Adrian Huq has translated a lifelong interest in a greener world into organizing fellow students to help save the planet.
Huq, a 16-year-old Metropolitan Business Academy senior, is one of the organizers of this Friday’s Youth Climate March Against Climate Death in New Haven, coinciding with similar events planned for a worldwide day of action. High school students from Metro, Co-op, Sound, New Haven Academy, and Wilbur Cross have joined with Hopkins, Sacred Heart, and Yale students to organize the event, which starts at 4 p.m. at the corner of Church and Chapel. It ends with a die-in on the steps of City Hall to symbolize the lives lost to climate change. (Read more here about the event, which adults are encouraged to attend as well.)
The event builds on work Huq and other student organizers have done since the spring, when a series of protests and public testimony led to the passage of a bill declaring a climate emergency and vowing to end community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in a decade. (Read more about that here and here.)
Huq walked over to WNHH FM’s studios in between classes Tuesday for an interview on the “Dateline New Haven” program about their evolution as a climate-change organizer.
Huq lives in Derby; they have been commuting by bus to New Haven magnet schools since kindergarten (when they entered King Robinson). They took an interest in recycling at an early age: “I was always the kid who when peers were throwing something away,” urged them to recycle, and urged them not to waste food.
In high school Huq learned about climate change in classes, then pursued the subject. Huq got involved with an energy efficiency program run by Chris Schweitzer, through which they then joined up with the youth climate group in May to press for the New Haven emergency resolution.
“Youth have a very powerful role” in pressing the world to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, Huq said. “It truly is our future. Climate change will be impacting our generation the most.”
Huq said they’d like to help bring about change in their own school, as well. Huq was excited upon entering 9th grade to see recycling bins. Then they learned that the school doesn’t actually recycle. “That made me feel kind of mad and kind of helpless.” Huq recalled meeting the schools superintendent and raising the issue; they learned the city can’t afford to pay for a recycling truck route. Huq hasn’t pursued the subject because “there’s been a lot of tension on the Board of Education” with the superintendent’s future in doubt. But Huq does plan to revisit the issue with school system COO Michael Pinto if the chance arises.
For a class project, Huq drew up a plan to save thousands of dollars a year in the school’s energy costs by investing $1,000 in power strips into which students could plug in computers and shut off at night. Huq expressed hope that someone will donate the money to make that happen. They hope as well to tackle food waste in the cafeteria.
Click on the video below for the full interview with Adrian Huq on “Dateline New Haven.”