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Queens lawmaker to deliver annual Earth Day address while standing in the Rockaway Beach surf on Saturday

Apr. 20, 2023 By Bill Parry

State Senator James Sanders is heading back into the surf on Saturday, April 22, to deliver his annual Earth Day remarks on the significance of climate change.

Sanders will stand in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Beach 86th Street and Shorefront Parkway as part of his second annual “Tuvalu Challenge,” based on a similar address by Foreign Minister Simon Kofe of the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu on Nov. 5, 2021, to dramatize the plight of his endangered country from climate change by standing in the ocean. His “last stand” in the rising tides threatening his people’s very existence inspired the world to action.

One year ago, Sanders paid tribute to Kofe’s address and stood in the ocean off Rockaway Beach in his business suit to illustrate the impact of climate change on rising sea levels, especially in the coastal communities of the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay if climate change is not halted.

Sanders drew inspiration from a 2021 speech by Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe that put the world’s attention on the threat caused by climate change. (Courtesy of Sanders’ office)

This year, Sanders will be joined by other elected officials, community leaders, residents and activists to speak and witness the event beginning at 9:30 a.m.

“I invite the entire southeast Queens community to join me and others on Earth Day, April 22, in the Rockaways throughout the day to celebrate our beautiful planet and to call for action to stop flooding and climate change,” Sanders said. “We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to ensure our environment becomes cleaner and safer for years to come.”

The Tuvalu Challenge will be followed by his Climate Justice Youth Education Summit, which will bring together a group of scholars and leaders who are experts in communicating climate change and flooding to a broad audience. There will be a school art contest among students as well as a hydroponics project demonstration from the youngsters beginning at noon at PS/MS 42, located at 488 Beach 66th St. in Arverne.

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