Thinking back to last summer a few universal memories come to mind. Michael Phelps helping put swimming on the map. A candidate who advocated change proceeded to redraw the electoral map. And when a certain Vice Presidential candidate said she could see Russia from her front porch, it was clear Sarah Palin should have consulted a map. Also, on the Summer of 2008 highlight reel were gas prices which reached record highs just as working families were about to embark on their summer vacation plans. Thankfully, about the time Americans were choosing that change and electing Barack Obama as President gas prices retreated to reasonable levels. However, with spring in the air, Harlem families may wish we were back in the shorten days of winter because those pesky little gas prices are once again on the rise.
As March came to a close, gas prices had risen 5 percent. This increase placed a gallon of gas above the $2 dollar mark for the first time since November 20th, 2008. Energy experts warn that the days of $1.60 a gallon gas prices that we enjoyed in the last five months are a thing of the past, and we can expect further increases as the spring rolls on. If prices are high in the summer, what can we expect when hurricane season blows into town later this summer?
The price of gas impacts every segment of our lives so these sudden increases in prices are not just a concern for those Harlem residents who rely on their cars. According to a 2009 report by SHARE entitled: “Exposing the Full Impact of Hidden Energy Costs’, when these costs rise people will pay more for common goods and services that require energy for their production.It’s quite clear that rising gas prices have a direct and substantial impact on commuters, taxi and delivery car drivers, and small business owners who rely on their cars as their principle means of transportation. However, as SHARE’s report exposes, rising energy prices also affects the price we pay for groceries at the supermarket. While we were mired in the record high gas and oil prices of last summer, did you happen to notice how high the price a gallon of milk was? How about corn?Both reached record highs, and now that higher gas prices are upon us Harlem families are once again looking at the prospect of another long, hot and expensive summer.
Global Warming and It’s Impact on Harlem Residents
With the asthma rate in Harlem being nearly four times the national average, any dialogue on global warming and greenhouses gases are needed and welcomed. Continuing its role as an advocate on clean energy issues on behalf of New York City’s communities of color, SHARE’s Executive Director Craig Wilson will be a featured panelist on a plenary discussion on Global Warming and its Impact on Latinos in New York City. The panel will be convened at this year’s SOMOS el Futuro Conference taking place in Albany this April. Wilson will talk about the proactive steps we can take to help ensure that New York’s energy future is clean including pursuing clean renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydropower, and the importance of relicensing Indian Point Energy Center which provides clean, affordable and reliable power for 20-40 percent of New York City and the surrounding northern counties.
Earth Day Goes Global
Which day on the calendar is responsible for the creation of not only a government agency, but also laws, which for years has protected our most precious resources? If you said Earth Day you’d be correct even if you didn’t form your answer in the form of a question. What started in 1970 here in America has now transformed into the largest civic event in the world, making Earth Day a bigger deal than a Kayne West concert. And its not without cause. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and throughout the years it was the attention that the day placed on our natural resources that led to our nation’s clean water, clean air and endangered species laws.
In celebration of Earth Day 2009, SHARE, a non-profit clean energy advocacy organization, will be donating free Pedi-Cab rides to Harlem residents. From 8:30-10:00am and 11:30-1:00pm, these human-powered Pedi-Cabs will offer free short-distance rides on a first come first served basis.“We aim to show that transportation alternatives exists that are environmentally-conscious,” says SHARE Deputy Director Gregory Joseph. “We also hope that companies that operate these Pedi-Cabs downtown realize that a viable market exists uptown as well.”
Just look for the SHARE logo and of course the Pedi-Cabs or call 212-897-5842 for more details.
If Pedi-Cabs aren’t your thing – no worries there are plenty of Earth Day celebrations going in New York to keep you busy. Here is a sampling of what is being offered.
Sun Mother Wakes the World and Other Tales for Earth Day @ The Charles Dana Discovery Center
Spend the afternoon with famed storyteller Regina Ress as she performs stories and songs of living on planet Earth from native cultures around the world. April 20, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm
(Inside Central Park @ 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues in Harlem)
Earth Day New York Presents Earth Week
Enjoy an array of events and activities throughout the week. April 18-April 25, 2009.
Wildlife Conservation Society/ Bronx Zoo Run for the Wild 2009
Participate in the first annual 5krun/walk and meet over 4,000 animal ambassadors from around the world.Enjoy complimentary zoo entry, live music and entertainment, celebrity appearances and giveaways. April 25, 2009 @ the Bronx Zoo 9:00am-4:00pm