Local community groups and elected officials have shared that a long-time Greenpointer, Irene Klementowicz has passed away. Irene leaves behind an accomplished history of environmental activism, which Newtown Creek Alliance commemorated in a recent Instagram post, the text of which is below:
“On Friday, we lost one of the community’s greatest environmental leaders, Irene Klementowicz. Irene was a tenacious fighter who challenged polluting companies and city, state, and federal agencies in bringing substantial environmental improvements to Greenpoint and the Newtown Creek. Irene played a critical role in the shut down of the Greenpoint Incinerator (1994), bringing large-scale attention to the Greenpoint Oil Spill, and pushing for the multi-billion dollar upgrade of the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. A founding member of the Concerned Citizens of Greenpoint and Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, amongst many other neighborhood affiliations, she was recognized by numerous entities for her unparalleled leadership and tenacity. Irene was witty, smart and spoke truth to power, inspiring generations of environmental advocates in Greenpoint over multiple decades.
Irene is survived not just by her daughters, son and grandchildren – but a legacy of environmental improvements that we all benefit from today.”
The New York Times even noted Irene’s activism in an article from 1998, as she was part of a wave of activists who inspired the local Polish community to use their voices and speak out against injustice.