In this week's newsletter: Winter Storm Uri leaves millions of people, mostly low income and communities of color, without power for days on end, join us for a virtual microgreens workshop on February 24th, take 5 minutes (if you can spare them) to respond to Hunter College's survey on East River Park users and much more!
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Climate Chaos in Action: Millions Lose Power in Winter Storm Uri

At least 21 people have died across the southern United States as a result of the devastating Winter Storm Uri, and millions more are without power and heat as the snowfall and freezing rain continue. Many of them are low-income, nonwhite families who continue to bear the brunt of compounding crises. 

In Texas, where the power outages have been particularly severe, Black and Hispanic families are more than twice as likely as white households to live under the poverty line, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Many are living without sufficient insulation to protect themselves from the cold, and others are living without shelter entirely. And amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately hurt Black, Indigenous and Latino communities, traditional emergency responses are failing. 

“Whether it’s flooding from severe weather events like hurricanes or it’s something like this severe cold, the history of our response to disasters is that these communities are hit first and have to suffer the longest,” Robert Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University, told the New York Times. 

States like Texas with milder winters were caught off guard by the chill, which led to a massive spike in energy demand and a huge drop in available electricity as the infrastructure around natural gas, coal, nuclear, and wind energy froze up. Tuesday was the coldest day in North Texas in 72 years, with the Dallas-Fort Worth area reaching a record low temperature of minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

The cold weather has triggered a wave of blackouts across Texas, leaving millions of residents shivering in the dark. In some places, Texans have been without power for days.

With average temperatures rising around the world due to greenhouse gas emissions, there is more heat in the global climate system. That’s already having some predictable impacts, like an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves.

But it may be having some counterintuitive effects as well, especially during colder seasons. How climate change will reshape winters is, as scientists like to say, an area of active research.

There are a couple of competing ideas for how more warming will change the likelihood of extreme cold periods, like the frigid weather currently gripping much of the US. One group of researchers says that warming will make such events less likely, while another says that warming in the Arctic will increase the chances of frigid polar air spilling further south, leading to more periods of extreme cold in the near term.

But as Texas shows, failing to prepare for winter weather extremes can be devastating, so it’s critical to find out what scenarios could be in store and how often they’ll occur.

You can read more about Winter Storm Uri's disproportionate effects on low income communities and people of color on here, and more about the connection between extreme winter weather and climate chaos on here.

Join the Microgreens As Micro-Model Virtual Workshop Next Week

Co-hosted by Stuy Cove Park and the Bronx Foodway, this hour-long workshop uses a flat of DIY microgreens as a teaching tool for the basics of soil science, DIY food cultivation, urban resilience, and land repair. Soil scientist Dr Anna Paltseva will be in conversation with DIY microgreen growers Journei Bimwala and Charles Reynoso as they explore the many aspects of growing food in a gritty city.

Participants will leave with a better understanding of the difference between soil and soilless growing media, getting started with microgreens at home, conducting basic soil tests, and healing contaminated land for future food production. Participants are invited to bring two soil samples for a hands on activity: ½ cup of indoor potting soil and a ½ cup of soil from your neighborhood as well as any questions they may have about soil science, land remediation and microgreens cultivation. 

Wednesday February 24th from 7-8pm

Register via Zoom here!

How Do You Use East River Park?

New York City is changing all around us, and it's important to know exactly how. The Hunter College Department of Urban Policy and Planning is conducting a survey on usership in the East River Park in Lower Manhattan. Please add your voice to be included in this research. 

The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project is already underway at Stuy Cove, and will soon begin in East River Park, Solar One's neighbors to the south. Many of the people who visit and love Stuyvesant Cove Park also frequent East River Park and its size, location adjacent to NYCHA housing, and the park closures that recently ended after nearly a decade of renovations during the Bloomberg administration have all made studying the way it is used extra crucial as these new changes get underway.

If you have five minutes to spare, please tell us about your use of the park in the link below. 

English Version

Spanish Version

Thank you, on behalf of Hunter's Urban Policy and Planning scholars, for your participation!

Now you can support Solar One when you shop on Just click here or on the image above!

Upcoming Virtual & Socially Distanced Events

Crushing the Code NYS: Commercial
Online, 9am-5pm, $75

WISE Media Club: Biden's Climate Policy
Online, 6-7pm, free

Crushing the Code NYS: Residential
Online, 9am-5pm, $75

Radio BE-Ex: Retrofits for All with BlocPower
Online, 11am-12pm, free

GPRO Fundamentals of Building Green
Online, 9am-2pm, $200 general admission/$175 Urban Green members
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