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On Primary Day, Young Maine Activists Voice Their Concerns At Portland Rally

Willis Ryder Arnold
Maine Public
A young activist at a US Youth Climate Strike rally Tuesday in Portland outlines his concerns on the back of his hand.

At a rally outside Portland City Hall Tuesday, young climate activists called on voters to consider the future of the world's climate when they cast their ballots in the primary election.  Thirteen-year-old Anna Siege was among about 30 activists and supporters who attended the event. Siegel leads the Maine chapter of the group US Youth Climate Strike.

"So we want candidates to think about renewable energy as soon, as fast as possible," Siegel said, "preferably 100% by 2030, but also coupled with just transition, because we can't leave people behind - workers with no jobs."

Credit Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public
Maine Public
About 30 young people and supporters attend a rally Tuesday outside Portland City Hall to call attention to issues affecting youth.

Rally organizers said they want presidential candidates to find ways to reach carbon neutrality in an equitable way, and to consider the workers of the future.

Emma Sawyer, of Maine Youth Climate Strikes, said young people will call out presidential candidates who pay only lip service to the idea of reducing the nation's carbon footprint.

"We need to not just be purchasing carbon offsets that are happening in other places so that we can say that we are being green when we are still producing the same amount in the same spot and creating a dirty hotspot in the environment," Sawyer said.

Sawyer said it’s important for youth activists to make their voices heard at political events like Tueday's primary to help voters understand how their choices at the ballot box affect young people.