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Earth Day event in Hartford seeks to teach youth how to become climate advocates

February 24, 2023 - Storrs, Ct. - The sun shines through ice coated branches and upon bare grass after an ice storm moved swiftly through Storrs, Ct., leaving nearly 800 area homes were without power February 24, 2023.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
February 24, 2023 - Storrs, Ct. - The sun shines through ice coated branches and upon bare grass after an ice storm moved swiftly through Storrs, Ct., leaving nearly 800 area homes were without power February 24, 2023.

Young people from across the state will gather at the state Capitol on Friday, April 21, to learn ways to be an effective climate advocate.

The Youth Climate Advocacy Day takes place right before Earth Day – and comes following a record-setting year for temperatures in parts of New England.

Nationwide, severe weather events last year caused billions of dollars of damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase due to “unsustainable energy use” and consumption.

Maebel Haynes is a student at Litchfield High School and national correspondent for Sunrise Connecticut, which is helping to organize the Friday event. The 17-year-old said witnessing environmental issues in her former town of Willimantic drove her to join this work in 2020.

“I got very passionate about environmental justice,” she said. “That's what really got me into it, and within the Sunrise Movement, too.”

The group is the state hub of the national Sunrise Movement. Friday’s event will teach people concerned about the climate everything from how the Connecticut General Assembly operates, to how to communicate perspectives to lawmakers.

She hopes young people see there are avenues to affect local change at the state Capitol.

“Whether it's talking with legislators or navigating that whole legislative system,” Haynes said.

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building of the state Capitol. It will conclude with time to speak with legislators in attendance, and put new skills to use.

While the focus is on young people, Haynes said anyone with a passion for climate justice can attend.

“It's not just open to the youth,” she said. “Anyone who's curious about any environmental work, what we're doing – is totally open and welcome to come.”

Sunrise CT and environmental groups Sunrise Wesleyan, Connecticut Sierra Club, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Nonprofit Accountability Group, and Save The Sound will co-host.

More information can be found on the action network event page.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.

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