"While gas generators sat idle without gasoline in Rockaway Beach, solar generators that David cobbled together have been producing power nonstop from the second they hit the ground. Like a renewable Hail Mary into the impact zone, these devices have already been clutch." --Walter Meyer, Power Rockaway Resilience
Delivering power for now, resilience for the future.
During Hurricane Sandy, the Rockaway peninsula, a small barrier island off New York City, bore the brunt of a 14-foot tidal surge topped by three-story-high waves. With restoration of electrical power still weeks away for thousands of residents, winter is closing in. The situation in the Rockaways is critical. The problem is so vast and complex that the government can’t respond alone – we all must dig deep and do some heavy lifting.
Tonight, families are sleeping outside together around campfires. Residents are reluctant to evacuate and abandon their homes; looting is still widespread and safe shelter and transportation off the peninsula is limited. In public housing, survivors risk asphyxiation to heat their apartments with gas stoves. On these freezing nights there are no other options.
We are a group of planners and engineers who surf Rockaway Beach. Along with many friends and supporters, we have been on the ground in Rockaway since the storm doing what we can to help out – taking in food and clothing and also ferrying people from Rockaway to our home in Brooklyn for a brief respite.
Many folks have been following our posts on Facebook and asked how to help directly. Hence this campaign.
Priority one is power and heat. Rockaway will remain dark and cold long after utility substations are repaired, because the electrical circuit boxes, wiring and heating systems in nearly every building were inundated with salt water. These systems must be replaced, repaired and recertified on a case-by-case basis before residents can use their power and heat systems.
Now we’re hoping to scale our efforts up. With your help, we will purchase and deliver solar generators and modular heating stations to critical locations in Rockaway Beach. After the utilities power up again, these solar generators will supplement the grid with resilient energy and provide a renewable buffer in future storms.
What is Power Rockaways Resilience?
Power Rockaways Resilience is being fueled by our experiences on the ground in Rockaway Beach. More and more, there is a recognition that our common future is not just about sustainability, but about resilience. We see the need on the ground in the Rockaways daily. The heat and power your generosity helps us supply to alleviate suffering now, will provide resiliency later.
The project is being spearheaded by Walter Meyer and Jennifer Bolstad of Local Office Landscape Architecture, a husband-and-wife team responsible for the design of award-winning, resilient landscapes for cities.
We have already had our first commitment for a large generator for a community center to be delivered this Friday.
Power Rockaways Resilience is a project of the CMRC (Coastal Marine Resource Center) which is a 501C3 so all your contributions will be tax deductible. Also, please note, this is a flexible funding campaign, so any donations will be available immediately and immediately put to use for the benefit of the Rockaways.
See this fantastic blog post from the Inspired Storytellers Collective to see what we're all about.
What exactly will your donation buy and what will you get?
We’re setting our initial goal for $10,610, which will allow us to purchase and install the following:
- One SunWize Power Station solar generator for a community center. We have spoken to the manufacturer and they have generously agreed to supply this generator at cost and deliver free. We have already ordered the first one with a generous contribution from BOATUS. This campaign will allow us to furnish one to another community center. These centers serve thousands of people in the community.
- One small solar generator will deliver enough power for two homes.
- Three micro solar generators will provide charging stations where dozens of people can charge devices like cell phones and lanterns.
- Three small propane heaters for warming stations will serve multiple neighborhoods.
If we raise over our goal, we will continue to buy additional generators and also consider buying and setting up properly vented tents with propane heaters to be set up every few blocks on the peninsula. We are also looking into "luxuries" like camping showers to supply hot water and showers.
It's easy to feel helpless in a situation like this; we urge you to join us, contribute whatever makes sense for you and see your money make a direct impact on survival and quality of life for families facing the biggest hardship they’ve ever known. We will post regular updates and photos so you can see how your contribution is helping out.
What you will receive: Big thanks! Updates! Karma!
There are no traditional perks for this campaign as we need all the money to go straight to the generators. To assure your money is going directly to the effort, we will send updates and images of the generators in action. Every donation no matter how small or large is a tremendous help!
Other Ways You Can Help
Whether you feel you can donate or not, your support is appreciated. Please share this campaign on your Facebook timeline, tweet about it, send out emails. We've created a Power Rockaways Resilience Facebook Page for the campaign where we'll post updates and opportunities to help. One of the reasons we’ve been able to do as much as we have is because of the help we’ve received from so many people who’ve heard about what we’re doing via the power of social media.
THE MOVEMENT GROWS
With the help of contributions to this campaign and in collaboration with folks working on the Solar Sandy Project, we have installed six solar generators so far in the Rockaways in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy. These generators have already served thousands of Rockaways residents. Right now, we are working on getting natural gas heating stations to provide heat to people still without power.
As this is posted, 9400 people remain without power due to permanent damage to their electrical systems. Resilient power to supplement the grid for the next storm is still a priority along with injecting resilience planning into efforts like restoration of the boardwalk.
We are very close to achieving our funding goal for this indiegogo campaign. Thanks for all the support so far. Please continue to share this campaign on your social networks and donate - Sandy is far from over in the Rockaways.