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At Great Hall Forum Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sustainability

POSTED ON: April 25, 2013

This Earth Day, April 22, Cooper Union co-sponsored and hosted a Mayoral Forum on Sustainability in the Great Hall, the first ever devoted to the topic.  Organized by Cooper’s own Institute for Sustainable Design and the New York League of Conservation Voters, New York City's nine mayoral candidates gathered before a capacity crowd to discuss and debate positions and policy on sustainability and environmental issues. You can view the entire forum in the embedded video above.

"It was unthinkable that a forum like this could have happened even ten years ago," Kevin Bone, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Design, says. "You had nine candidates for a major American Democracy of almost 9 million people up on stage discussing environmental policy for an hour and a half. The national scene may be too divisive for that at this moment, but if you can do that on a local level: that's prorgress."

Moderated by WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer, the candidates included Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, Adolfo Carrion, John Catsimatidis, Christine Quinn, Joe Lhota, John Liu, George McDonald, and Bill Thompson.  Brian Leher’s questions for the candidates ranged from general beliefs about global warming and natural disaster prevention, to hot-button issues like the proposed Spectra natural gas pipeline intended to run from New Jersey into the West Village in Manhattan. The occasional cheers and boos that erupted from audience served as a reminder of how seriously many New Yorkers take these issues.

Both the New York Times and the Daily News covered the event.  Each made note of Republican candidate John Catsimatidis' being only one with doubts about the origins of global warming as man-made, as well as Democratic candidate Christine Quinn's being, "the only contender to express support for closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which supplies much of New York City’s electricity."


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.