On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, over 200 young people from 38 different schools rallied together at the Capitol for our ninth annual Youth Climate Lobby Day. The day began in the Governor’s Reception room, where Avalon senior and YEA! MN Youth Policy Intern Claire Mathews-Lingen facilitated an hour-long discussion between the assembled youth, Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Students shared their personal stories and climate change concerns, and asked the Governor and Lt. Governor to share their vision for Minnesota’s clean energy future, including the recently proposed push to increase the state Renewable Energy Standard to 50% by 2030. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith both spoke positively of the state’s clean energy transition and the need to accelerate progress.
Following the Youth Summit, youth gathered at a nearby church for a lobby day issue briefing and scheduling run-down, then split off to meet with their legislators. Several even attended a public hearing on proposed legislation that would disband the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB), speaking up in support of the EQB’s role in protecting Minnesota’s environment. The day was, in Claire’s words, “a light in the dark for climate issues, proving the power of youth voices on this issue and that hope remains for a bipartisan advancement of climate action in Minnesota.”
by Sophia Manolis, South High School sophomore
by Claire Mathews-Lingen, Avalon School senior and YEA! MN Youth Policy Intern