THIS, BUT I WANT TO FOCUS ON WHAT IT DOES FOR NEW YORK.

AND AS YOU SAID, THE DECISION WAS SPECIFICALLY FOCUSED ON THIS 111-YEAR-OLD LAW IN NEW YORK, WHICH YOU CALLED -- HAD THE PROPER CAUSE CLAUSE, WHICH IN EFFECT REQUIRED PEOPLE TO DEMONSTRATE A SPECIFIC NEED TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS OUTSIDE OF THE HOME.

LIKE I SAID, IT SPECIFICALLY DEALT WITH A NEW YORK LAW, BUT THERE ARE FIVE OTHER STATES, INCLUDING NEW JERSEY, THAT HAVE SIMILAR LAWS.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE LAWS?

DO THEY AUTOMATICALLY BECOME UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

DO THEY HAVE TO BE CHALLENGED INDIVIDUALLY?

WHAT HAPPENS?

TO THE BEST OF MY UNDERSTANDING, AFTER READING AND STUDYING ABOUT THIS, THE OTHER STATES ARE MOVING AHEAD TO CHANGE THEIR LAWS.

NEW JERSEY HAS, CALIFORNIA, HAWAII, AND I'M ASSUMING OTHER STATES ON THE LIST ARE DOING THE SAME, BECAUSE IT'S CLEAR THEIR WORDING COMPARABLE TO THE NEW YORK LAW IS A PROBLEM, AND THE LAW -- THE EXISTING LAWS DON'T JUST DISAPPEAR ANYMORE THAN THEY DISAPPEAR IN NEW YORK.

THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REWRITE THE LAW TO CONFORM TO WHAT THE SUPREME COURT SAID.

THAT'S WHAT NEW YORK LAWMAKERS DID JUST RECENTLY.

SO, YEAH, THINGS ARE BEING REWRITTEN IN THE OTHER STATES, TOO, ALTHOUGH I'M SURE THERE WILL BE CHALLENGES ANY WAY.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE NEW NEW YORK LAWS, WHICH ARE SET TO TAKE EFFECT ON SEPTEMBER 1st.

WHAT DO THOSE LAWS CALL FOR?

ENTER HOW WILL THEY HELP UPSET THE SUPREME COURT'S RULING HERE?

WHICH IS BASICALLY THE INTENTION, TO UPSET THE IMPACT OF THE RULINGS.

THERE ARE THREE BIG AREAS WHERE THE NEW NEW YORK LAW IS KIND OF CHANGING OR JUGGLING THINGS.

ONE IS OF COURSE THEY REMOVED THE PROPER CAUSE CLAUSE, SO THAT'S OUT FROM THE NEW LAW, BUT THEY DID INCLUDE THE DEMONSTRATION OF GOOD AND MORAL CHARACTER, WHICH IN THE LAW WILL BE DEMONSTRATED BY CRITERIA TO THOSE SIMILAR USED IN THE OLD LAW, WHICH IS THEY CAN DO AN IN-PERSON INTERVIEW.

YOU STILL HAVE TO PROVIDE THE NAMES OF FOUR CHARACTER WITNESSES.

THOSE THINGS HELD WITH THE OLD LAW, TOO.

AND THAT YOU ALSO HAVE TO GIVE THE NAMES OF ADULTS LIVING WITH YOU IN YOUR HOME AND IF ANY MINORS ARE PRESENT IN THE HOME.

THAT'S IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

AND MOST CONTROVERSIALLY, TO PROVIDE A LIST OF SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.

AND THAT -- THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN CHALLENGED.

THERE ARE ALREADY TWO CHALLENGES I KNOW OF TO THE NEW NEW YORK LAW, EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN'T TAKE EFFECT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1.

THAT'S ONE CHANGE.

