Bella Crane is a New York State Fellow and a junior at Columbia University where she studies Sustainable Development and Middle Eastern Studies. She first got involved with Our Climate in the Spring of 2018 through her internship at The Years Project, a partnering organization which focuses on inspiring environmental activism through social media outreach. She is interested in pursuing financing of renewable energy projects.
On November 30th, I had the opportunity to venture up to Albany with Nicole, the New York State Director for Our Climate, and the other New York state Fellows. We met with four State Senate Legislative Directors to discuss important climate policy and the pressing issues facing our state, which was an incredible opportunity for me. I learned so much about lobbying and advocacy, and most importantly, about the environmental and economic issues facing many other New York districts. Additionally, I loved meeting the other Our Climate Fellows from across the state; walking through the state capital building, appreciating the magnificent architecture and art, and preparing for each legislative meeting together was truly a bonding experience!
As a resident of New York City, I wasn’t aware of many of the economic and environmental problems facing upstate New Yorkers, and hearing the pressing issues as described by these State Senate staffers was an eye-opening experience. It was reaffirming to hear that every Legislative Director we met with, on both sides of the aisle, are just as worried as we are about increasing greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to global climate change. From discussing the possibilities of renewable energy and its positive impact on job growth, to the importance of clean water, to the impact of climate change on agriculture, it was clear that even conservative State Senators have an appreciation for encouraging positive environmental practices within their districts.
Our hand-written letters, which we delivered to each district’s State Senator, along with our face-to-face meetings were positive steps in the right direction for encouraging our elected officials to act on climate. The 2019 legislative session will be eventful, and we strongly encourage our State Senators and Assembly Members to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA). I look forward to continuing to advocate for the CCPA and to begin to introduce the concept of pricing carbon emissions, as outlined in the Climate and Community Investment Act!
I can’t emphasize enough how inspiring it was to not only get involved, but to see first hand the welcome reception we received at each State Senators’ office. The one refrain we heard over and over again was to continue to be active in advocating for climate legislation both within the district and across the State. It is so easy to get involved, and something as simple as a phone call or a letter can, at the end of the day, have a huge impact on how your representatives will cast their votes. Now more than ever it is important to make our voices heard and to support climate legislation across the country!