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Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, rstaub@earthworks.org

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana—A week after a fire caused residents to evacuate the area, and in coordination with actions happening across the country, young people in southwest Louisiana are hosting a rally to demand President Biden declare a climate emergency on June 10th from 12-2 pm at 2120 Hodges St. in Lake Charles. As the event coincides with the beginning of hurricane season, there will be free hurricane preparedness kits for the community and speakers will offer their first-hand accounts to implore President Biden to declare a climate emergency.  

Southwest Louisiana is at the frontlines of the climate crisis. Lake Charles has been besieged in the last three years by multiple natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and even a deep freeze. Research has proven the significant negative impacts of natural disasters on the mental and physical health of children under 18. Due to the barrage of storms, school enrollments have also been affected in the region. Both Calcasieu and Cameron Parish have lower enrollment rates than they did in 2020, and many blame Hurricane Laura and Ida.

“I think President Biden should declare a climate emergency along the Gulf because we need to protect the people, animals, and the environment. The Gulf is home to so many different creatures and they are being harmed by things like oil spills and pollution. Also as a kid with asthma and eczema, I don’t want to keep getting sick because of the air I’m breathing. We need the President to take action now to protect our homes and make sure we can survive.” said Kamea Ozane, one of the event organizers. 

In response, the youth of SW Louisiana are demanding President Biden take action. They are witnessing the damage hurricanes have brought to their parishes while being poisoned by the industry that’s adding fuel to the fire. Multiple petrochemical and gas corporations have plants and export terminals in the area, whose negative impacts disproportionately affect children. The plants’ emissions also contribute to climate change, which will make storms more frequent and intense. Instead, they want their community to lead the just energy transition, and become an epicenter of green, clean energy. 

“I believe that President Biden should declare a climate emergency along the Gulf coast because the effects of climate change are becoming more evident and it is impacting the lives of people who live here, especially kids. Rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storms are causing damage to our homes and small businesses, and the loss of wetlands is putting communities at greater risk of flooding. We need to take bold action to stop the impacts of climate change and protect the Gulf coast.” said Kami Ozane, one of the organizers of the event.

There will be opportunities for the press to conduct interviews and capture visuals highlighting the significance of this action.

“I’ve now spent a good portion of my life learning, hearing, and speaking about the devastation caused by climate change. I’ve seen young people across the country fight for their lives. It’s important that we, across the country, recognize that our fights are interconnected. The climate emergency doesn’t stop at state lines. We need creative solutions, such as President Biden declaring a climate emergency and passing bold, equitable, climate policy, to protect everyone.” said Issac Smith, Youth Advisory Board member for Action for the Climate Emergency.

The Vessel Project of Louisiana provides disaster relief for our community. We are vessels of love and we want to project that love onto every person we meet.

For a Better Bayou protects and preserves the natural beauty of Southwest Louisiana.