SECOND, IT HAS ESTABLISHED A DETAILED LI OF SENSITIVE PLACES WHERE YOU CANNOT CARRY GUNS TAXPAYER COURT SAID THAT'S OKAY, BUT THEY ALSO SAID, LOOK, YOU CANNOT DECIDE THAT THE ENTIRE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A SENSITIVE PLACE.

YOU HAVE TO DESIGNATE PLACES.

THAT'S WHAT THEY DID.

IT'S A LENGTHY LIST.

I KNOW, AND I HAVE THEM.

IF I COULD INTERRUPT.

LET ME JUST READ THEM.

NOT ALL OF THEM, BUT MOST OF THEM.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES, GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, PLACES WHERE PEOPLE GATHERED FOR PUBLIC PROTEST, HEALTH-CARE FACILITIES, PLACES OF WORSHIP, LIBRARIES, PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS AND PARKS, DAY CARE CENTERS, PUB LIB TRANSIT, BARS, THEATERS, STADIUMS AND AT LEAST A FEW MORE.

ONE COMMENTATOR PUT IT, IT'S ALMOST AS IF ALBANY IS SAYING, OKAY, NEW YORKERS CAN CARRY GUNS OUTSIDE THEIR HOMES IN THEORY, BUT NOT IN PRACTICE.

IS THERE A REAL CHANCE THAT THIS CAN SURVIVE A CHALLENGE TO THE COURTS AND THAT IT COULD ULTIMATELY -- AND MIGHT IT ULTIMATELY BE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL BY THE SUPREME COURT?

IT'S CERTAINLY POSSIBLE THE SUPREME COURT WILL KNOCK DOWN THIS LIST AND PARTS OF IT, HOWEVER, GIVEN THE HISTORICAL STANDARD THEY SET, I CAN TELL YOU FROM MY OWN RESEARCH OF HISTORICAL GUN LAWS, AND I HAVE BEEN STUDYING A DECADE, EVERY SINGLE NAMED ITEM ON THIS LIST HAS APPEAR IN THE OLD GUN LAWS FROM THE 1600s, 1700s, 1800s THAT BAN GUN CARRYING IN THESE VERY PLACES.

CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, LABORS, COURTHOUSES.

THE ONLY TWO ON THE LIST THAT I DID NOT FIND IN OLD LAWS WERE AIRPORTS, BECAUSE THERE WERE NO AIRPLANES BEFORE THE 20th CENTURY, AND EMERGENCY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS AND HOMELESS SHELTERS, BECAUSE THOSE DIDN'T EXIST BEFORE 1900 EITHER.

I WAS GOING TO GET TO THAT LATER BUT SINCE YOU TOUCHED ON IT A COUPLE TIMES LET ME GET TO IT RIGHT AWAY.

IN THE SUPREME COURT DECISION, JUSTICE THOMAS, AS YOU MADE REFERENCE TO, WROTE, QUOTE, ONLY IF A FIREARM REGULATION IS CONSISTENT WITH THE NATION'S HISTORIC MAY A COURT CONCLUDE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL APT CONDUCT FALLS OUTSIDE THE COMMAND.

NOW, SOME EXPERTS BELIEVE THIS NEW VERY HIGH BAR WILL MAKE IT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT FOR STATES TO PASS MEANINGFUL GUN REFORMS IN THE FUTURE AND THAT PERHAPS EVEN THE BIPARTISAN FEDERAL GUN LAW JUST PASSED MIGHT BE DEEMED UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BUT YOU DISAGREE BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU STARTED TO SAY.

TELL US WHY YOU DISAGREE WITH THOSE EXPERTS.

I WOULD SAY IT THIS WAY -- GUN OWNERSHIP IS AS OLD AS THE COUNTRY, GOING BACK TO THE 1600s, BUT SO ARE GUN LAWS.

AND IN OUR FIRST 300 YEARS OF HISTORY FROM THE EARLY 1600s TO THE START OF THE 20th CENTURY, IN MANY RESPECTS, GUNS MORE MORE HEAVILY REGULATED DURING THAT PERIOD THAN THE LAST 30 YEARS.

