PRESS RELEASE: Youth Activists and Environmentalists Unite for Climate Action on Earth Day

Youth Activists spoke to the press about the urgency for climate action this session.

Hartford, CT – On Earth Day 2024, high school and college students from across Connecticut gathered at the State Capitol for Sunrise Movement Connecticut’s Climate Emergency and Youth Advocacy Day. Participants toured the Capitol, learned how to engage in the legislative process, and made their voices heard on climate change. The event is part of Climate Action Week, organized by Connecticut Coalition for Climate Action, of which Sunrise Movement Connecticut is a member.

At a press conference kicking off the day, youth activists, advocates from the Connecticut Coalition for Climate Action, and members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Climate Caucus spoke on the need for action on climate change, and spoke in support of HB 5004, also known as the Connecticut Climate Protection Act, in addition to section 7 of HB 5213, which supports free bus passes for students. Speakers also voiced opposition to “Project Maple,” a proposal that would expand the capacity of the Algonquin Gas Transmission Line. This proposal is opposed by nearly 100 northeast environmental organizations as it would impact communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. A recording from the press conference can be found here.

“Youth leadership on climate change is critical to achieving system change. In addition to rallies and mass mobilizations, it is equally important that we continue build a civically engaged body of youth to lobby legislators on bills that will end the expansion of fossil fuel projects and advance energy efficiency and renewable energy programs,” said Maebel Haynes, co-director of Sunrise Movement, CT.

Speaking in support of HB 5004, Representative David Michel said, “We were already late yesterday, to take climate action, and since this bill is limited, we need to ensure its best possible version becomes law. Again, listen to youths, it is their future we are dealing with.”

“This Earth Day, Sunrise CT and the CT Coalition for Climate Action are teaming up to build youth leadership to tackle the climate emergency. It’s imperative the Connecticut General Assembly listen to our message and take action on climate change through passage of HB 5004. The bill contains provisions that will (1) update the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, (2) plan for the phase out of fossil fuels, (3) invest in renewable energy, (4) support local sustainable purchasing, and (5) leverage nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. General Assembly leaders, do the right thing and ensure final passage of HB 5004,” said Alex Rodriguez, environmental justice specialist at Save the Sound and member of the CT Coalition for Climate Action.  

Siddharth Krishan, a student at University High School of Science & Engineering, said, “CT students need free and reliable transportation in order to access educational, extracurricular, and fiscal opportunities. HB 5213, which provides free city bus passes to at-risk or disconnected youth, is necessary for the future of youth across CT. General Assembly leaders, please listen to the voices of students, and pass HB 5213 and provide our children with a ticket to opportunity.”

“This Earth Day, we are calling on state and federal decisionmakers to declare a climate emergency that invests in green union jobs and ends the expansion of fossil fuel projects. Right now, lobbyists representing the Algonquin Gas Transmission Line are vying for expansion of a fossil fuel pipeline called Project Maple. We call on Governor Lamont and state legislators to publicly oppose this project, and we call on the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to deny permits for that would increase polluting burdens,” said Sydney Collins, member of Sunrise New Haven.  

Following the press conference, Sunrise CT held workshops empowering students to get involved in the legislative process and learn key tips in legislative advocacy from a bipartisan panel featuring State Representatives David Michel, Jeff Currey, and Mary Mushinsky.

Sunrise Movement Connecticut is a youth-led organization focused on stopping climate change, ensuring environmental justice, and creating thousands of good jobs in the process. We mobilize youth across our state to demand climate action at the scale we need by lobbying elected officials for equitable policy changes, organizing strikes and other direct actions, campaigning for climate champions, and partnering with community-based organizations at the intersections of environmental and social justice.

The CT Coalition for Climate Action comprises environmental advocates, health experts, labor and municipal representatives, and others advocating for climate action in Connecticut. Formed in 2023, the Coalition’s central demand is that Connecticut keep its promise to cut climate pollution and protect our future. Members of the coalition’s steering committee are Save the Sound, American College of Physicians – CT Chapter, ConnPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, CT Health Professionals for Climate Action, CT League of Conservation Voters, Environment Connecticut, Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Mitchell Environmental Health Associates, People’s Action for Clean Energy, Sierra Club CT, and the Nature Conservancy in CT. More information at

Climate Action Week 2024 is a series of events and grassroots advocacy opportunities pushing for passage of key bills in the last weeks of Connecticut’s legislative session. See the full listing here, including a student poster contest at the Capitol this Wednesday.


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