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Camping For Climate Action: Students Take To Statehouse Lawn For Two-Day Protest

Front of Vermont Statehouse
Angela Evancie
VPR File
A student-led campout is set to take place on the front lawn of the Vermont Statehouse, from Thursday until Saturday. It's part of an effort by activists to push Vermont leaders to address climate change.

Starting Thursday afternoon, a group of activists will camp on the lawn of the Statehouse to push Vermont leaders to address climate change.

The student-led campout, known as “Climate Encampment: Youth, Migration and Agriculture,” is set to last 48 hours and will include workshops and what organizers call a "reclaim the street dance party."

On Friday, students will hold a "Youth Strike" akin to the event to support the protest. Student leader Asa Skinder said organizers are encouraging students to skip school to attend the strike.

"I think the area schools have been fairly receptive to it," he said. "But at the same time ... the whole movement has been billed as a strike, and a strike isn't necessarily supposed to be accepted. So hopefully people will understand that, and not feel as if they have to be held accountable."

Montpelier-Roxbury Superintendent Libby Bonesteel said students are "demonstrating their civil rights" by attending the event, and she said the school district values social activism.  

More from VPR — Students Take To Streets In Vermont And Across The Globe For Climate Strike [Sept. 20]

The event coincides with other climate change protests that have occurred around the globe in recent weeks, including last month's climate strike. The motive for this latest protest, Skinder said, is to pressure Vermont leaders to take action.

"The Vermont state government has had many chances to take even small actions and they've passed them by. So we're trying to tell them to get their act together," Skinder said. "The Democratic Party has a supermajority so they can pass anything they like if they could agree on it, but they've shown that they aren't willing to do that in this past term."

Skinder said protesters are "looking forward to bundling up, and weathering [the] storm," as they're going forward with the campout despite the inclement weather.

The event is set to begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. and end Saturday at 5 p.m.

Henry worked for Vermont Public as a reporter from 2017 to 2023.
Anthony Rodriguez Jr was VPR Fall intern in 2019 for the newsroom.
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