WE HAD THOUSANDS OF GUN LAW OF EVERY IMAGINABLE VARIETY IN THE COLONIES AND STATES AND LOCALITIES ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY.

EVEN INCLUDING IN THE SO-CALLED WILD WEST, WHERE NEW GUN LAW WERE ENACTED AS SOON AS PEOPLE BEGAN TO SETTLE AND CONGREGATE.

I MEAN, THAT'S THE REALITY, EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT WELL KNOWN, OF OUR GUN LAW PAST.

THE ONLY QUALIFIER IS IF YOU READ JUSTICE THOMAS' MAJORITY OPINION, HE DID BACK FLIPS, RHETORICALLY SPEAKING, TO TRY AND AVOID SOME FAIRLY OBVIOUS CONCLUSIONS ABOUT WHAT OLD HISTORICAL LAW IS SAYING BY SAYING THERE WERE ALSO GUN LAWS ABOUT A, 'B,' OR 'C,' BUT DON'T APPLY TO THE CASE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS, WHICH I DIDN'T FIND PERSUASIVE.

CAN THEY FIND A WAY TO OVERTURN A GUN LAW?

YEAH, BUT HISTORY SAYS YOU CAN REGULATE GUNS IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY YOU CAN THINK OF.

ALL RIGHT, SO LET ME GO BACK TO THE LAW IN NEW YORK NOW.

AND SPECIFICALLY ALL THAT LONG SERIES OF PLACES WHERE THE NEW LAW SAYS THAT YOU CAN'T CARRY A GUN, EVEN IF YOU'RE LICENSED.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE LIKE REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE LEE ZELDIN WHO ARGUE BY MARKING OUT ALL THESE PLACES AS GUN FREE ZONES, ALBANY IS JUST MAKE THEM MUCH MORE VULNERABLE TO VIOLENT CRIMINALS SINCE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO FOLLOW THE LAWS ARE LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS?

DO THESE CRITICS HAVE A POINT IN IT'S AN OLD ARGUMENT OVG.

IT IS AN OLD ARGUMENT, AND IT'S ONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE.

FOR EXAMPLE, THERE'S NO PARTICULAR EVIDENCE, NO SYSTEMIC EVIDENCE THAT SHOOTERS -- YOU KNOW, MASS SHOOTERS, FOR EXAMPLE, DELIBERATELY PICK LOCATIONS THAT ARE SOMEHOW DUBBED GUN-FREE ZONES TO GO AND SHOOT AT PEOPLE.

THAT JUST IS NOT A CALCULUS FOR WHY PEOPLE ENGAGE IN MASS SHOOTINGS.

BEYOND THAT, PEOPLE WHO USE A GUN TO COMMIT A CRIME ARE CRIMINALS, BUT THEY ONLY BECOME CRIMINALS AT THE POINT THEY VIOLATE THE LAW.

AND THE COUNTRY, THE WORLD DOESN'T DIVIDE UP NEATLY INTO GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS.

YOU'RE A GOOD PERSON UNTIL YOU BREAK THE LAW.

AND SO IT'S NOT USEFUL TO SAY THAT CRIMINALS WILL IGNORE THE LAW.

I MEAN, YOU MAY AS WELL SWEEP ASIDE ALL CRIMINAL LAWS IF YOUR ATTITUDE IS THAT GUN LAWS OR CRIMINAL LAW DON'T MATTER.

THEY DO MATTER.

THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THEM, AND WHEN THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW, WE USUALLY TRY TO FIX THOSE PROBLEMS.

THAT SHOULD BE THE APPROACH, I WOULD SAY.

REALLY QUICKLY -- WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT.

I MENTIONED THAT NEW JERSEY ALSO PASSED SOME NEW LAWS.

IN ABOUT 40 SECONDS, CAN YOU TELL ME, ARE THERE ANY LAWS IN NEW JERSEY THAT STAND OUT FOR YOU, NEW LAWS THAT YOU THINK ARE PRETTY INTERESTING?

