20200111_bta_climate

Gabe Groveman, a sophomore at Montpelier High School, speaks at a news conference Friday at the State House as members of the Vermont Youth Lobby and Youth Climate Congress delegates deliver their Youth Climate Declaration to lawmakers. In the front row at left are Iso and Fiona Bock, of Glover.

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Youth Climate Congress on Friday delivered to lawmakers a declaration of demands to combat climate change.

Dozens of students with the Vermont Youth Lobby and its climate congress packed into the Cedar Creek Room for a news conference, offering specific solutions to climate change. They then delivered those declarations to the House committees now considering climate change bills and initiatives.

On the same day, several of the same committees received the Global Warming Solutions Act that will put Vermont on the path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by turning greenhouse gas reduction goals into mandatory requirements for state agencies.

The youth event followed the convening of the congress in November, also at the State House, when 170 students gathered to hammer out a strategy and solutions to climate change.

“We’re facing an unprecedented global emergency,” said Lili Platt, a senior at Harwood Union High School, one of the organizers of the event and the congress. “Just thinking about the magnitude of climate crisis can be so terrifying that it paralyzes people.

“But we must do something and act. I am angry that those least responsible for climate change suffer the most from it. As young people, we will be living through the continued dire consequences of climate inaction,” she added.

Platt said 76% of Vermonters are concerned about climate change, but added there was “hope” if action was taken to address it.

“Vermont must play a role to end climate injustice, and as its youth, we are demanding that our government do their part,” Platt said, urging Vermont lawmakers to become national and global leaders in building a model to address climate change.

Evelyn Seider, a senior at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester and co-organizer of the congress, added: “A big part of the climate congress was finalizing a declaration in which it demands, by the youth, that we act. We can no longer afford to do nothing, so we are protesting the fact that the state is not doing enough to address climate change.”

Seider noted that the state’s carbon emissions had increase by 16% since 1990, while those of neighboring states had fallen.

“The longer we wait, the more costly and disruptive the changes will be and the effects of climate change are already being felt around the world,” Seider said, pointing to major forest fires, including those in Australia that have destroyed thousands of homes, killed more than a billion animals and caused massive displacement of people.

“Had we listened scientists 10 or 20 years ago, we could have been well on our way,” Seider said. “Unfortunately, that is no longer an option. But we still have the power to change our state for the better, and we must. There is no other option.”

Platt said youth activists would be at the State House every Friday to continue to lobby legislators to act on climate change.

A group of students then read through a list of “concrete” solutions to address climate change. They included: Vermont achieve “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2032 and decarbonization by 2040”; funding solutions to climate crisis by charging fossil-fuel companies for the pollution their products cause; incorporating climate justice into the Vermont school curriculum; and banning the development of new fossil-fuel infrastructure and restrict the expansion of existing fossil-fuel infrastructure.

Also students called for more support for renewable and energy-efficiency programs to weatherize homes and use cold-climate heat pumps, and encourage the use of electric vehicles and provide the infrastructure for charging stations.

Gabe Groveman, a sophomore at Montpelier High School, voiced concerns about multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative — the other major piece of climate legislation Vermont is considering.

Students said they also supported the recently introduced Vermont Green New Deal bill, proposed by Sen. Anthony Pollina, P/D-Washington County, to tax the wealthiest 5% of Vermont earners to raise $30 million for programs to combat climate change. Visit vermontyouthcongress.com/become-a-citizen-co-signer to read the Young Vermonters United Climate Declaration.

stephen.mills

@timesargus.com

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(5) comments

Johnnyboy

The real scary thing is that the children are being used to push this so called climate change initiative. My generation was forced to learn about acid rain and were told if it wasn't reduced that the maple trees wouldn't survive ten years. That was thirty years ago and the sap still flows every spring like it has for many centuries. People like to compare President Trump to the Nazis, but I don't see him using children to promote propaganda, I see the Democrats and Progressive elected officials using children. What do they have to gain? It's power, their power hungry tyrants that want to control every aspect of your life. Truly not the American way! Vote Republican in November because together we can Make Vermont Great Again.

Gary D

I agree with you 100%.

tbriggs5388

Indoctrination by the Democrats

Gary D

If these 'Kids' are so worried about the future, maybe it is time they start backing up their mouths with their actions. Or is it they want someone else to do it for them? Lets start with a 10 minute shower 2 or 3 times a week instead of 20 to 30 minute shower 2 or 3 times a day. Walk or ride a bike instead of each of you jumping into your own car to go to the same place. There are so many things they could be doing to 'change the climate' instead of just talking about it. They are just like the politicians who are egging them on and telling them what to say and think. Split a load of wood to heat your house or even to cook your food instead of just turning a dial. Stop using your microwave. save a couple of 1000's of watts. Don't sit there and DEMAND something from others that you are not willing to do yourself.

hurricane

I agree with you ! When will this State learn that they can not continue to over tax the wealthiest 5% , they will eventually leave as do our youth. You can only go to the well so many times before it dries up!

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