Archive for the 'Week of Action' Category

BREAKING: Student Activists Hang Banner at MSU

Today Michigan State students took action to push their school to go 100% renewable. Here’s what my friend David Pinsky had to say about their situation last week:

The Michigan State University (MSU) T.B. Simon coal plant is the largest on-campus coal plant in the country.

The MSU coal plant burns 200,000 tons of coal every year, and is one contributor to the 31 annual deaths in the Lansing area due to coal-fired power plants.

Since 2009, hundreds of MSU students have been waking up and saying “today I am going to shut down our campus coal plant!” For nearly three years, two student groups, MSU Greenpeace and MSU Beyond Coal, have been working tirelessly to pressure their administration to shut down the coal plant and transition to 100% clean energy.

Following relentless grassroots organizing from students, the administration finally responded – with an unambitious energy transition plan that calls for 40% clean energy by 2030. The plan also contains false solutions such as burning biomass and natural gas. Greenpeace and Sierra Club energy experts have concerns about the methodology used to create the plan. The ultimate goal of the plan is 100% clean energy. However, with a current timeline that extends to 2030, meeting not even half of the 100% goal, MSU students are calling on the MSU Board of Trustees to reject the current energy transition plan.

On April 13th, the MSU Board of Trustees has the power to reject this unambitious plan and demonstrate leadership on clean energy…. ” Read the rest of Davids blog on

This is part of a week of action and students around the country are taking action in solidarity, you can too.

You can tweet about this using the hashtag #quitcoalmsu

On Our Way to Defining Our Decade – Hundreds of Communities, and Thousands of Leaders On Their Way to 100% Clean Electricity by 2020

The Leadership Campaign capped off the Weeks of Action w/ a sleepout and chants of "Nothing more than 350, nothing less than 100% clean electricity!"

In the past two weeks, hundreds of communities had discussions and took action to begin to define our decade with clean energy.

The votes are still being tallied, but over 6,000 people from across the country voted on the world we want to create, and not surprisingly, the results reflect our generation’s ambition! 83% of us voted to make 100% clean electricity by 2020 a priority.  I’m not just excited about this because we now have thousands of petitions to deliver to our politicians (we do, and we will!). I’m excited about it because we’ve developed not only political demands, but things we can strive to collectively achieve.  And although what we’ve settled on is very ambitious, when you look at the goals and plans that local, statewide, and regional groups drew up, you start to get a sense of “YES, we can actually make this happen!”

In the last few weeks, hundreds of groups either developed a local vision for their decade, brought more people into the discussion, or got to work creating it.

Graham is right, for young people “climate is no-debate.” Let’s make sure we show him our solutions

The discussions about how to Define Our Decade are taking off in communities around the country. The Weeks of Action are coming up in 2 weeks, but already young people are having discussions about how they want to define their decade, and taking action to make it happen; this past week dozens of young people turned out at a student-called hearing at Michigan State University.  While preparing for the hearing, they had a discussion about what they want to see in the next decade, and then the next day hit the streets calling for MSU to be powered by 100% clean energy by 2020.

All of this comes at a time when the U.S. Senate continues to try to figure out how to proceed with climate and energy legislation. In a Sunday op-ed penned by Thomas Friedman titled “How the G.O.P. Goes Green,” one of the leading figures in crafting legislation, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina acknowledged that he is inspired to take up climate and energy legislation because of young people on college campuses. Graham correctly points out that young voters are driven by deeply-held environmental values, and more lawmakers would be wise to wake up to this, but Graham’s solutions of nuclear and offshore oil-drilling are both counter to our values and economic interests. Every dollar spent on the dirty energy economy, is a dollar that could have created more jobs in the clean energy economy we must create. That’s why in the coming month it’s essential that we, as the Millennial Generation, further define what our vision for a clean energy economy really is.

Already dozens of events are being hosted around the country that will help us do just that. Check out the event registration page for the full listing and see a couple of highlights below: Continue reading ‘Graham is right, for young people “climate is no-debate.” Let’s make sure we show him our solutions’

Hip Hop Tour Rolls into Washington: We are the Light, Clean Energy Now!

“Give light and people will find the way.” This quote by Ella Baker, civil rights leader and youth activist, sums up the last day of the Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now! Bus tour. Baker mentored young civil rights stalwarts like Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks and Bob Moses.  Today, she would be proud as the new generation of activists rallied behind the need for clean energy jobs and their right to economic equality in our nation’s capital.

