AUGUSTA — Kirsten Frost, 12, a student at Maple Tree Community School in Readfield, has her planet on her mind when she composes letters to restaurants and stores.

“I want them to ban plastics,” she said.  

Jacqui Ordway, left, of Bridgton, and Josie Charland, of Fayette, yell back a response to a speaker during a climate change rally Tuesday on the plaza between the Burton M. Cross State Office Building and the Maine State House in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Having each completed an assignment for Earth Day in which they explored topics such as deforestation and animal habitat loss, Kirsten and her classmates Kaila Danielson, 14, Greer Slater, 11, and Josie Charland, 13, were inspired to attend the Maine Youth Day of Action. Their screams could be heard as they chanted with Gov. Janet Mills that “there is no Planet B.”

The Maine Youth Day of Action was organized by environmental action groups concerned about effects of climate change.

“It’s very important we have a green future,” Josie said. “This will be our Earth, and it’s important for us to start taking care of it right now.”

After a rally in front of the Maine State House, the participants were encouraged to testify for the Green New Deal, LD 1282, a bill that addresses climate change by pushing the state to use more renewable energy resources — 80 percent by 2040.

Three-hundred fifty children represented Maine’s youngest generation at the rally.

“You guys will have reach,” Jon Hinck, of the Portland Climate Action Committee, told three ralliers outside the State House. “The legislators want to be on the same side as the kids.”

Damara Stratis, Trinity Hamlin and Glenn O’Brien, all of Windham, waited outside the State House — a calm contrast to earth-pounding energy that was outside.

The House was still in session, and the three were not sure if they’d be able to connect with their local representative — but if they could, Stratis and Hamlin, seniors at Windham High School, would consider any reprimand for ditching class worth it.

All three faces lit up when Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham, exited the session to speak with them.

“Solar energy is really important to me,” Hamlin told Corey, saying she is planning to get a degree in electrical engineering.

People hold signs as they listen to speakers during a climate change rally Tuesday on the plaza between the Burton M. Cross State Office Building and the Maine State House in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Home-school mothers Courtney Byers, of Waldo, and Anna Shapley-Quinn, of Monroe, brought their young children, because they said it their children’s futures that will be affected.

“It’s showing them that young people are powerful enough to make change, and this is how we make change together,” said Byers, whose children are 9 and 6.

As a farmer, Shapley-Quinn said that she spends a lot of time raising animals and people — two pursuits she felt were at stake.

“I feel very fierce about having a planet where all humans can thrive,” said Shapley-Quinn, whose children are 8 and 4.  “We need to redefine our quality of life — not in terms of what we can consume, but the integrity of our relationships.”

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