Youth Activists To Craft Climate Legislation With State Senator
High school students in Indiana are working with a state lawmaker to craft a bill addressing climate change. The group formed out of frustration that despite multiple protests and letters, Indiana lawmakers haven’t passed climate legislation.
Ethan Bledsoe is a senior at West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School. He said Confront the Climate Crisis aims to unify smaller youth climate groups to focus lawmakers’ attention.
“So it's like one ask or just a few asks and then legislators can understand more what we're trying to say,” Bledsoe said.
Students in the group want the state to pass laws to help Indiana achieve carbon neutrality and address environmental racism. But West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School sophomore Rahul Durai said the first thing they want lawmakers to do is declare climate change an emergency.
“Acknowledge that this problem is happening and acknowledge it at the scale that it's happening,” Durai said.
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Instead of a normal summer break, the high schoolers have hosted events and met with state and federal representatives.
“We've been putting in a lot of hours working on what we're passionate about. But I think it really says something about the people that we're working with — the fact that we're able to do this and that we are actually enjoying what we're doing,” said Annabel Prokopy, West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School senior.
The group is working with Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) to craft climate legislation for the 2022 legislative session. They hope to announce more about the bill during a climate march in West Lafayette on Sept. 24.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.