Students, Community Rally For Climate Change Action At Capitol

Noah Bielinski, Contributor


Good spirits prevailed at a “Stand Up For Climate Action and Equity” rally on the steps of Connecticut’s Capitol Building on Sunday. The community engagement event was a call-to-action for the state to provide better clean energy, pollution and the legislative efforts to aid in conservation.

Spearheading the event was Leticia Colon de Mejias, CEO of the Efficiency for All group. Colon de Mejias thanked the participants and the assortment of groups that had come for the event for their support and proceeded with the rally.

The groups in question varied in backgrounds, from the Sierra Club of Connecticut to the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, who work to champion the legislative process in curtailing pollution and working for more efficient renewable energy sources.

Other organizations included the Food and Water Watch Group and the Clean Water Action Group. Both called for the protection of clean food and water, uncontaminated by pollutants. The lack of guidelines of waste disposal for certain substances such as lead, fracking runoff or pesticides from farms could cause damage to health.

At least a dozen more groups came along as well to remind Connecticut lawmakers and the public that renewable energy, conservation of the environment and anti-pollution measures are all well within the reach of technology today.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin praised the lengths that Connecticut and the individuals present had done to work towards conservation, but also warned that the job was not done and the effort needed to be constant.

“Connecticut should be proud that we have a Green Bank leading the way, that we have been strong in so many communities in banning fracking waste, that we’ve taken step after step to push for cleaner water both in our rivers and in our sound, but there’s so much more we need to do,” Bronin said.

Alex Rodriguez, a community organizer for Chispa, continued to discuss methods for ways to better the state’s current climate state. Chispa itself is a community outreach program set in Hartford that works closely with The CT League of Conservation Voters to bring newer generations into the fold of conservation efforts, working in conjunction with communities in Hartford to draw attention to energy efficiency and equity.

“In pursuit of an energy efficient and clean energy run economy, it’s important that we address equity and social justice as they are required to build a coalition to back tough climate targets,” Rodriguez stated. “Injustice is an inherent consequence of climate change, and people who have contributed the least to this problem, stand to suffer the most.”

Other speakers addressed the need for attention on various programs, from transportation to renewable resources. Following the assembly, people were released to peruse the array of groups and take in the available information. The individuals in the assembly were as vast and varied as the groups themselves, ranging from all walks of life, including several students from Central.

“I’m in the honors program in sustainability and my thesis is on fashion and its effects on the environment, like certain brands using sweatshop labor,” Central Connecticut student Sarah Olsen said. She expressed appreciation for the newfound information in the words and the event itself.

Senator Richard Blumenthal was also in attendance and spurred on the need for action.

“When you destroy open space, when you pollute the air, when you deny the need for action, you’re doing it not just for us, but for our children and our grandchildren. So this is more than just about the rising sea levels,” Blumenthal said, speaking on the short-range effects of climate change. “It’s more than just about the effects on us, it’s about what’s happening to our planet.”