Students across the U.S. and world held a second Youth Strike for Climate on May 3. In Connecticut, young and older activists convened outside the Capitol building in Hartford, where, in addition to listening to short speeches, attendees had a chance to take a recycling quiz, make posters, and share their thoughts about the climate crisis. Then the students – mostly high schoolers – and their adult supporters participated in a press conference to add their voices to those of lawmakers and activists promoting a number of environmental and climate bills in this year’s legislative session.
At the top of the list was an effort to roll back at least some of the legislature’s reduction of funds that are collected on ratepayers’ electric bills explicitly to fund energy efficiency measures. $155 million was removed from this fund in 2017 in order to balance the state budget, and about half is already gone. However, the next installment is due to be taken in June of this year, unless the General Assembly votes not to. The state government won an initial lawsuit challenging what opponents charged was theft of these funds, and the case is now being appealed.
One of the speakers was Mitchel Kvedar, a Connecticut youth climate leader. State Rep. Robyn Porter, who represents a low-income community in New Haven where many residents suffer from the negative health effects of the burning of fossil fuels, also spoke. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus was at the Youth Climate Strike rally and press conference to bring us the following excerpts and their comments.