I’ve always pictured extreme air pollution as something that only happens in China, where coal power plants, manufacturing, and insane car traffic create suffocating smog. Not until I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma in 2013 did I consider the role of air pollution and air quality in my personal health. Inhalers help me manage my asthma, but I still occasionally struggle with shortness of breath.
When I learned that my representative to Congress, Keith Ellison, would be hosting a forum on air pollution and asthma, I knew I wanted to attend to learn more about how I can personally campaign for cleaner air.
Lobby Day this year at the capitol was an all around amazing experience. I came on the bus from my school, the School of Environmental Studies (SES), with some other high school classes. When we got to our meeting location near the capitol we were met with many amazing adults and students, around 400 people were there that day. In preparing to talk with our lawmakers and meeting with other concerned students it was amazing to see how many people cared about the issues we came together for. This year on Lobby Day we came together to work on increasing Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard up to 40% by 2030.
The Clean Energy and Jobs Lobby Day this past Monday was a huge success. Well over a hundred high school students from around the metro took time out of their busy lives to come to the Capitol and lobby their representatives to support a 40% renewable energy standard in Minnesota by 2030. It was a great demonstration of the power youth have when we come together and push for something we believe in.
Lobby Day was a very interesting time for my peers from Burnsville High School and me. Having taken the bus to the Capitol, I was very excited to see what was to come that day. I spent weeks helping YEA! MN gather students from my school for this awesome event. When reaching the church nearby for training, I was very interested by the speakers who discussed our agenda.
The Youth Democracy Summit on January 17th was an extremely powerful and motivating experience. It was inspiring to see such a multitude of strong, smart, and driven young organizers all in one place. Going to the small-group panel on sustainable transportation in the 21st century was interesting to me because I was able to gain a perspective on the transportation issues that are present in greater Minnesota. Growing up in Minneapolis, I have always had many different transportation options available to me. I have the luxury of great bike lanes and bus routes that can efficiently get me anywhere in the city. People living in places like Mankato or Duluth don’t have those options, which then becomes an equity issue. I wasn’t aware of these things until we discussed them in a group with people living all around the state.
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