Pelican Climate Activists Rally at State Capitol

Twenty-five Loomis Chaffee students and two faculty members rallied with hundreds of students and other concerned citizens from across the region on Friday December 6, at the Connecticut State Capitol to demand action to address climate change.

Among the attendees were members of the newly-formed, student-led Loomis Chaffee Climate Activism Club, whose objective is to draw the attention of and demand action from lawmakers and other people in power to the dire and immediate need to reverse the growing global climate crisis. Science teacher Neil Chaudhary ’05, who serves as the group’s faculty advisor, and Eric LaForest, Keller Family Director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good, accompanied the students at the rally.

The climate strike was the second Hartford rally at which a cadre of Loomis students mustered this school year. The event was organized and supported primarily by grassroots environmental and social justice organizations, including the Sunrise Movement, the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, and Connecticut Climate Change Mobilization. Participants, including student activists and faculty, said they were encouraged and energized by what they saw as renewed and sustained community interest in addressing environmental concerns.

"The brief time left to act on climate change is dwindling day by day,” Neil commented. The strikers’ demands at the protest included: a meeting with the Governor; a seat for youth on the Governor's Council on Climate Change; a ban on new fossil fuel plant construction in the state; efficient and transparent management of the state’s energy efficiency fund; and mandatory climate education in Connecticut's public schools. Neil said the action reflected “what those of us involved in the work already know: The movement for climate action in Connecticut and around the world is becoming better organized, more diverse, and more determined by the day."

Senior Anya Sastry, a vocal leader for climate action and social justice across campus and nationwide — she serves as state lead for the U.S. Youth Climate Strike organization in her home state of Illinois — spoke to the crowd gathered on the capitol steps to communicate the groups’ demands and rally community support.  

While at the Capitol, the Loomis cohort also met with Paul Mounds ’03, who serves as Governor Ned Lamont’s chief operating officer. They discussed the planned Killingly Gas Plant, the construction of which the Climate Activism Club opposes. 

Future plans for the Pelican climate activists include more on-campus political advocacy and lobbying training, and support of environmental sustainability and social justice initiatives across campus, in local communities, and further afield.

Connect to a gallery of photos from the event taken by senior Kelly Eng.