A series of protests took place around the country Friday to express concern about climate change. Organizers of “Global Climate Strike” say protesters from 156 countries participated.
In Connecticut an estimated crowd of 1,000 rallied at the State Capitol.
UConn Freshman Sena Wazer, just 15 years old, was among those leading the charge. Wazer, an environmental science major, helped co-organize today’s rally.
“Our main ask for today is that the governor declare a climate emergency for Connecticut,” she said.
Wazer says a 2018 Intergovernmental panel on climate change report, was her wake up call to get involved.
“Their report said we need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that 2 degrees warming would be catastrophic,” she explained adding, “we have 12 years to accomplish these goals.”
Wazer would like to see Gov. Ned Lamont stop carbon emitting pollutions by December 31, 2030 and ensure climate education continues in schools.
“I’d like him to know that young people expect and need climate action from him because our future is on the line,” she said.
While the governor did not attend, he did issue this statement:
“Climate change is an acute and significant threat to our air, water, health and overall quality of life here in Connecticut and across the globe. It is irresponsible to push these issues down the road for future generations to tackle and solve. That’s why we must act now. Connecticut is leading the charge in charting a path toward a cleaner, healthier community through our commitment to a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040 and to alternative energy sources, like the bipartisan support for offshore wind.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) was in attendance.
“The reason a 15-year-old is leading this movement is because she and these young people will inherit the planet that we are disgracing,” he said.
While Friday's rally attracted people of all ages, it was heavily populated by students. A number of Connecticut high school students walked out on class to demonstrate their concerns.
“My generation actually cares about this issue because it personally impacts us,” said Molly Ma, a student from New Canaan’s St.Luke’s High School.
Ma was a co-organizer at the school which sent students to New York City and Hartford to be heard.
“We believe the only way for people our age to have a future is to rise up and protest what’s going on,” added St. Luke’s student Laura Mercedes.
Windsor’s Loomis Chaffee High School sent 115 students.
“The problem with climate change, is an existential one for humanity,” said Loomis Science teacher Neil Chaudhary. “The inaction of human civilizations is leading us down a disastrous path.”
But what about missing school?
“It’s not that we don’t care about our education,” said Loomis Chaffee student Freya Rich. “I think this is part of our education.”