Today’s Gotham Gazette paints a frankly frightening picture of New York City’s vulnerability to possible storm surges and flooding brought about by global climate change. Among the high-risk areas addressed: Columbia University’s expansion in Harlem, Ground Zero, the Brooklyn Waterfront, and various areas of Queens.

Hidden near the bottom of the article, we learn about local grassroots efforts, including a City pilot program to help communities plan for climate change. According to the article, Task Force members UPROSE of Sunset Park are the first group to participate in this crucial process:

“Many experts believe that for any of these ideas to work, the public must play a key role. ‘Public support, or even public pressure’ is needed to get city officials to confront the changing circumstances, said Susanne Moser, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who coauthored a report on this issue. ‘That means the public needs to know what to support, what to oppose …. It’s important for citizens not to leave policy-making or policy-implementation only up to influential interests.’

The city has started a pilot program to engage communities to help plan for the possible effects of climate change and to share their expertise about their neighborhood with officials. The first effort is in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in partnership with UPROSE, a local Latino community group. The organization has held three planning discussions with a host of local residents with a goal of creating a climate change adaptation plan that reflects the community’s thinking…. UPROSE hopes to have developed a plan by this spring.”

Image of predicted flood zones via Gotham Gazette.