Through the work of an intergenerational team, 350 Maine is engaging young people in their sustainable futures and supporting their initiatives to address climate change.
Engaging Youth Sustainability and Climate Justice Groups
We're helping guide young leaders in their efforts to fight for a sustainable climate system. High school ecology clubs in Scarborough, Kennebunk, and Cape Elizabeth have come together to create The Maine Youth Environmental Association (MYEA), and they're growing throughout the Greater Portland area. MYEA has already fought for the solar bill, and played a significant role in the Maine Climate Protectors' petition to decrease Maine's greenhouse gases. They also participated in a student climate summit and rally and had their first MYEA convention this past spring.
Maine Youth for Climate Justice (MYCJ), a new coalition that formed this year with energy from the youth climate strikes and Sunrise Movement, has provided the platform for young people all over the state to take the lead on initiatives like organizing the April 23rd Youth Day of Action. Our role in 350 Maine is primarily to serve as adult allies. We take this commitment seriously, directly supporting MYCJ through this working group and our partnership in the Maine Climate Action coalition.
Image courtesy of MYEA
Supporting National Youth Led Movements
350 Maine's Youth Engagement Working Group supports national youth-led climate organizations like the Sunrise Movement and Our Children's Trust through local actions in Maine. In October 2018, 350 Maine held a Candlelight Rally for the #TrialoftheCentury in solidarity with the the Youth v. Gov plaintiffs. As the Sunrise Movement grows and continues to advocate for a Green New Deal, 350 Maine is throwing watch parties of the latest livestreams and demanding that Maine Senators and Representatives support the Green New Deal.
School Strikes for Climate
On Friday February 8th, inspired by fifteen year-old Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, five middle school students from the Friends School of Portland — all members of YELL [Youth Environmental Leaders League] for Climate Justice — left their school early to strike for climate justice.
This movement has only grown throughout Maine, as students across the state, ranging from elementary school to college students, organized multiple strikes and rallies on Friday March 15th, part of an international day of strikes for climate action. 350 Maine's youth engagement team, along with many other intergenerational organizations, utilized their organizing resources to support these students.
Portland rally, courtesy of Shawn Patrick Ouellette at the Portland Press Herald
To learn more about this initiative, read here.
LET'S KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING - Youth Day of Action in Augusta
The state house in Augusta was buzzing with young energy on Tuesday April 23rd. About 400 Maine youth from 20 schools—elementary, middle, and high school, and college—left school to demand that climate justice be a priority for all state lawmakers. The Youth Day of Action was organized by Maine Youth for Climate Justice, and supported by adult allies and organizations involved in the Maine Climate Action coalition.
Photo credit: Susan Gatti
350 Maine feels such gratitude and appreciation for all of the young people, teachers, parents and volunteers who made the Youth Day of Action possible—thank you! We look forward to standing by your side in the fight for climate justice, including policy changes in Maine right now that will give youth a better chance of a habitable and safe earth.
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