Over 100 Young People Turn Out to Lobby for Clean Energy Legislation in Minnesota

Over 125 young people turned out for the Youth Environmental Lobby Day at the MN State Capitol, hosted by the Will Steger Foundation and the MN Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), calling for a stronger state Renewable Energy Standard to provide all Minnesotans with at least 50% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and to expand energy efficiency programs that work. High School Sophomore, Kendra Roedl, was as the event and shares her reflection below.

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Kendra and fellow YEA! MN students lead the room in a rally song to the tune of Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball’

“Hi, my name is Kendra, I’m a sophomore at South High, and a member of Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN). I’m very passionate about the environment and our health. Today, I would like to talk to you about the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard.”

Having never lobbied before, I ran this through my head continuously while waiting to meet with both my district’s Senator and Representative.  Introductions were just one of the things we were guided on in the morning before lobbying. Other things included how to start the conversation, what to do if they’re for the new standard, what to do if they’re against it, and some more information about the Renewable Energy Standard itself.

Although they helped very much, this training, previous trainings, and similar events, could not make me feel 100% confident when lobbying for the first time.  So fortunately, when meeting with my Senator, my fellow two constituents had already met with their Representative and knew what to do.  What I learned was that what to do wasn’t all that hard.  So after one successful meeting I was ready for another.

Surprisingly enough, being able to lobby and knowing your way around the Capitol and State Office building was not the point of the day, but it was to see which of the legislators are on board for the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard bill.  If this bill passes, 50% of Minnesota’s electricity would come from renewable sources.  This transition would require much more energy-efficiency. If the legislators were on board, we wanted to keep them there, if not we wanted to move them towards the bill even if that meant neutrality.

The environment and social justice are very important to me because it’s MY future I’m fighting for as a youth, but throughout planning for lobby day and the weeks leading up to it, there was a nagging question at the back of my head: being a nonvoter, will lobbying be just a waste of both my and my legislator’s time?  The answer hit me when I saw adults come out of their offices to hear my fellow youth lobbyists and I belt out our eco-friendly rendition of Wrecking Ball.  I learned that whether or not they want to, they listen.

YEA! MN student gave an eco-twist to Myley Cyrus’ song ‘Wrecking Ball’, singing out for ‘clean energy by 2030’ in the MN State Capitol Rotunda

A core program of the Will Steger Foundation, YEA! MN supports a network of high school environmental clubs working together across the Twin Cities Metro to empower student leadership on climate change solutions, facilitate shared skills and strategies, and take coordinated action at home, at school, and in the wider community. Learn more about our program at. www.yeamn.org

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