Colleges and universities have tens of billions of dollars of purchasing power, so working to green your school’s purchasing of everything from electricity to food to financial services will lead to a greener economy! Check out a great outline of how to get involved in greening campus procurement from AASHE’s Sam Hummel, who I worked with when we were both students on spreading campus renewable energy and sustainability initiatives around NC and the Southeast and who then became the Sustainability Coordinator at Duke University. He was involved in this work as a student and a university employee, so he has some great advice. Read the article here.
Great posts so far in the Climate Generation Series and it sounds like more to come in the next week. I was very involved in the youth climate movement from 2001 to 2009, and now kind of like Meg, I’m trying to figure out what to do now. I’ll talk a little about how I got involved, some of my observations about the movement and some of my thoughts on the future.
Some of my history
I worked with many others at the University of North Carolina to create a student-funded renewable energy account, which has since funded solar hot water panels and geothermal projects on campus. It was one of the first Southern student initiatives for clean energy. Then some of us from UNC joined with others from Duke and NC State University to put on a Southeast regional conference to help spread similar initiatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency to campuses around the region. The South as a region uses some of the highest energy per capita and the dirtiest energy in the nation.
The world including the sea level, climate, and landscape has been shaped by the power of ice for billions of years. And now, as we’ve pushed co2 concentrations well beyond historical ranges (at least the range of the last 800,000 years), ice is becoming harder to find. There’s even the potential that earth may become ice free in the near future. I never really thought much about ice and it’s importance in my life and the lives of others, and most of my interactions with ice involve ice cubes and freezer burn. And, although some people may never even interact directly with ice, “one quarter of Earth’s population will within another decade be affected significantly by lesser snowfall and glacial ice loss. That number translates to two billion people–and most of them live in Asia.”
“A World Without Ice” is a new book by Henry Pollack that examines geological, biological, and human history and how it has directly and indirectly been shaped by ice. This historical context (from billions of years ago and even into 2009) creates a foundation that prepares the reader for not only to understand the importance of ice in our earth’s system but also the huge and immediate threat posed by the current climate crisis to humans and all species on earth. Pollack is a scientist, has been a professor for more than forty years at the University of Michigan and was a member of the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007. read on for more on the book, the opportunity to send in questions for the author and the chance to win a copy of the book!
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the long-standing deception campaign against global warming. Although, you may think it’s over–just as Ross Gelbspan did in 2005 and Gwynne Dyer in 2008–but James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore’s Climate Cover-Up tells us it’s now going stronger than ever (at least in terms of funding). Hoggan is a partner in a Canadian PR firm and, as a co-founder of the Desmogblog.com, he has been digging up dirt on climate deniers since 2005.
Although, I had some understanding of of this “climate cover-up” I liked to think of it as mostly over, too. It was sobering and frustrating to learn more details about this ongoing campaign and its success in the minds of a majority of the public. I think as someone fighting for bold climate action it is really helpful to better understand folks fighting against you and how they are organized. I would definitely recommend the book, especially if you, like me and many others, felt like the climate denial campaign was mostly over. Read on for more details about the book, my thoughts and links to recent related news.
Continue reading ‘Climate Cover-Up’
I have recently moved to Oregon and I just attended my first energy hearing on the West Coast. As someone who comes from the Southeast US, it was extremely refreshing to be at a hearing that was about a regional energy plan focused on efficiency, conservation and renewable energy and NOT about any new coal or nuclear plants or reducing mining protections! The plan was created by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, a group created by Congress to give the citizens of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington a stronger voice in determining the future of key resources common to all four states. The plan is definitely more on the right track than anything I’ve seen in the Southeast, but considering the dire status of our climate (a new study predicted that even with some carbon cuts we will see 6.3 degrees F of warming by 2100) including our need to reach 350 ppm of CO2 from our current 387, the plan must go further.
COAL RIVER VALLEY, W. VA.—Moments ago, four concerned citizens entered onto Massey Energy’s mountaintop removal mine site near Twilight WV and have begun to scale a 150-foot dragline machine to drop a banner that says, ‘stop mountaintop removal mining.’ The climbers plan to stay on the enormous dragline, a massive piece of equipment that removes house-sized chunks of blasted rock and earth to expose coal, until police arrest them. Equipped with satellites phones and a web camera, the climbers will be available for interviews.
