High school and college student leaders from some of the state’s foremost climate groups are rallying for climate action in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, youth leaders from across Maryland came together for a rally to urge the state’s legislators to act on climate and guarantee a liveable planet for future generations. In particular, high school and college students are asking the state to pass the “Climate Solutions Now” and FUTURE Acts in 2021.
Youth supporters include Sunrise Maryland and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, as well as student leaders from Morgan State University, Bowie State University, and University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“My favorite part of climate solutions now? The now,” student leader Hannah Fox from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said. “Why now? Now because we can’t wait any longer. Now because 1 in 9 people globally do not have access to clean, safe water. Now because data indicates that sea level and temperature rise won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Now because the unprecedented number of extreme natural disasters is only going to increase. Now because there might not be a later. Climate change is happening now, so we need solutions now.”
The “Climate Solutions Now” Act will commit Maryland to net zero emissions by 2045, take immediate actions to draw down carbon, and center workers and justice in state climate plans. The bill was recently passed by the Senate. Meanwhile, the vision set out in the FUTURE Act will commit Maryland’s public universities to reaching net zero emissions by 2035, using smart, community-focused carbon offsets.
“We demand that our politicians grow to the responsibilities of passing the Climate Solutions Now and Future Acts,” Sunrise Maryland Political Committee Chair Piper Gross said. “We need drastic action on the climate crisis, for the people we love and the places we call home.”
“As a UMBC student, I would particularly like to challenge Speaker Adrienne Jones, a fellow Retriever, to be a champion for the climate by passing the strongest possible versions of the “Climate Solutions Now” and FUTURE Acts,” UMBC Eco-Ambassador and MSCAC Delegate Erin Koslosk said.
As the state with the second-most tidal shore communities at risk of flooding, Maryland is already starting to lose islands (like Fox Island) in the Chesapeake Bay due to sea level rise. Maryland’s flooding risk extends far beyond waterfront areas, as was evidenced during two “thousand-year floods” in Ellicott City within 22 months.
“Grassroots activism has so much power.” Morgan State University student Cimiya Duffin said. “Those who have been disproportionately affected by climate change deserve to be given the tools and education to help the environmental development of their community through a grassroots viewpoint.”
Rising temperatures have already damaged the health of the Chesapeake Bay, weakening the tourism and seafood industries that support many Maryland livelihoods. Maryland has the fourth most premature deaths in the nation caused by dirty energy-created air pollution. The 2020s are projected to bring more severe storms, more dangerous flooding, and more extreme heat.
“As adults, and especially as people in government, our legislators have a responsibility and a moral obligation to leave the world a better place than they found it,” MaryPIRG Student Climate Action Coalition Campaign Coordinator and University of Maryland, College Park student Reese Barrett said. “It is past time to act, but they can start with these bills by taking real action that leaves a legacy telling their children and grandchildren, people like you and me, that they love us enough to protect the planet we will inherit.”
Over 100 organizations across the state will continue pushing for passage of the “Climate Solutions Now” and FUTURE Acts. The Maryland General Assembly for 2021 ends April 12th. The “Climate Future Rally” can be viewed on the CCAN Action Fund Facebook page. Direct link to the live YouTube stream can be found here. Photos with legislators will now be Tuesday, March 23rd, at 11:00am in Annapolis.
The Climate Solutions Now Coalition is a statewide umbrella group bringing together dozens of organizations and individuals working to strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change.
Laura Cofsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-642-9336
Emily Frias, email@example.com, 443-558-6497
Reese Barrett, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-818-7373