Students from across Vermont headed to the State House in Montpelier Friday, aiming to send lawmakers an urgent message on climate change.
“It is an existential threat,” warned Finn Olson, a senior at U-32 High School in Montpelier. “The effects of which we have just begun to feel.”
The Vermont Youth Lobby is made up of kids from more than 40 schools around the state.
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The organization is calling on lawmakers to take bold and wide-ranging steps to address climate change.
Some of those include aggressive moves to cut carbon, banning new fossil fuel infrastructure, and adding more discussions of climate change in public school classrooms.
Students said the very way of life in their state is threatened by climate change, such as the ski industry.
“It’s not so much political,” Montpelier High School sophomore Carmen Richardson-Skinder said of the work of the Vermont Youth Lobby. “It’s just us knowing the science and saying that we have to do something about it.”
“We have Republicans, Democrats all throughout our group, and I think it’s that one unifying factor: we need to act now,” added Sydney Kulis, a senior at Harwood Union High School. “And we need to act on the science we have that’s available.”
Students said they are mindful that some proposals could be off-putting to certain Vermonters, such as if they have to truck heavy equipment so use vehicles that require fossil fuels.
However, the students called for an approach to addressing the environment that would be mindful of protecting average people from unintended impacts of state policy.
In his state of the state address this week, Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, called for new state incentives aimed at encouraging Vermonters to choose electric vehicles.