Nevada Youth Fights for Clean Power

The battle for clean energy has been hotly contested in Nevada and ACE Action Fellows have proven to be key stakeholders fighting for clean power that is equitable and inclusive.  

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring the story of Las Vegas Fellows taking action on issues such as the Clean Power Plan stay and the unfavorable December 2015 net metering ruling in Nevada. Today, let’s look back at an incredible November 2015 speech delivered to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection by ACE Fellow Anyssa Candelaria, to remind us why we must continue to fight for clean energy:

Hello everyone, my name is Anyssa Candelaria, but you can call me Annie. I’m 15 years old and a second year student at Foothill High School in Henderson, Nevada. I really care about our planet’s climate and I have spent the past year working as an Action Fellow at ACE.  I should be in school right now but unfortunately this hearing has forced me to make a choice I shouldn’t have to make.

I’m here because I believe the administration of the Clean Power Plan must be inclusive. Nevada needs more input from young people like me and other hard working community members. Nevada needs to understand the values and needs from its diverse communities.

But before I speak on that, I’d like to talk about climate change specifically. Climate change isn’t some myth or some children’s story. 97% percent of scientists believe it is human caused. Yet, I read an article about how 27 states are opposing the Clean Power Plan, and that Nevada refuses to outwardly support or oppose it.

Nevada needs to be clear about the science of climate change and its impacts on communities.

You see climate change isn’t just an environmental issue it’s a justice issue as well.

In the U.S. and around the world, low-income communities and people of color are most affected by climate impacts. For example, studies show that race is the No. 1 indicator of the placement of toxic facilities. People of Color are far more likely to live next to a landfill or coal-fired plants than white Americans.

These communities have the most at stake when it comes to climate change, and have a critical role to play in designing solutions.  That’s why it’s important that hearings like this take place outside of school and work hours. The community must have a seat at the table.

It’s also clear that renewable energy should be a priority for the Clean Power Plan in Nevada. Nevada has the potential to be a national leader in clean energy and offer solutions that are fair for everyone. Right now, 51% of voters think Nevada has not been doing a good job developing renewable energy sources. We must change this. We have an abundance of sun here in the Las Vegas Valley. And clean energy jobs in Nevada, like solar, are projected to increase nearly 11% in the next five years. We must support the increased job growth by creating fair policies for Rooftop solar​ and other renewable resources.

Jobs are hard to come by for the people most impacted by the social unfairness of climate change. I understand how it feels when a parent loses their job. My father was always a confident man, but he lost that confidence when he lost his job. And It made me feel helpless.

This is part of the reason why I care so much about the future of Nevada and this planet. I spoke last year at a rally supporting net metering, I’m speaking about it again next week at the Public Utilities Commission, and I’m going to continue to support renewable energy and fairness.

Let’s please create an inclusive clean power plan.

And please don’t make me have to choose again between attending school or speaking about how to carry out a fair and inclusive plan for all Nevadans.

Thank you.

At just fifteen years old, Anyssa was the first person in Nevada to offer public comment about the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to the office overseeing the CPP, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Her powerful testimony gives a voice to the concerns of young people around the country. Anyssa and thousands of young people in all fifty states are stepping up for their right to a clean energy future as part of the the Get Loud Challenge. Join the Challenge and add your voice to the chorus of over 100,000 young people who are raising the volume on climate change.