BOISE, Idaho — Dozens of Treasure Valley students filled the Idaho Statehouse steps on Friday to celebrate Earth Day and call for climate justice action.
Organized by two youth-led environmental groups — the Idaho Climate Justice League and Youth Salmon Protectors — the rally featured teen speakers and an appearance from Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. McLean was honored during the rally for her efforts to make Boise carbon-neutral by 2050.
Happy Earth Day, Boise! Students from all around the city rallied for climate action outside the Capitol Building. I was honored to be presented with the Outstanding Progress in Climate Action Award but more than that, I was honored to join the next generation of climate leaders. pic.twitter.com/SFyc8Ma7GO— Mayor McLean (@boisemayor) April 22, 2022
Boise High School student Lizzy Duke-Moe, a member of Youth Salmon Protectors, said the groups plan to honor more elected officials taking positive action on climate change. Duke-Moe said the rally highlighted the importance of working together for a greater good.
“We’re all just youth. We’re all working for the same thing, and that’s climate justice," she said.
Many teens at the rally grew up in Idaho, including Borah High School student Lilly Wilson.
Wilson said she fondly remembers swimming in the Snake River and visiting Red Fish Lake, an experience she wants to preserve for future generations.
"This will affect us the most, which is why we have to step in," Wilson said. "Even though youth aren't necessarily the people who started these issues...We are the ones who have to take care of it."
Still, the youth activists said more work needs to be done — and they need state leader's help.
“I want to see all levels of government include climate action road maps or climate action plans for sustainability,” Idaho Climate Justice League member Sneha Sharma said. “Not only say that we’re going to commit to clean energy but actually take action upon it and hold ourselves accountable.”
The student speakers outlined several action items they want to see from officials:
- Increased environmental education
- Incentives for clean energy initiatives
- More youth-leadership positions in local government
- Sustainable water and land use practices