Students lobby state lawmakers at the Capitol on climate preservation issues


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Student climate activists from local high schools and universities spent time with lawmakers Monday at the state Capitol to lobby for a healthy future for the planet.

A small crowd of high school students gathered around Middletown State Rep. Quentin Phipps in a Capitol hallway Monday to talk about climate issues ahead of the open of the General Assembly on Wednesday.

These students were among more than 100 college and high school students at the Capitol to lobby for action on climate issues.

The group was organized by “Sunrise CT,” a youth-led political movement aided by traditional environmental groups.

For many, this was their first trip to the State Capitol. They came because they sincerely believe their future is in jeopardy and they want their voices heard.

Many of these students will turn 18 before November and intend to vote.

Event organizer, Sena Wazer, of Mansfield, kicked off the gathering saying, “We know that if we don’t solve climate change, then nothing else really matters.”

These young climate activists say Governor Ned Lamont’s goal of a carbon-free state within 20 years is not fast enough.

They’re calling for a moratorium on new fossil fuel power plants and specifically want to stop a
proposed plant in Killingly. They’re also calling on state lawmakers to help expand renewable energy and efficiency and pass a law requiring access to climate education in public schools.

Some of the students come from countries where major cities have serious air quality problems.

Alia Salem of Egypt — currently of Windsor — saying, “I just want to make sure that everyone is able to get a safe and secure future.”

Muhammad Afzaal added, “97% of all scientists agree that climate change is a real thing. It is happening, we can see it from the last, 2011 to 2020, that real change is happening.”

President Donald Trump has notoriously dismissed climate science and continues to tout the fact that the U.S. is producing more oil than ever. How do these students react to his positions?

“It’s frustrating, definitely, because we need people [who are going to lead us] educated about everything that’s going on. Now, if the president does not agree with that there’s something that he needs to be educated about.”

– Hadia Afzaal of Windsor

Sunrise CT is planning another rally at the Capitol in April on Earth Day.

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