THERE'S NOTHING IN PARTICULAR I WOULD IDENTIFY ABOUT THE NEW JERSEY, THE NEW LAW.

THEY'RE TAKING SOME DIFFERENT APPROACH.

I WILL MENTION ONE OTHER THING ABOUT THE NEW YORK LAW, IT ALSO INCLUDES SOMETHING NEW, A BAN ON GUNS IN PRIVATE LOCATIONS UNLESS BUSINESS OWNERS SAY, YES, YOU CAN BRING A GUN IN.

NEW YORK WILL BE THE FIRST STATE TO HAVE A PROVISION LIKE THAT, AND I'LL BE INTERESTED TO SEE HOW THAT'S TREATED BY THE COURTS, BECAUSE IT WILL BE CHALLENGED FOR SURE.

YEAH, I SAW THAT, AND I'M NOT A LAWYER, BUT I AGREE WITH YOU.

WE HAVE TO END IT THERE, BOB.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THIS HAS BEEN VERY HELPFUL.

APPRECIATE YOU JOINING US TODAY.

GOOD TO SPEAK WITH YOU.

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO THIS 'METROFOCUS' SPECIAL REPORT.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN THEM SUMMER IS EXPECTED TO BE ESPECIALLY HOT, AND WHILE HEAT WAVES POSE A THREAT TO EVERYONE, SOME NEW YORKERS ARE MORE AT RISK TO THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE THAN OTHERS.

HEAT KILLS ABOUT 350 CITY RESIDENTS EACH YEAR WORK BLACK NEW YORKERS TWICE AS LIKELY TO DIE AS WHITE NEW YORK RESIDENTS.

NEW YORK IS ALSO ENTERING HURRICANE SEASON, AND ALTHOUGH IT'S BEEN TEN YEARS SINCE SUPERSTORM SANDY DEVASTATED THE REGION, THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THAT STORM AND OTHERS SINCE IS STILL WITH US.

SO, FOR MUCH MORE, LET'S WELCOME BACK OUR GO-TO EXPERT ON THE PLANET, BILL OLFELDER.

HE SERVE AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IN NEW YORK AND JOINS AS PART OF THE INITIATIVE REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS SOLUTIONS.

BILL, GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK ON THE SHOW.

THANKS, JENNA.

I ALWAYS APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN NEW YORK WITH YOU.

SO THANKS.

FIRST LET'S START WITH THE ISSUE THAT I THINK MOST PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY GOING TO START NOTICING, BECAUSE, OF COURSE, FOR WHERE NEW YORK CITY IS SITUATED, IT'S THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY, AND THOSE TWO THINGS ARE GOING TO START RISING SIGNIFICANTLY.

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND YOU MENTIONED THE STATISTIC OF HOW MANY HUNDREDS OF NEW YORKERS DIE EVERY YEAR FROM HEATSTROKE AND HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES, AND THIS IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE.

AS I SAY, THE THINGS THAT WE DON'T LOVE ABOUT NEW YORK, HEAT AND MOISTURE, THESE ARE EXACTLY THE KINDS OF THINGS CLIMATE CHANGE IS BRINGING.

WE'RE EXPECTING TO SEE -- THE SCIENCE TELLS US WE'RE GOING FROM AN AVERAGE OF TWO HEAT WAVES A YEAR PROBABLY TO SOMETHING LIKE SEVEN BY 2050, AND THAT'S SOMETHING LIKE 17 DAYS A YEAR OF PLUS 90 DEGREES TO OVER 60 DAYS OF 90-PLUS DEGREES.

SO THAT'S LIKE -- IMAGINE ALL OF JULY AND AUGUST BEING 90 PLUS DEGREES.

IT'S KIND OF MISERABLE, AND IT'S NOT JUST THAT, IT'S A KILLER.

