By Mike Moen
February 22, 2021
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Young climate advocates are trying to get Minnesota lawmakers to pay closer attention to their concerns about the environment, and they’re played a role in drafting a bill requiring climate justice to be taught in the classroom.
The legislation has input from the Youth Environmental Activists Network, which is tied to the Minnesota-based group Climate Generation.
Maya Hidalgo, a junior at Jefferson High School in Bloomington and member of the Network, hopes it can open the eyes of younger students and how they can play a role in the movement.
“It will give a background on the history of climate change and climate injustices and what solutions there are, as well as employment opportunities,” Hidalgo explained.
The proposal calls on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to assist with developing resources for school districts to use.
The legislation, which would cover grades 1 through 12, has been introduced in both the House and Senate, but it’s unclear yet if either version will get a committee hearing. It’s also not clear yet if the bill faces any opposition.
Hidalgo noted she’s seen evidence of climate injustice in her community with marginalized residents having to live near industrialized areas, and the issue also hits close to home in another part of the world.
“Where some of my family lives in Mexico City, there’s a lot of air pollution there,” Hidalgo pointed out. “And, I’ve kind of seen how that affected my grandma’s lung disease.”
The push to get the bill heard coincides with the group’s Youth Climate Justice Summit, which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The event allows students to talk directly with various lawmakers.