This is the first time a dragline has been scaled on a mountaintop removal site, and marks the latest in a string of increasingly dramatic protests in West Virginia by residents and allies from across the country. This act of protest against mountaintop removal comes just days after the Obama Administration announced a plan to reform, but not abolish, the aggressive strip mining practice.
On June 23rd Dr. James Hansen, a leading climate scientists and environmental hero, will join community members in Coal
River Valley, West Virginia to launch a year of activism to end mountaintop removal coal mining. Blowing the tops off of mountain ranges to harvest dirty coal harms the people and places of Appalachia, destroys the economic potential of the Appalachian Mountains for clean energy opportunities and furthers the burning of climate killing coal.
Dr. Hansen and the people of West Virginia need you and as many friends as you can muster to come to West Virginia on June 23rd to help build the wave of activism needed to stop mountaintop removal this year.
This is the year we must stop the most ecologically and culturally destructive form of strip mining on earth.
44 activists young and old were arrested at Cliffside action in downtown Charlotte today. Great action and rally through Charlotte stopping at Governor Purdue’s office, Bank of America and Duke Energy Headquarters. See more below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2009
44 Arrested for Protesting Duke’s Climate Hypocrisy
Energy Giant Talks “Green,” Then Builds More Coal Plants
CONTACTS: John Deans, Greenpeace, 919 829 5504 (c) 207 319 6850; Liz Veazey, Southern Energy Network, 919-619-5964
Charlotte, N.C.— Police arrested 44 people for participating in a protest of Duke Energy’s plans to add massive additional coal burning to the company’s Cliffside plant. Those arrested include: Jim Warren of NC Warn; Bo Webb Coal River Mountain and Mike Roselle from Climate Ground Zero in Appalachia; Larry Gibson with Mountainkeeper, and Mike McCoy-from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth; and several Rutherford County residents where the construction is underway. They will likely be charged with second-degree trespass.
Continue reading ‘Fourty-Four Activists Arrested in Charlotte, N.C., for Protesting Against Cliffside Coal plant’
by Mandy Hancock, SEN Florida Organizer
Hi, all! Things have been moving and shaking down in Florida these last two weeks, and while we may not be overjoyed at nuclear and coal being included in the “Clean” Energy Standard that the House passed yesterday (more on that coming soon!), let us temper that with some good news about the Green Fee!
As many of you know, the Green Fee is a campaign that Southern Energy Network (SEN) has been involved with on campuses all over the Southeast for more than 2 years. In FL, we have stepped those campus campaigns up a notch and taken it to the state level with the Renewable Energy Fee Bill that is being presented during this legislative session.
And, we have good news!!
Monday, it was confirmed that the bill was going to make it to the floor on Wednesday, so Zak Keith, Florida Green Fee Coordinator extraordinaire, worked quickly to organize a lobby day. Tuesday evening (March 24), several students, representing University of FL, University of Central FL, University of South FL, and Florida State University, went to Tally to lobby for the bill on Wednesday. Also, to our advantage, this coincided with University of Central’s student government lobby day. So, a contingent of that delegation of students lobbied on the Green Fee, as well as other issues that concerning their student population.
Wow! Yesterday’s Capitol Climate Action was amazing: shutting down the gates to the coal plant for 4 hours with no arrests! There were more than 2500 people from around the United States and even the world participating including Dr. James Hansen, Vandana Shiva, Robert Kennedy Jr., and members from a variety of organizations fighting for clean energy and against coal extraction and new coal plants around the country! Folks affected most by coal extraction were at front of the march including folks from Black Mesa Water Coalition, Coal River Wind, Coal River Mountain Watch, Ketuckians for the Commonwealth and more! Many were excited by the announcement last week by Pelosi & Reid to switch the plant from coal to natural gas as a first step, but we know natural gas isn’t clean and we need to switch away from fossil fuels entirely. As we marched, many chanted: “Let’s organize: no gas, no coal, no compromise!”
The story’s been covered by USA Today, Democracy Now!, Fox News, Huffington Post & more!
See lots of pictures and find out more about the action here