AUGUSTA, Maine — Emma Sawyer, a college student at USM, joined dozens of other young activists to send a message to Maine’s Climate Council.
“As a coalition of young people, we recognize youth are the ones who will be inheriting an unlivable climate and suffering the consequences of inaction.”
The Climate Council, formed by the Governor and Legislature, is supposed to come up with recommendations this year to help Maine meet its goals of reducing carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and 85 percent by 2050.
But a group of youth climate activists showed up at the meeting to demand stronger action. They want to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and want the council to include more young, people, poor people and people of color.
“We refuse to allow people who do not represent the masses to make decisions that impact and influence our lives,” Sirohi Kumar, a high school student from Bar Harbor said.
Hannah Pingree, co-chair of the Council, said they have made a good faith effort to be inclusive as the council was formed, with membership defined by the statute that created the council.
“I would say we’ve worked hard to be sure we are inclusive but we want to hear more voices and we want to make sure what comes out is doable for all Mainers.”
This was only the second meeting of the council, and Pingree said it will continue working to develop a plan by the end of the year to meet the Mills Administration emissions goals.
Leaders of the youth activist groups say they will continue to pressure the council to meet the climate and social goals tho groups have outlined.