On Nov. 26, members of Extinction Rebellion Youth plastered the Montpelier capital with banners declaring a climate emergency and urging change to our current climate legislation. This is a part of their movement to have bold climate crisis legislation, which they feel has not been addressed with enough urgency. They are a part of the youngest generation pushing for climate action on behalf of the world and our global community.

They recognize even though steps are being taken to combat the climate crisis, there is much to be done and, at our current pace, climate collapse will not be averted. Energy companies have enough fossil fuels in their reserves to produce 2,795 gigatons of CO2. We are currently burning fossil fuels at a rate that produces 50 gigatons of CO2 a year. This will put us at 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels within the next 10 years.

Getting above 1.5° will make our winters warmer, wetter and shorter. Our winters being damaged will damage the ski industry that brings in millions of dollars every year for our state. The largest impact would be more severe flooding and an increased cost of living to citizens across Vermont. And on a worldwide scale, the effects of climate change are catastrophic: cities are flooding, droughts will exacerbate across the world, wildfires are ravaging our forests. Already an estimated 18 million people have been rendered climate refugees.

As a state, Vermont has a role to play in starting the fight against the climate crisis. By crafting effective policies, Vermont can serve as a leader and help other states and countries follow suit and combat the climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion is calling for drastic change on a global level to address the ever-worsening climate crisis and meaningful action from our elected officials. The action on Tuesday morning was undertaken in the hope of reminding our elected officials that something must be done.

Our Gov. Phil Scott is drafting his budget proposal for this year, and we would like him to know the youth of Vermont cannot be expected to sit back and watch. They will take action and will not stop until bold climate crisis policy has been enacted.

Written by members of Extinction Rebellion Youth Vermont.

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