IT'S A SILENT KILLER AND, IT'S THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER RELATED KILLER IN THE UNITED STATES, HEAT.

YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING, AND IT'S AN ISSUE THEY PERSONALLY STRUGGLE WITH, BUT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH WHEN IT COMES TO THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THAT IS THAT IT'S ALL GOING TO GET WORSE.

WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH THESE HEAT WAVES IN NEW YORK, ARE THERE THINGS, SOME TACTICS OR SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP EASE THE SUFFERING THAT WE KNOW IS COMING?

RIGHT.

WELL, THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT, AND I THINK THERE'S TWO THINGS.

ONE IS IT IS GOING TO GET WORSE.

I MEAN, WE HAVE BEEN EMITTING CARBON POLLUTION LONG ENOUGH THAT THERE IS MORE WORSE STUFF COMING THAT'S JUST BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM.

EVEN IF WE STOPPED EMITTING ALL CARBON POLLUTION TODAY IT WOULD STILL GET WORSE.

THEN THE QUESTION IS, ARE WE TAKING THE STEPS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CARBON POLLUTION GOING FORWARD?

THAT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO CONSTANTLY BE PAYING ATTENTION TO.

A PIECE OF, I GUESS WE'LL CALL IT GOOD NEWS, IS THERE ARE SOME SIMPLE -- WE'LL CALL THEM ROBUST AND ELEGANT SOLUTIONS TO HEAT.

LIKE, THE NUMBER ONE THING, WHICH WE AT THE NATURE CONER IS VANCE SI TALK ABOUT, WE'RE WORKING WITH A COALITION, IS TREES AND THE POWER OF TREES IN THE CITY TO COOL AND DROP TEMPERATURES IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS AS MUCH AS 20 DEGREES.

PLUS, YOU KNOW, THEY GIVE US OXYGEN, CLEAN AIR TO BREATHE.

THEY CAPTURE CARBON, CLEAN OUR WATER, PROVIDE WILDLIFE HABITAT.

THEY IMPROVE PROPERTY VALUE.

SO JUST INCREASING THE NUMBER OF THREES AND THE FOREST CANOPY COVER IN THE CITY WILL HAVE A DRAMATIC POSITIVE IMPACT ON REDUCING THE HEAT.

WHEN YOU SAY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF CANOPY TREES -- PERHAPS A PERSON COULD SAY, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS?

THE CITY'S FULL OF PARKS.

CENTRAL PARK IS HUGE IN MANHATTAN ALONE.

WHY IS THAT NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

RIGHT.

WELL, WE NEED MORE.

THAT'S THE FIRST THING.

AND IT'S THE TREES AND THE PARKS ARE VERY INEQUITABY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS THE CITY.

SO CURRENTLY IF YOU LOOKED AT NEW YORK, IF YOU WERE A BIRD OR A SATELLITE AND YOU'RE LOOKING DOWN AND SEE THE CITY, THERE'S ABOUT 22% OF THE CITY WOULD BE COVERED IN TREES DURING THE SUMMER TIME WHEN THEY'RE FULLY LEAFED OUT.

WHAT WE DETERMINE SECOND DOWN THERE'S A NEED TO ADD ABOUT 2 MILLION TREES TO THE CANOPY, WHICH WOULD GROW IT FROM 22% COVERAGE OF THE CITY TO 30% COVERAGE.

BUT WHAT WE REALLY HAVE TO DO IS PUT THAT IN NEIGHBORHOODS THAT HAVE VERY FEW TREES.

SO YOU'RE RIGHT.

YOU THINK OF CENTRAL PARK.

I LIVE NEAR COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST TREED SECTIONS OF THE CITY.

THEY'RE ALMOST ALREADY AT 30%. BUT IF YOU THINK OF HUNT'S POINT, CENTRAL HARLEM, EAST NEW YORK, JAMAICA QUEENS OR THE NORTH SHORE OF STATEN ISLAND, THESE ARE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT OFTEN HAVE SINGLE DIGIT PERCENTAGES OF TREE CANOPY WHERE THEY ARE.

