Young Hoosiers jump in the conversation on climate change

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File photo of Indiana Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Young Hoosiers want state lawmakers to step up when it comes to what they’re doing to make Indiana have a more sustainable economy.

The first ever Youth Climate Action Day will be held at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday.

State Representative Carey Hamilton is leading the charge. She says she was inspired by young Hoosiers who advocate for more to be done about climate change.

“I think there’s an opportunity for our state if we take action,” said Rep. Hamilton. “So, I wanted to bring together that youth voice with some real actionable items that we can take this year here in the Statehouse.”

Rep. Hamilton says it’s great to see so many young people so engaged in changing their communities to become more sustainable. She believes young people are more engaged about the topic than the rest of the population.

“Right now, we have some of the worse air quality in the nation,” said Rep. Hamilton. “We have some of the highest carbon emissions in the nation and from an environmental quality perspective, we’re at the bottom of the barrel.”

She says there’s a lot of opportunity to improve. Today, she will also introduce three climate action proposals:

  • House Bill 1227: repeal the supplemental fee to register an electric or hybrid vehicle
  • House Bill 1228: restore net metering for renewable energy
  • House Bill 1415: help communities across Indiana build climate resiliency by facilitating investments in storm water management

“We have done nothing when it comes to moving in the right direction for climate in Indiana,” said Rep. Hamilton. “In fact, right now, we are currently debating a bill that will move us backwards and ensure that rate pairs are paying more for the dirtiest energy.”

The bill she is referring to is House Bill 1414 which would require Indiana Utilities to prove shutting down a power plant is required by a federal mandate or in the public’s best interest.

Youth Climate Action Day is also a chance to show young people how to talk to legislators and engage in the process.

“They’re going to learn how to communicate with legislatures, they’re going to reach out to their own legislatures and share a concise message about why this issue is so important to them and their future,” said Rep. Hamilton.

There will be several speakers including three student activists, Martha Abaddi, Vernice Riego and Cooper Tinsley.

Executive director of Earth Charter will also make a statement.

“This is our chance to say that is not okay anymore we need to move in the right direction,” she said.

Youth Climate Action Day is from noon-3 p.m. on the second floor of the North Atrium. A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. Representative Hamilton will formally introduce her three proposals at that time.

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