The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lindsay Meiman,

Millennials Sit-in at Governor's Office: "Trump's a Climate Emergency, Cuomo Show Some Urgency"

Dozens of young New Yorkers risk arrest, urging the Governor to reject Trump’s climate denial


Today, 22 young New Yorkers kicked off 2017 with a sit-in at the Capitol, asking Governor Andrew Cuomo, "are you brave enough to stand up to Donald Trump and save our future?" In the face of the Trump administration actively ignoring climate science and pursuing reckless expansion of fossil fuels, 22* millennial New Yorkers risked arrest on the first day of the New York State legislative session.

"Climate change is a civilizational crisis. Yet our federal government is now in the hands of oil magnates and Wall Street billionaires who profit at the expense of our planet, who are foreclosing on our futures right in front of our eyes," said Jamie Tyberg, 24-year-old climate activist from NYC. "We're wielding our moral authority as young people to demand Governor Cuomo do the right thing as a father, as a New Yorker, and as the Governor of a state with a carbon footprint larger than most nations. If now is not the time for him to be the leader we need, what would it take?"

As the 12th largest economy in the world, participants are demanding Gov. Cuomo lead the country in the fight against climate change by making the Climate and Community Protection Act a key component of his 2017 budget, and by standing up to Trump's catastrophic climate agenda by publicly denouncing Scott Pruitt's denialism and Rex Tillerson's reckless greed.

Donald Trump has appointed climate deniers to every single cabinet position pertaining to energy and environment. Trump's climate denial cabinet includes ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, whose company is currently under investigation from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for its climate crimes, as well as anti-EPA zealot Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.

"Governor Cuomo needs to step up and save our future by calling out the extreme climate denialism of Trump's cabinet, and take the lead on climate change action," said 21-year-old Elana Sulakshana. "Just this week the Governor proposed a free tuition program for all New York State colleges, an amazing step. But what is the point of preparing young New Yorkers for our future if it's going to be foreclosed on by runaway climate change? "

In response to the anticipated anti-science agenda of President-elect Trump, states like California have already signaled a readiness to fight. New York's own Attorney General joined public officials from across the nation last week urging the Trump administration to keep the Clean Power plan intact. Yet, New Yorkers have received nothing but silence from Cuomo.

Participants of the sit-in, representing Western New York, the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, NYC, Long Island and more, spoke out around the urgency of the climate crisis, and shared how climate change has impacted their lives and their communities.

"Donald Trump is a climate emergency, so we're calling on Governor Cuomo to show some urgency," said Samantha Nephew, a 27-year-old member of the Seneca Nation. "New York needs to invest in the communities most vulnerable to climate change and commit to an economy-wide transition to 100% renewable energy. We need to shift how we interact in our relationship with the elements before there's nothing left to extract."

Organizers are looking for Cuomo to mention his intention to implement the CCPA in his State of the State on January 9, and affirmed that today's action is just the beginning of the immense pressure that will follow Governor Cuomo until he takes the necessary bold action on climate to save our future.

350 is building a future that's just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis. We're an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.