THAT'S WHERE WE NEED TO BE FOCUSSING THE INVESTMENT IN THE YEARS AHEAD IS MAKING SURE THEY GET MORE TREES, THEY GET MORE PARKS.

OF COURSE, AND AS YOU LISTED OFF THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT CAME TO MIND IS PEOPLE OF COLOR AND THE HOUSING DISPARITY THAT HAS PLAGUED THE CITY FOR GENERATIONS.

EXACTLY.

I MEAN, THE REASON -- THE LACK OF TREES IN THESE NEIGHBORHOODS IS SYMPTOMATIC OF HISTORIC POLICIES, ZONINGS, ET CETERA, WHICH HAVE DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND LOWER INCOME COMMUNITIES.

THINGS LIKE RED LINING WHERE THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS WERE NOT ABLE TO HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO MORTGAGE LOANS TO INVEST IN HOMES, BUY PROPERTIES.

AND THAT IS JUST ALL ADDED UP OVER TIME.

AND SO WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO THINK ABOUT IS, HOW DO WE MAKE INVESTMENTS TODAY THAT GIVE THEM MORE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO THE URBAN FOREST, TO PARKS, THAT THEY, TOO, HAVE PARKS WITHIN TEN MINUTE OF THEIR FRONT DOOR WHERE THEY CAN GO AND COOL OFF, ENJOY, AND FEEL ALL THE BENEFITS OF NATURE THAT NATURE PROVIDES.

WELL, OF COURSE IN ADDITION TO BEING ABLE TO GO OUTSIDE AND HAVE TREES, OF COURSE, AS YOU WERE SAYING, CLEANER AIR, ET CETERA, THERE'S ALSO THE ISSUE OF HOW YOU'RE ABLE TO SURVIVE THE SUMMER IN YOUR APARTMENT.

NOW, A LOT OF NEW BUILDINGS, THE WINDOWS ARE SEALED AND THEY'RE CLIMATE CONTROLLED, AND THAT'S GREAT IF YOU'RE THERE, BUT SAY IF YOU'RE IN AN OLDER BUILDING, A WALK UP, A PROJECT, SOMETHING LIKE THAT, IS THERE ENOUGH EQUITY WHEN IT COMES TO AIR-CONDITIONING?

NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT, AND AIR-CONDITIONING, IT'S A TRICKY CRAZY THING.

BECAUSE ON THE ONE HAND, WE NEED MORE AIR CONDITIONERS.

WE'VE TALKED ABOUT NOW THE NUMBER OF HEAT WAVES THAT ARE COMING, THE NUMBER OF DAYS.

AND HEAT REALLY DOES TEND TO MAKE ILL AND EVEN KILL YOUNGER PEOPLE, OLDER PEOPLE, PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, AND PEOPLE WITH FEWER RESOURCES.

BUT THE THING ABOUT AIR CONDITIONERS IS THEY SPEW OUT HOT AIR.

LIKE, AS THEY COOL INDOOR SPACES.

SO WHAT YOU DO IS YOU GET THIS REALLY BAD FEEDBACK LOOP WHERE THEY'RE ADDING HOT AIR TO ALREADY HOT NEIGHBORHOODS.

SO IN THE LONG RUN WHAT WE NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT IS HOW DO WE ADD TREES -- WE'RE GOING TO NEED AIR CONDITIONERS.

IT'S PART OF WHAT WE NEED HERE.

BUT ALSO, LIKE, COOLING CENTERS.

THERE WAS A RECENT ARTICLE TALKING ABOUT THE ROLE LIBRARIES PLAY IN PEEP'S LIVES AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO A LOCAL LIBRARY AND COOL OFF THERE.

