Student Activists Testify at Climate Action Hearing
By Joanna Reid
The Environmental Action Coalition is a student-run organization at Adelphi that holds and attends climate protests, organizes litter clean ups and pushes for important climate change legislation. Recently the coalition had the opportunity to make a statement at a New York State Climate Action Council hearing, which took place in Brookhaven on April 6.
Before the hearing, the coalition held a positive climate rally in partnership with other local groups such as, NYRenews, Long Island Progressive Coalition, and the Brookhaven Landfill Action and Remediation Group.
The New York State Climate Action Council hearing was held to discuss the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This law stated goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and implementing renewable energy sources in New York by 2023. Additionally, this law formed the Climate Action Council, a committee who would be responsible for establishing specific plans on how New York state will tackle issues involving climate change.
Although this law is in place, many New Yorker’s fear that the state will not take the necessary steps to combat climate change. Many worry that the state will not begin to transition off fossil fuels, like they had promised. Fossil fuels are one of the largest contributors to global warming. If fossil fuels were eliminated it would help immensely because less carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere, ultimately slowing down the warming of the Earth.
On the other hand, with new legislation that will decrease the use of nonrenewable energy, many worry that discrimination will occur. Environmental activists suggest that a “Just Transition” is put in place to prevent this. A “Just Transition” proposes that everyone has the right to benefit from the changes of energy as the use of fossil fuels begin to fade. This act would protect things like jobs, access to clean water, clean air and food for everyone. This is especially important because those who work in the fossil fuel industries would be at risk of losing their jobs.
Holding the rally and attending the hearing was The Environmental Action Coalition’s effort to ensure that New York state will create laws that not only make the environment a priority, but also the members of the community.
Members of The Environmental Action Coalition felt that it was important to have their voices heard. President Kelly Andreuzzi said, “I came here today to advocate that New York place climate justice and public health at the forefront of their agenda. This is for my future, for my generation’s future, and for all of our futures.”
Other groups made statements as well. Ryan Madden from the Long Island Progressive Coalition said, “We need to meet the goals of the CLCPA in the most rapid and equitable way possible for the health and safety of our island.”
If government officials refuse to act, continuing to ignore the impacts of climate change it could be too late to save the planet. Thankfully there are people out there, like the members of The Environmental Action Coalition who work hard to change the future of climate.