Battle For Environmental Justice For The South Bronx & Its Waterfront Against FreshDirect Heads To The United Nations


The residents of the South Bronx have been battling the FreshDirect deal to move into our waterfront which would pollute our roadways with heavy truck traffic aggravating an already dire asthma situation.

Now we have one our own residents on his way to the United Nations Climate summit where he will be able to represent the united voices of South Bronx residents and more than 50 community based organizations against this careless and deadly deal.

Mychal Johnson / Image Credit: Adi Talwar for City Limits
Mychal Johnson / Image Credit: Adi Talwar for City Limits

Arthur “Mychal” Johnson of South Bronx Unite Selected to Attend Historic United Nations Climate Summit with more than 100 Global Heads of State and 37 Civil Society Representatives

Brings International Attention to the Asthma-Plagued Community’s Ongoing Fight to Stop the Subsidized Relocation of FreshDirect’s Diesel Trucking Operation and Broadens Awareness of Bronx Climate Justice Movements

On Friday, August 29th, Mott Haven/Port Morris resident, co-founder of South Bronx Unite, and member of the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Mychal Johnson was selected from among 544 civil society applicants from 115 countries to attend the historic United Nations Climate Summit, taking place on September 23 at the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has organized the Climate Summit to bring together more than 100 global Heads of State and other world leaders to galvanize and catalyze climate action through bold decisions to reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.

Mychal is one of 38 civil society delegates from 25 countries, each chosen because of their proven track record of effective advocacy and implementation of community based solutions for climate change mitigation or adaptation.

Since 2012, under the banner of South Bronx Unite, Mychal has helped lead a broad based coalition of residents and organizations against a proposed $140+ million government subsidy to FreshDirect, which aims to relocate its diesel trucking operation to a South Bronx waterfront flood zone, documented with evidence of a Native American burial site. The company would bring 1,000 daily diesel truck trips through the predominantly African-American and Latino community, where one in five children suffers from asthma and where asthma hospitalization rates stand at 21 times higher than other NYC neighborhoods. The company is refusing to perform a meaningful environmental review and is instead relying on a 21 year old environmental impact statement.

Mayor de Blasio campaigned strongly against the deal while running for office in 2013 but has not yet acted to stop the pending transfer of subsidies. Over the last month, upwards of 400 emails and phone calls have been made to Mayor de Blasio and his team to stop the deal, but there has been no response from his office.

The issue of FreshDirect and other Bronx-wide priorities such as “redlining green,” the protection of climate migrants, food sovereignty, clean air, and climate education will be highlighted at several events throughout the Bronx under the banner “Bronx Climate Justice” taking place during the weeks leading up to the UN Climate Summit.


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.