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Local advocate attends Paris climate conference

Alain Jocard AFP/Getty Images

A local group that promotes affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization has a voice at the Paris climate conference.

The chair of PUSH Buffalo has headed to France to participate in the ongoing United Nations International Climate Summit. Maxine Murphy will be part of a delegation that addresses the historic summit on issues involving economic and environmental justice.

PUSH is a high-profile  organization that aims to stabilize Buffalo’s economy through numerous initiatives that help low-income residents.

How does the climate conference fit into PUSH Buffalo's long-range mission? Murphy told WBFO one key issue involves promoting access to home weatherization.

“In Buffalo, we have some of the oldest housing stock. Homeowners (should) recognize that all this is going to do is help you in the long run, when you allow your tenants to get their houses weatherized."

The local group has been working to weatherize as many homes as possible, Murphy said.

“We want to be able to facilitate civic society engagement, where everybody’s house is lived in comfortably. Where you don’t have to wear a sweat shirt, a t-shirt, put plastic up on your windows -- towels around your doors."

Promoting solar energy is also on the delegation's priority list at the climate conference. Advocates say solar panels that are shared by neighborhoods can make renewable energy affordable to low-income populations.

Other issues include promoting "pathways" for individuals to obtain green jobs -- jobs that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.

Community leaders staged a "bon voyage" party for Murphy Thursday night on Buffalo's West Side. Push Buffalo Executive Director Aaron Bartley said Murphy has demonstrated a lifelong passion for promoting racial, economic and environmental justice.

"I can't think of anyone better to represent Buffalo and our neighborhoods at this pivotal time for our planet," Bartley said.

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