Last Friday, the New Haven Climate Movement Youth Action Team criticized the lack of funding for climate solutions in the city budget.
To celebrate April Fool’s Day, teens from the New Haven Climate Movement, or NHCM, held a ‘pity party’ on the steps of City Hall to shame the ‘fossil fools’ who they say are have not properly addressed the climate crisis.
The NHCM is a coalition of local individuals and organizations dedicated to climate action. On Friday, teenage organizers handed out prizes to five “fossil fools” and also called on the city to allocate more funds to climate solutions that reduce carbon pollution and improve public health, create green jobs, build affordable and safe streets and transportation options and reduce energy. costs and waste. In the mayor’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, $50,000 of the city’s budget of approximately $700 million has been allocated to the city’s climate change task force.
“Without consistent investment, we can expect the costs of climate change to skyrocket,” said Patricia Joseph, a senior at Engineering & Science University Magnet School. “But we don’t live in a world without alternatives.”
Elisa Cruz, a student at Hill Regional Career High School, and Kawtar Nadama, a student at West Haven High School, pointed to five “fossil fools.” One of them is Yale University because they provide climate education through university courses without sufficient action, such as divestment or electrification, the activists said. Others include the state of Connecticut due to its failure to declare a climate emergency, local business leaders for their failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the city of New Haven due to its lack of of personnel responsible for sustainable development. Finally, the ’60s’ are ‘fossil fools’ because their generation has managed to manage local, social and political institutions while failing to acknowledge their contributions to climate injustice, activists say.
At the rally, Abiba Biao, a student from Amistad High School, described how flooding exacerbated by climate change has directly affected her and called for more funding for flood prevention.
“I wrote my college essay on the floods,” Biao said. “Every couple of years our basement flooded and we had to move. Last year our heater broke and our refrigerators broke. It was a messy process and there was also a lot of water damage.
By 2050, Connecticut’s sea level is expected to to get up about 20 inches. New Haven recently received $160 million in federal funding to build a flood wall at Long Wharf, but the NHCM called on the city to address the climate emergency, rather than just the effects of the climate emergency .
The NHCM has called on the city to allocate more funds for transitioning to 100% renewable energy, improving public health, growing green jobs and implementing fair transportation.
Kiana Flores ’25 also spoke about the benefits of electrification during the rally.
“This is necessary for the health of the planet and ours,” she said. “To reduce emissions, we need to transition as many systems as possible from natural gas to the Connecticut grid, which continues to include more and more renewable energy sources.”
The audience booed when Flores mentioned natural gas. Not only would switching from fossil fuels to electricity reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she said, but it would also reduce air pollution and noise while making the use of more energy efficient.
When Governor Ned Lamont stopped by the rally and heard calls from organizers for more climate change funding in New Haven’s budget, he offered his encouragement.
“Be sure to take this message to the legislature,” Lamont told rally attendees. “Our biggest commitment is to electrify our transportation system.”
Young In Kim, a junior at Wilbur Cross High School, spoke about the efforts of the NHCM Climate Education Committee to pass a climate emergency resolution at the New Haven School Board. This resolution would hold New Haven schools accountable for their contributions to climate change, particularly greenhouse gas emissions from school buses.
The New Haven Climate and Sustainability Framework outlining key strategies for addressing the climate emergency in New Haven was adopted in 2018.