Courtesy of Kiana Flores

At the southwest corner of the New Haven Green, young protestors from the New Haven community gathered this Saturday, chanting “jingle bells, something smells; burning fossil fuels!” 

The activists marched, chanted and delivered speeches in downtown New Haven to raise public awareness of several New Haven Climate Movement initiatives. The “Give the Gift of a Healthy Future” rally involved participants distributing flyers to passersby and featured speeches from several youth activists that highlighted some of the NHCM’s initiatives emphasizing the intersection of climate action and public health; including the group’s Federal Funds Campaign, Climate Education initiative and Electric Future initiative.

“We must not ignore the effects of climate change on developing countries and poorer communities,” said Rosie Hampson, a sophomore at Wilbur Cross High School and the final speaker at the event. “Therefore, we call for strong climate action now.”

The rally started on the New Haven Green, before transitioning to sidewalks across from the Yale Undergraduate Art Gallery and in front of the Patagonia store at the corner of Broadway and York. At each location, youth activists shared speeches.

The four speakers were Adrian Huq, the NHCM Youth Action Team Co-Founder and a sophomore at Tufts University; Kawtar Nadama, a senior at the Engineering & Science University Magnet School; Talia Kolodkin ’25; and Hampson. 

Huq spoke primarily about the group’s Federal Funds Campaign, which asks the city to devote 10 percent of the federal funds it received from the American Rescue Plan towards climate projects. 

“These funds represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give the climate emergency the attention it deserves,” Huq said. “We will continue to push for climate action until we have a piece of that pie.”

Nadama, who is a Climate Health Education Project intern, spoke about the NHCM’s Climate Education initiative, which demands that the New Haven Board of Education “recognizes the impact of climate change on students.” For the group, this means expanding climate change education in New Haven public schools and the implementation of operational changes that cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

In her speech, Kolodkin called for the rapid and complete electrification of New Haven vehicles, appliances and buildings, bringing attention to the NHCM’s Electric Future initiative. In keeping with the rally’s theme, she emphasized the public health benefits of electrification.

Iva Roosien, between playing with her brother and drinking hot chocolate, told the News that climate advocacy work was important because “otherwise I’ll be hot, and I can’t go ice skating when I grow up.”

“A big part of it is my kids,” Claire Roosien, Iva’s mother, said. “I know that in 30 years, when they’re my age, if we don’t do something now, the planet is going to be really different. And we’re seeing the effects already, so [the importance of climate action] barely needs explanation.”

Organizers said that the most energizing part of the rally was the chanting and marching, which they felt emphasized how many people had shown up despite the cold of the day and the busy holiday season. 

“The New Haven Climate Movement is still watching, still listening, still wanting these funds,” Kiana Flores ’25 said. “We want to make sure the mayor doesn’t forget the claims he made,” she continued, referencing the 2019 New Haven Climate Emergency resolution, which calls for net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2030. 

The NHCM’s last rally was held on Sept. 24th. 

Keenan Miller covers transportation in and around the Elm City. He was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, and is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in English and psychology.