I THINK ANOTHER THING WE DON'T WANT TO OVERLOOK IS IT'S SO IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, CLIMATE RESILIENCE AND NATURAL DISASTERS, WHETHER THAT'S HEAT WAVES, BIG RAIN BOMBS, HURRICANES, IS THE COHESION OF COMMUNITIES.

THIS IS IMPORTANT, RESILIENCE IS FAR BETTER.

PEOPLE FAIR BETTER THROUGH NATURAL DISASTERS WHEN THEY'RE LOOKING AFTER EACH OTHER.

SO STEPS WE CAN TAKE, IF WE'RE LOOKING OUT FOR OUR NEIGHBORS, CHECKING IN ON THEM IF YOU HAVE AN ELDER NEIGHBOR OR A NEIGHBOR WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, MAKING SURE THEY'RE OKAY IN A HEAT WAVE.

THAT GOES A VERY LONG WAY TO HELPING PEOPLE -- HAVE FEWER PEOPLE SICK AND MORE PEOPLE SURVIVING THE EFFECTS OF HEAT WAVE.

AND I THINK THAT'S TRUE IN SO MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS.

BUT IS THAT JUST A MATTER OF MAKING SURE PEOPLE HAVE ENOUGH WATER TO HYDRATE, GETTING INTO COOLING CENTERS?

LIKE, IS IT JUST, HEY, ARE YOU OKAY?

SECONDING IN.

OR IS THERE AN EXTRA STEP BEYOND THAT?

I THINK IT'S EVERYTHING YOU JUST DESCRIBED.

IT'S DEFINITELY CHECKING IN ON PEOPLE.

IT'S MAYBE BRINGING THEM COOL WATER IF THEY DON'T HAVE IT.

SOME PEOPLE, IF THEY'RE GROCERY SHOPPING DAY-TO-DAY, AND IT'S, LET'S SAY, 100 DEGREES OUT AND HIGH HUMIDITY, THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE THAT TRIP.

SO I THINK IT'S JUST ABOUT CARING FOR NEIGHBORS.

I LOVE YOUR POINT.

WE JUST KIND OF NEED THIS MORE ALL ACROSS THE CITY AND ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY THESE DAYS THAT WE'RE LOOKING OUT AND CHECKING IN ON EACH OTHER AND SEEING WHAT'S NEEDED AND RESPONDING TO THAT.

BUT IT MAY BE TAKING A NEIGHBOR TO A COOLING CENTER OR TAKING THEM SOMEWHERE THEY CAN COOL OFF IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO FARE AND GET THROUGH A HEAT WAVE.

SPEAKING OF GETTING THROUGH A HEAT WAVE, THERE'S ALSO THE ADDITIONAL CHALLENGE, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO OF HURRICANE SEASON, WHICH WE UNDERSTAND IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INCREDIBLY ACTIVE ONE THIS YEAR.

I THINK THAT'S THE KIND OF NEWS THAT'S GOING TO GIVE ANYONE WHO LIVES ALONG THE COAST A LEVEL OF ANXIETY.

YEAH, IT'S -- AND YOU MENTIONED THIS IN YOUR OPEN, YOU KNOW, NOAA IS PREDICTING A MORE SEVERE HURRICANE SEASON THIS YEAR.

WE SHOULD JUST GET USED TO THAT.

ALL OF THE CLIMATE MODELS SAY, YOU KNOW, THE EXPECTATION IS THE HURRICANE SEASON IS GROWING.

WE'RE SEEING HURRICANES EARLIER IN THE SEASON, WE'RE SEEING HUNDRED LATER IN THE SEASON.

IT'S JUST LIKE WILDFIRES OUT WEST.

THERE'S ALMOST NO WILDFIRE SEASON ANYMORE.

THEY'RE JUST COMING ALL THE TIME.

HURRICANES WON'T COME YEAR ROUND, BUT THE SEASON'S LONGER AND THEY'RE GETTING MORE INTENSE.

AND THIS IS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE SANDY, AND THERE ARE THINGS THAT ARE HALLS.

