As a tribute to the inspiring Climate Generation series, I thought I would re-publish this early history of Energy Action, originally written in December 2005.
A History of Energy Action
We each arrived on the scene from different beginnings. Billy Parish, Adi Nochur, and Meg Boyle were taking time in and out of school to pull together a powerful new climate coalition in the Northeast U.S.. Maureen Cane, Arthur Coulston, and Marcia Winslade were establishing their own sustainability network in California after a major clean energy victory at one of the nations’ largest university systems. Lindsay Telfer and Jeca Glor-Bell were spearheading an innovative sustainable campuses initiative in Canada as part of the Sierra Youth Coalition. Nick Algee and Liz Veazey were storming through the American Southeast shouting “Green Power” in the heart of coal country. Tricia Feeney and I were building a national student clean energy campaign with the Student Environmental Action Coalition. We were joined by networks, campaigns, and individuals from all corners of the US and Canada, all committed to bringing about a clean energy revolution. With relatively little national organizing experience and few of us over the age of 25, we set out to tackle the beasts of global warming and dirty energy by creating a North American youth and student clean energy and climate coalition rooted in unified action.
Thanks to the efforts of more than 20 environmental networks and organizations and more than 300 student campaigns for clean energy across the United States and Canada, the student and youth clean energy movement has become a powerful force for change locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. As is so often the case with important movements, our network grew out of several small, but forceful local examples initiated by students and young people. In the mid to late 1990s, Middlebury College, Tufts University, Northland College, and University of Vermont all made significant clean energy achievements. Students played an important role at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where the seeds were planted for a concerted international response to the problem of global warming. Between 1997 and 2001, University of Vermont, Tufts University, Cornell University, and Lewis and Clark College in Oregon had all committed to or achieved the greenhouse gas emission reduction levels called for in the Kyoto Protocol. By 2001, 55 colleges in New Jersey had committed to reducing greenhouse gas levels to 3.5% below 1990 levels. The student campaign, “Kyoto Now!” at Cornell was particularly important for the growth of the national movement.
Continue reading ‘Climate Generation: A History of Energy Action (2005)’