I am writing on behalf of Sunrise Middlebury, a chapter of the national Sunrise Movement youth climate activist group. We would like to express our support for Senate bill S.148, an act relating to environmental justice in Vermont. The bill will establish a framework that will guide and stimulate action on long-term work in the fight against climate change, initiating larger conversations about environmental justice. Marginalized communities in Vermont should not only be represented, but specifically addressed, within Vermont’s environmental policy. Senator Ram Hinsdale’s S.148 does exactly this by focusing on housing, food, transportation and other environmental inequalities experienced by economically and racially disadvantaged communities.
It is vital that this bill passes in its entirety with bipartisan support and is backed by a strong budget. Despite the mandate by the state’s 2021 Environmental Justice Act to introduce a plan to address environmental injustice, Vermont remains without a statewide policy addressing environmental justice, one of the most essential components of climate change action. Sunrise Middlebury strongly supports the legislature passing this bill and Gov. Phil Scott signing it.
Sunrise Middlebury urges all Vermont residents to express their support for S.148 to their elected officials as well as when voting in Vermont’s 2022 house race in November. You can identify your elected officials at https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/all/2022. Our response to a changing climate must recognize those most impacted, namely low-income folks and people of color.
If interested in environmental justice and supporting S. 148, please consider attending Middlebury's sunrise meetings at 6 p.m. in Hillcrest 103 on Thursdays or remotely at go/sunrisemeeting. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Kyle Hooker is a member of the class of 2024 and a member of Sunrise Middlebury.