New York, NY – Climate change is being put front and center in the New York City race for Borough President in Manhattan, an island particularly susceptible to rising sea levels, by candidate Council Member Ben Kallos, who was endorsed today by the New York City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee Chair Costa Constantinides, Co-Creator of Captain Planet, Barbara Pyle, and Environmental Activist and Comedian Chuck Nice.
“New York City Council passed Climate Works for All to limit pollution by dirty buildings thanks to unwavering support for our planet from Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Ben Kallos. When the real estate industry put profits over people by fighting strong limits on dirty buildings, Ben Kallos not only stood up for our planet but refused their dirty money,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “We authored a resolution declaring a climate emergency here in New York City and became the biggest city in the world to do so. I am endorsing Ben Kallos as the next Manhattan Borough President to continue our fight against climate change.”
The son of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant and an education activist, Costa Constantinides has represented the New York City Council’s 22nd District since 2013. As chair of the Environmental Protection Committee since 2015, he has been committed to fighting the effects of climate change and keeping it from forever changing New York City’s landscape. Sustainability, resiliency, and air quality have been among Costa’s top environmental issues since long before he was elected into office. His district includes his native Astoria, as well as Rikers Island, parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst.
"Ben Kallos is a leader, a true advocate, and a fighter not only for the environment and sustainability but also for social justice. I'm very proud to know Ben and it is my honor to endorse him for Manhattan Borough President," said Barbara Pyle, co-creator of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. "When we created Captain Planet and the Planeteers 30 years ago, our mission was to inspire and empower a new generation of environmentally literate leaders. Ben is exactly the kind of person our program hoped to inspire: Planeteers that would go on to be in politics and in positions of power where they can make a difference for the betterment of the planet. Seeing the work Ben has done and what he represents in New York City is a dream come true for me. I am impressed with his commitment and I could not imagine a better Borough President. New York City is lucky to have him. He gives me hope for the future and is an ideal role model for today's young people to not only walk to the ballot box, but to run, run for office, that is."
Environmental Activist, filmmaker, executive producer, photographer and TV executive Barbara Pyle spent two decades as CNN’s environmental editor. In 1989, Barbara and Ted Turner co-created the animated action adventure series Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Broadcast in over 100 countries to popular and critical acclaim Captain Planet still maintains a dedicated international fan base. The Barbara Pyle Foundation. Its mission is “to use media in all its forms to make the world a better place and empower people to protect the planet.”
“Climate change is no joking matter and I’m a comedian. We can’t keep ignoring the world around us, our forest burning, and the rising sea level. The party might keep going, but you better know how to swim. I am endorsing Ben Kallos for Manhattan Borough President because he knows we have a climate emergency and will use an evidence-based approach to fighting climate change,” said Chuck Nice, comedian, environmental activist, and frequent co-host of StarTalk.
Environmental Activist, Writer, Actor, standup comedian, radio and TV personality Chuck Nice, was recently delighted to deliver a TED talk, on the main stage of the Vancouver conference, regarding the unintended consequence of future tech and human interaction. Currently, he is the co-host of Star Talk with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the top five science podcasts on the globe, and is seen regularly on the Today Show. He is also the founder of “Shhh, It’s Real!” (Climate Campaign), utilizing entertainment as a means of spurring climate action in the everyday lives of citizens.
Council Member Kallos’ track record on the environment demonstrates his ability to forge partnerships wherever possible in order to get the goal accomplished. Council Member Kallos made history as he partnered with Council Member Costa Constantinides to author a “Resolution Declaring a Climate Emergency” which at the time made New York City the largest city on earth to do so. The declaration was marked by a rally on the steps of City Hall where the Council Member worked with Extinction Rebellion organizer Christina See, to draw attention to the issue.
In what is perhaps the most consequential environmental legislation ever passed in the City Council, Kallos was also a proud Co-sponsor of Climate Works for All by Council Member Constantinides which sets ambitious, comprehensive standards on New York City’s worst polluters, old buildings, requiring them to modernize and retrofit in order to meet stricter efficiency standards.
In the summer of 2016, Kallos authored and passed legislation to reconstitute the City’s Waterfront Management Advisory Board (WMAB) to advise New York City on how to best revitalize and protect our 520 miles of shoreline while also ensuring our waterfront investments are anchored to the priorities of our coastal communities.
In the spring of 2018, Kallos introduced legislation to ban the sale of single-use water bottles in city government parks and concessions in favor of reusable bottles.
He did this to curb the almost 1 billion single-use plastic water bottles used by New Yorkers annually, many of these bottles get recycled but many also end up in landfills or in our bodies of water-polluting local fisheries. An estimated eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. Once the waves, the sun, and salt take decades to break the plastic down into micro and nano pieces which are consumed by many of the fish humans eat.
In February of 2020 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an Executive Order banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles on city-owned and -leased properties.