Sayville Students Urge Town of Islip
Sayville High School's Suffolk Student Climate Action Committee Urges Town of Islip to Go 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030
With a petition in hand signed by over 300 Islip Town residents, Sayville High School students spoke at Tuesday’s Islip Town Board meeting to challenge the Town to go 100% clean electricity by 2030. The students also secured an one-on-one meeting with Supervisor Angie Carpenter to push for results.
Town officials looked up from their phones to intently listen as the impassioned teenagers urge them to combat climate change by reducing the Town’s carbon emissions and following New York State’s lead by transitioning to clean energy within 13 years.
Sayville High School Senior Chloe Gaconnier, Junior Hannah Bishop and Sophomore Eric Stenzel led the effort for the Suffolk Student Climate Action Committee and Sayville high schools environmental club SWEEP. “What we here today about climate change sounds like an apocalypse rather than my future, but it is my future” said Ms. Gaconnier. “The science is real, we see the effects in our backyards and we will fight for this not to be our future” Gaconnier continued.
New York’s annual temperatures as already risen 2.4 degrees F since 1970; 16 out of the 17 hottest years in history have occurred since the year 2001; 2016 is the third year in a row to set a new record for the highest global average surface temperature.
The students identified issues that were exceptionally prevalent on Long Island. “Our shellfish industry is in jeopardy due to possible salt water intrusion and warming waters, our insurance rates have sky rocketed due to severe storm surges, we are losing our woodlands to the Southern Pine beetle due to increased temperatures costing upwards of millions of dollars. This isn’t just an environmental issue, this is an economic issue”, says Mr. Stenzel.
They were quick to applaud Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbodt for highlighting solar energy and geo thermal as her priorities as Councilwoman. “We were pleased to read in your Town of Islip bio that you will help champion clean energy for your Town residents” said Stenzel.
“The Town of Brookhaven is going 50% by 2020, the Town of Easthampton has a goal of reaching 100% renewable by 2020 and the Town of Southold is also on the same path. This is doable and reachable,” said high school Junior Hannah Bishop.
The Suffolk Student Climate Action Committee is partnered with the Climate Reality Project that also helps communities go 100% renewable by providing road maps and resources. Bishop followed that up with her acknowledging it’s up to her generation to fix our climate issues, “While it is not this generation’s fault for the global climate change, this generation is the last generation that can prevent the worst of what global climate change entails. We hold the future’s fate in our hands and history is watching. Taking responsibility is our duty and I will gladly take on the pressure if it means saving the planet earth”.