This Friday, climate activists in Connecticut and around the world will take to the streets to urge their governments to adopt policies that will fight climate change. The Global Climate Strike has been largely organized by young people inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Sena Wazer is a 15-year-old freshman at UConn, and one of the organizers of the Connecticut Climate Strike in Hartford. She told Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live, policy makers aren't taking the bold steps needed to reduce climate change.
At Friday’s event she’ll be urging Connecticut lawmakers and Governor Ned Lamont to take up climate legislation next session.
“Some of the really important ones are asking that Connecticut expand energy efficiency programs,” said Wazer. “We also want to ensure that all communities and public school kids have access to climate education, and that Connecticut cease permitting new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Wazer is also calling on Lamont to declare a climate emergency in Connecticut.
Earlier this month, Lamont did sign an executive order directing the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to work on ways to make Connecticut's energy grid 100% carbon free by 2040. Wazer says it needs to happen sooner.
“The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year saying that we have 12 years to drastically shift our society. So 2040 is too late according to this report, and I think we need to take this very seriously,” said Wazer.
Wazer’s career in activism started at the age of 5, after her parents read to her the story of Ibis, a whale that was rescued from a net entanglement. She learned that most whales don’t get rescued from nets and they eventually die.
“I cried for three days,” said Wazer, “until my dad couldn’t take it anymore, and he said, ‘If you don’t like something then do something about it.’ So that’s when I got into environmental activism.”
The Connecticut Climate Strike is Friday, September 20 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the back steps of the state Capitol.