Snowpeople statewide call for taxes on the rich and an end to fossil fuel subsidies
New York State (February 15, 2021) 一 The COVID-19 pandemic has made gathering en masse to protest difficult, so youth activists have turned to building snowmen as a form of dissent. In a weeklong string of distributed actions organized by the New York Youth Climate Leaders, youth from across the state built snowmen outside of their state legislators’ offices. These snowmen held protest-style signs with slogans calling for climate and economic action, in particular the removal of unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies from the state budget and taxes on the ultra-wealthy.
Both of these measures, according to advocates, would help advance environmental and economic equity and address the $16 billion budget shortfall in New York State in a way which spares everyday New Yorkers.
Locations included Assemblymember Abinanti’s Westchester office, the New York State Capitol building, and sites in Long Island, Rochester, and New Paltz.
“We felt that it was important to make a statement, especially here in Albany where our schools have faced massive amounts of budget cuts. As the signs on our snowmen said, we need the rich to be taxed and fossil fuel subsidies eliminated so our essential services can be saved.” said Mandy Berghela, a high school junior from Albany.
Brooklyn Darling, a sophomore at SUNY New Paltz, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought economic hardships upon many New Yorkers, including myself. During the pandemic I have worked 3 jobs in order to pay for college and my future, a future we are not even certain of if we continue on the path of environmental destruction we are currently on. New York needs to cut fossil fuel subsidies and tax the rich to make up for this budget shortfall. This would allow funding to be allocated to essential services New Yorkers support and need, such as Renewable Energy and Higher Education Funding.”
“It’s a fun action because we’re building these activist snowmen, which is kind of silly, but it’s also pretty illustrative of the place we’re in right now. It’s a little absurd that the youth have to pick up the ball that the generation before us clearly dropped when it comes to stopping climate disaster and addressing socioeconomic inequality,” said Erin Zipman, a freshman at Binghamton University.
Bridget Mousaw, a sophomore from Rochester, said, “Though this was a light hearted action, it had a deeper meaning for me and those I was building the snowmen with. We were coming together to express our anxieties- to say that our budget should be in favor of us, our families, and our futures, rather than in favor of the prosperity of corporations and billionaires.”
Samanta the snowwoman said “The climate emergency threatens the livelihood of me and my people. The more the climate warms, the more my people melt. New York State must act now to ensure a future for me, my snow brethren, and all other New Yorkers before it is too late.”
Snowman built outside of Assemblymember Abananti’s Westchester office.
Snowman, featuring Andrew Cuomo’s face, outside of the New York State Capitol.
Snowman built in New Paltz, calling for the end of fossil fuel subsidies and taxes on the rich.
Snowactivist army in Rochester.
As a policy-driven organization of youth from across New York State, we coordinate and empower youth to advocate for comprehensive, equitable, and effective climate solutions. We strive to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life, protect frontline communities, and ensure environmental and economic justice for generations to come.