Youth Organizer Advocates for West Hartford to Declare a Climate Emergency Resolution

Shining light on the advocacy and sustainability work of young environmental leaders working to make their communities safer and cleaner. As part of our commitment to youth engagement and equity, we are holding an ongoing series of interviews with individuals and sharing their stories to spread awareness.

Pictured here is Corina Chang, a student at The College of William & Mary and a youth organizer with West Hartford Climate Projects

A Climate Emergency Resolution (CER) is a piece of legislation passed by a governing body such as a city council, a county board of supervisors, a state legislature, or even a national government. It puts the government on record in support of taking emergency action to reverse global warming.

Elevating the urgency of the climate crisis to young people at the local level has become especially important to community organizers like Corina Chang, a 19-year old climate activist born and raised in West Hartford, CT. Corina got involved in environmental advocacy after taking an Earth Science course in high school; in the class, she become aware of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and was motivated to do all she could to reduce waste to lessen this problem on a local level through trash clean-ups she coordinated with her high school volleyball team and by reducing her overall consumption of plastics, clothing, and animal products.

In addition to reducing waste, Corina became concerned rates of carbon consumption, and wanted to do all she could do lessen the effects of climate change. That is why she joined the Citizens Climate Lobby chapter in Simsbury to learn about their priorities concerning carbon fee and dividend, and CERs. Corina is pushing for pro carbon pricing language in a CER in West Hartford with the youth-led group known as West Hartford Climate Projects. The draft of the West Hartford CER also includes the implementation of a climate change commission (with youth having voter power), and a greenhouse gas inventory report. A vote will be held on the resolution will be held in December 2021.

Corina has also joined the Williamsburg Sunrise chapter as co-action lead to build new relationships with young activists in pursuit of a clean energy future. Her role here within the chapter consists of organizing rallies and petitions. When asked about her top climate priorities, she had this to say: “I want to work with folks to push local and state legislators to support national carbon pricing and a Green New Deal. I believe Big Polluters should be held accountable to their role in accelerating the climate crisis. I believe that carbon fee and dividend legislation is the most effective policy we have to immediately reduce our carbon output in time to meet the targets set by President Biden and the Paris Climate Accord. I’m fighting for healthy communities, and that’ll only happen if governments phase out fossil fuels, while investing in a clean energy future.”

We asked Corina if she had any advice for activists looking to get involved in climate advocacy, and she had this to say: “Learning about climate action and conservation is a lifelong process, and the research one does individually should be accompanied by storytelling and coordinated action. Through working with other climate-dedicated citizens, I promise you will learn more than you ever could have by researching individually. It is tempting to want to stay home, watching documentaries and researching online, but the best thing you can do is team up with others and amplify your voices. Everyone should be given an opportunity to voice how the climate has impacted them, as well as be given an opportunity to contribute to the solution.

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