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This week marks one year since orange, smoky skies from Canadian wildfires enveloped New York City, when for days we breathed in the worst air quality in the world. In a flash, our climate crisis became visible and visceral — an apocalyptic, amber haze attacking our health.

It was a terrifying moment for New Yorkers, adults and children alike. We were advised to stay inside to avoid inhaling toxic ash particles harmful to our lungs. Our public schools should have been safe havens for our communities, but the mayor forced them to close. Three months later, we weathered record flooding that affected schools citywide.

Climate change is not slowing down. As New Yorkers, public school graduates, and climate advocates, we know our city is only as strong and resilient as its schools. Our future depends on the education we give New Yorkers, the working conditions we deliver for educators and staff, and the environment we provide for learning. That’s why we need Green, Healthy Schools.

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