Hoboken residents joined New Jersey citizens from across the state in Newark on Dec. 6 for the North Jersey Climate Strike to rally for environmental justice and against climate change.
Students from The Hudson School joined the protest in Newark with other environmental groups, including representatives from the Food and Water Watch, New Jersey Sierra Club, and local activists like Hoboken resident Liz Ndoye.
Participants marched from Broad Street to Newark Penn Station from noon to 2:30 p.m. and stopped in front of the New Jersey Transit station.
Anny Martinez, a bilingual environmental educator for the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said the state needs to focus on public transportation options that do not use fossil fuels, like electric buses, noting that California announced last year it would require all public commuter buses to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
NJ Transit, which operates more than 3,700 buses, is expected to launch an electric bus pilot program in 2021 that will cover eight routes in Camden.
According to reports, the program will be paid for through two federal grants, one for $500,000 and one for $1.5 million as well as an $8 million settlement from Volkswagen. These funds will be used to purchase the eight battery-powered buses, train employees, and install charging stations.
The Hudson School students were permitted to leave school at 10:30 a.m. with consent from their parents. The Upper School Environmental Club spearheaded the school’s involvement.
Sophomore Logan Miller and senior Cameron Hartshorn are co-presidents of the club and have led the school’s environmental endeavors.
“We have four demands: clean air, clean water, clean energy, and climate justice for all,” Miller said, addressing the concerns of participants in the strike.
Pressuring Gov. Murphy
Protesters are demanding that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy put a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects. They are advocating for clean water and air, climate justice for all, and urging the governor to keep his promise to make New Jersey 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
They are also urging him to put a stop to a planned gas-fired power plant that would be built in the Meadowlands in Kearny and to instead support a proposal to use the Federal Sandy-resilience grant of $409 million for SOLAR RAIL with solar storage.
The power plant is part of NJ Transit’s NJ Transitgrid, which aims to create an electrical microgrid capable of supplying reliable power during storms or other times when the centralized power grid is compromised.
The idea of this system is that the grid will provide electric power to northeastern NJ Transit facilities that will be powered by a 140 MW natural gas-fired power generating plant.
The plant would be built on a portion of the 130-acre Kopper’s Koke peninsula on the Hackensack River.
“We have a great love for nature, and it’s horrible to think that so much of it is being destroyed,” Miller said.
Hoboken resident Elizabeth Ndoye, who led another group of residents at the march, said, “We are demanding to stop the Kearny Power Plant, which will be powered by fracked gas and will be a complete environmental disaster right in Hoboken’s backyard.”
Ndoye pointed to the impacts climate change will have not only on Hoboken but the world, noting flooding and the possible irreversible damage to health and the ecosystem.
“We have only 11 years left to prevent the irreversible damage caused by climate change, she said, citing a general assembly meeting of the United Nations earlier this year.
“We need to make a change now not only for ourselves but for future generations,” Ndoye said.