THERE ARE INVESTMENTS AROUND THE CITY, BUT WE NEED TO PICK UP THE PACE.

WE NEED TO DO MORE.

BACK TO THE URBAN FOREST AND TREE CANOPY, TO ADD THOSE 2 MILLION TREES THAT'S ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS INVESTMENT.

TO GOAL SO TO GET TO 30% CANOPY COVER BY 2035.

WE NEED TO MAKE THE INVESTMENTS NOW AS A CITY IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND THE EFFECTS OF THE HEAT WAVES AND HURRICANES THAT ARE COMING IN YOUR FUTURE.

OF COURSE.

WHAT ABOUT THE BERMS THAT WERE TALKED ABOUT SO MUCH AFTER SANDY?

BECAUSE OF COURSE THERE'S THE WIND AND RAIN BUCK IT'S REALLY THE SEA SURGE FROM A HURRICANE THAT'S REALLY THE PROBLEM.

WELL, IT'S ACTUALLY ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I MEAN, THIS IS THE THING, IN A CLIMATE CHANGING WORLD.

WE HAD HENRI AND IDA LAST AUGUST THAT DROPPED RECORD BREAKING RAINFALL WITHIN A WEEK, AND THAT ALL CAME STRAIGHT FROM THE SKY.

YOUR POINT IS AN IMPORTANT ONE.

HURRICANE SANDY WAS ABOUT THE TIDES AND WIND AND CURRENTS AND IT JUST PUSHED THAT MASSIVE VOLUME OF WATER INTO THE CITY.

AND IT'S TOUGH.

I'M GOING TO BE HONEST.

THERE ARE GOING TO BE TRADEOFFS.

IT'S NOT -- THE PATH TO MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND BETTER ADAPTING IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY.

WE HAVE TO BE VERY COMMITTED.

THERE WILL BE TRADEOFFS.

I WAS JUST RIDING MY BIKE LAST WEEKEND ALONG THAT EAST SIDE AND STARTING TO SEE THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BERM CONSTRUCTION, AND IT'S VERY DIVIDED.

SOME PEOPLE WITH EXCITED AND APPRECIATIVE IT'S COMING AND SOME PEOPLE ARE REALLY UPSET, AND I THINK WHAT WE NEED IS A REALLY ROBUST PROCESS TO ALLOW THE VOICES AND BEST IDEAS TO GET IN THERE, BUT UNFORTUNATELY WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY ALL THE TIME AS WE MAKE TOUGH CHOICES TO PROMOTE THE RESILIENCY IN THIS CITY.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INDIVIDUAL THINGS WE EACH CAN BE DOING TO HELP ENSURE WE HAVE A HEALTHY CITY?

YEAH.

NUMBER ONE IS VOTE.

WE'RE GOT A CRAZY PRIMARY SEASON COMING UP IN NEW YORK, BUT WHEN ALL THAT DUST SETTLES, IN NOVEMBER ON ELECTION DAY, THERE IS A $4.2 BILLION BOND ACT, THE CLEAN WATER, CLEAN AIR BILLION DOLLAR BOND ACT.

EVERYONE SHOULD VOTE YES ON THAT.

THE OTHER THING, TALK WITH YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY.

WHAT DO WE NEED?

BE READY TO DO YOUR PART TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

KEEP THINGS IN YOUR DAILY LIFE, RIDING TRANSIT, COMPOSTING, ALL THE THINGS THAT ADD UP TO SIGNALS.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, NEW YORK NEEDS A MASSIVE INVEST MS.

PRESIDENT IN CLIMATE MITIGATION AND THE BOND ACT WILL BRING THAT, SO I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO VOTE YES ON ELECTION DAY FOR THE BOND ACT.

ON THAT NOTE, WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE IT.

THANK YOU BILL OLFELDER.

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IN NEW YORK.

GREAT TO TALK TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANKS, JENNA.

IT'S SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOPIC.

I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY.

ABSOLUTELY.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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