At Youth Lobby Day 2016, over 100 youth gathered at the Capitol as part of a major climate advocacy effort made possible by Climate Generation, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and countless other individuals. The day started off at the Youth Summit with Governor Dayton, MPCA Commissioner Stine and Commerce Commissioner Rothman. This summit included a panel of youth leaders from different backgrounds and different parts of the state, and it also included a question and answer portion from the audience directed towards Governor Dayton. Students in attendance asked the governor a range of timely questions about Minnesota’s clean energy future, pipeline projects, and climate justice.
After the summit wrapped up, students transitioned into meetings with legislators. Throughout the day, trainings were held on how to lobby with elected officials and an issue briefing outlined the specific environmental justice components that youth are calling for in Minnesota’s Clean Power Plan. In the middle of the day, two actions took place: in one, youth gathered on the Capitol steps to perform a song, and in the other, participants took part in a series of aerial photos relating to growing clean energy in MN. The day eventually came to an end with hopefulness and high spirits.
Coming into April, the Youth Policy Cohort, led by Policy Organizer Kyra Brown, will begin writing letters to the editor and setting up meetings with their legislators. Though Lobby Day has passed, it’s important to keep the momentum from this positive day going, and let people know the importance of Minnesota continuing to pursue our Clean Power Plan. While the Supreme Court has put the Clean Power Plan on pause, Governor Dayton made a commitment to the young people of Minnesota that he will continue to move forward with plans for Minnesota’s Clean Power Plan. To support our state leaders, we must continue educating people on the importance of a strong and racially, economically and environmentally just Clean Power Plan, so that Minnesota can reach a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.