Q&A with Aanchal Agarwal, member of Confront the Climate Crisis and junior
What is Confront the Climate Crisis?
“Confront the Climate Crisis is a statewide campaign working to get climate justice in Indiana. It initially started with the environmental club in West Lafayette that was a hub for action and progress that wanted to incorporate more people across the state in their action. There’s been other movements that tried to create a statewide network, but this is the one that really got momentum off the ground, met consistently and didn’t dissolve. One of my favorite things about it is that it’s a youth coalition and that we don’t really have leadership or a hierarchy or anything like that. Everyone contributes what they can when they can.”
What does Confront the Climate Crisis do for climate action other than striking?
“Striking is super important and it’s a really good way to promote climate advocacy, but there is a certain degree to which protesting and such only goes so far. You can bang on the state horse Statehouse door, all day long. And the reality is, a lot of the senators understand our position. We’ve actually accomplished a great deal by meeting face to face with legislators, emailing them, and having zoom calls with them to go over policy proposals. We’ve found that many of them are understanding of our demands and on board with working with us; it becomes about navigating the difficult political climate and enduring consistent progress is being made. While they say we are inspiring and impressive, we must hold them accountable and make sure they are representing their constituents.”
What is the purpose of the March 19 strike?
“March 19 was Friday’s for Future’s, a prominent youth led environmental organization, global climate strike day. This climate strike is a culmination of all the momentum we’ve been building by gaining signatures on our petition demanding climate action for our legislators and the climate emergency declarations we’ve been establishing in cities across the state. Our ultimate purpose of the strike was to present our letter to the governor backed by Hoosier sentiment of the petition, requesting a meeting with Governor Holcomb by April 22.”
Why do you think it’s important for youth to be involved in climate change advocacy?
“I think it’s important because we are the people who are going to be framing the conversation. We are going to be the doctors treating bronchitis from air pollution; the engineers rebuilding communities after extreme weather events; the ecologists conserving out dwindling diversity; families seeking refuge from changing landscapes. The climate crisis is shaping our world. It is integral that we advocate for ourselves and not leave it in the hands of lawmakers and lobbyists that don’t have a stake in it. We shouldn’t limit ourselves by the fact that we’re young or we’re in high school or we don’t have a degree. Our passion is credibility enough.”0