In Queens, the group hosted an event at the Arverne Pilgrim Church in Far Rockaway with volunteers who heard from residents personally affected by the storm. The church was flooded by seven feet of water during the storm.
“Hurricane Sandy destroyed a lot of neighborhoods in Queens, including the Rockaways,” said Lourdes December, an OFA neighborhood team leader in Queens. “I wanted our OFA South Queens chapter to honor those affected and provide them with the knowledge and resources in order to be prepared.”
Following the discussion, a candlelight vigil was held outside the church.
“Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for many costal areas,” said Nigel Loncke, chaplain at Arverne Pilgrim Church. “Living in the Rockaways for many years, I can no longer deny the fact that rising waters and increasing ocean temperatures are contributing to stronger storms. A discussion on climate change was deeply needed.”
In addition to reaching out to the Queens community, OFA teamed up with a local Brooklyn group, DIVAS (Digital Imagery for the Visual Arts) For Justice to host an event in the borough to teach youth how they can prevent climate change.
A contest called “Natures Fury” is currently underway for eight to 14 year olds in Brooklyn who will attempt to build a robot that can help deal with the aftermath of four types of natural disasters: hurricanes, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes.
At the event on October 29, children used Legos to build temporary models and explain their concepts.They will have the next two months to create a working robot.
“For cities like New York to small island states such as Singapore, we all have to act together and act now to save our nations from the impact of climate change,” said OFA spokesperson Roshni Karwal. “The time for action is now. Sustainable development must be embraced.”