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Youth Activists Meet With Senator Alting In Effort To Have Climate Crisis Declared State Emergency

Rahul Durai is the legislative director for Confront the Climate Crisis (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Youth climate activists met with State Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) on Tuesday as part of their effort to have climate change declared a statewide emergency. 

The Confront the Climate Crisis campaign is made up of high school students from across the state of Indiana and has been working with Alting to draft legislation.

15-year old Rahul Durai is a legislative director for the campaign and attends West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School. 

“We want our government to acknowledge that climate change is an emergency,” he said. “It’s going to be a systematic effort to mitigate climate change in Indiana and that's what we’re going to initiate.”

Elsa Barron is a community organizer with Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, a religious group that is partnering with the Confront the Climate Crisis campaign to introduce legislation. 

“We essentially have the same end goal of perceiving the climate crisis as the most serious crisis of our time and one that needs direct action now in the state of Indiana.”

Across the country several cities have declared a climate emergency, including New York City and San Francisco. Hawaii was the first U.S. state to declare a climate emergency in April of this year.

Critics of climate emergency declarations have wondered what, if anything, the non-binding resolutions do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or address climate change. 

But leaders with the Confront the Climate Crisis campaign say they plan to release details about a seperate bill with actionable goals alongside their resolution calling for an emergency declaration sometime in September. 

A spokesperson for Sen. Alting said the legislation is a “work in progress” but he plans to introduce the final draft.