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Southeast Queens lawmaker to deliver Earth Day address while standing in the Rockaway surf

Earth Day
State Senator James Sanders will reenact this famous photo of a government official in the South Pacific warning the world of the imminent threat caused to coastal communities by climate change, by delivering an Earth Day speech in the Rockaway surf. (Photo courtesy of Sanders’ office)

State Senator James Sanders will commemorate Earth Day on Friday by delivering a speech about the significance of climate change while standing knee-deep in the Atlantic Ocean off the Rockaway Peninsula, wearing a suit and standing behind a podium.

Sanders was inspired by a similar demonstration, which was conducted last November by Simon Kofe, the foreign minister of Tuvalu, a South Pacific archipelago that is under constant threat from rising sea levels. Kofe delivered his address as a warning to the world about the dangers of climate change.

Earth Day
State Senator James Sanders (Photo courtesy of Sanders’ office)

Sanders will take what he calls the “Tuvalu Challenge” at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 22, in the surf at Arverne to drive home the impact of climate change to the low-lying coastal communities in his southeast Queens district that face future challenges if climate change is not halted. His remarks will be delivered at Beach 73rd Street and Shore Front Parkway near the Rockaway Boardwalk that had to be rebuilt after it was obliterated by Superstorm Sandy a decade ago.

“Continuous flooding during high tide and disastrous weather have been plaguing the Rockaway community for years,” Sanders said. “As someone who represents most of the Rockaways and as a lifelong resident here, it is important for me to ensure that everyone understands our changing environment and is prepared for natural disasters and emergencies.”

The Marine Corps veteran added that his goal is to film his ocean demonstration and to encourage other elected officials and leaders throughout the United States and the world to replicate what he calls the “Tuvalu Challenge, made famous by Minister Kofe while standing in the ocean off Funafuti last November.

His speech will be followed by a tree planting celebration beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Goldie Maple Academy, located at 3-65 Beach 56th St. in Far Rockaway.

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