Imagine it. After touring the nation and meeting with young people in urban communities all along the way, the Hip Hop Caucus’ Clean Energy Now! Bus Tour brought its message of clean energy solutions to the steps of the Capitol Building for a closing rally.  The event began with music from DJ Biz Markie. His classic beats were heard around the Capitol while hip hop echoed off of our nation’s government buildings. As Biz began, a bus full of Howard University students marched up to the rally with Clean Energy Now! signs and took their place on the stage as one of the nation’s leading universities. Continue reading ‘Hip Hop Tour Rolls into Washington: We are the Light, Clean Energy Now!’

In Which Oregon’s Senators Get Lots of Phone Calls – this Time from OUR Side!

Students call-in at Pacific University Students at Pacific University, Linfield College, and University of Portland are organizing to generate 100 phone calls to Oregon’s US senators within approximately one week, asking them to push for a strong American Clean Energy and Security Act.  Though both Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley are likely to vote for whatever version of the ACES bill is finally adopted, we’re pushing them to take up a leadership role in crafting a bill that:

• Grants at least as much funding to clean energy technologies as to fossil fuel industries

• Devotes $15 billion per year to clean energy research and development – a goal set by President Obama

• Preserves Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act

• Ensures we make real reductions in pollution here in the US, instead of buying pollution “offsets” in other countries

With 1Sky pushing to generate 10,000 calls to senate offices nationwide in the next two weeks, the efforts of these three Oregon colleges – participating in the call-in week as the first major project of the Northwest Fossil Action Fall campaign – fit right in with the national push to produce a strong ACES bill that helps steer the US to a clean energy future.  Now college campuses across the country need to duplicate these efforts. 

A lot of activists are saying that the current version of ACES is a weak bill that will do little to curb US global warming emissions.  Well, they’re probably right; but the only way that’s going to change is if we get down to work and organize young people to contact their senators with the same energy that brough hundreds of thousands of us together to sign the Power Vote pledge last fall.  Pacific University, Linfield, and University of Portland are doing now what colleges across the nation need to do over the coming month: organizing students to call their senators through tabling events, call-in get-togethers, and more.

Hats off to the student organizers at these three campuses making this happen.  Now, want a stronger ACES bill?  Get some folks together, reserve a table on-campus, and start chalking up the phone calls!

More updates on the Oregon call-in coming later this week.

Post-Bali Dispatch: “Lighting Up” a movement in Upstate New York!

Lighten Up Caroline on April 19The bustling halls of the United Nations climate negotiations still ringing in my ears, it’s been an incredible few months since I and other youth delegates from SustainUS returned from Bali. So many friends and neighbors emailed or stopped by to say “Thanks for sending your email updates from Bali!” and “Welcome home!” I still feel the excitement of working with the best & brightest of the youth climate movement around the world.

Upon returning from Bali as a US youth delegate, I was filled with hope that humanity will create a global consciousness by rising to meet the climate emergency. In the last few months, worsening scientific predictions have only strengthened my belief that we are the leaders we seek. It’s up to us. We have the power to make the climate emergency, and the immense economic opportunities we will realize from solving it, our top priority. A bold, broad movement is needed on a scale larger than the mobilization for World War II. This mobilization will only be accomplished by unleashing a renewed civic engagement.

Continue reading ‘Post-Bali Dispatch: “Lighting Up” a movement in Upstate New York!’

Northwest Climate Policy Update: Two Victories and a Setback


As I wrote a little while back, we Cascadian Climateers here in the Pacific Northwest just wrapped up two weeks of kick-ass climate action. Since our two weeks of action wrapped up with Cascade POWER SHIFT and Cascade Climate Network Citizen Action Lobby Days on February 11th, we’ve already seen two big victories (yay!) and one disappointing setback (boo…). Here’s the summary on the policy front:
-Oregon’s Governor Tells Feds to Put Brakes on LNG Development!
Governor Kulongoski calls for a halt in the permitting of proposed LNG terminals until an independent study examines the need for new natural gas supplies in Oregon and determines the global warming impact of LNG importation!
-Washington Climate Bills Pass House of Origin, on the Way to Final Passage!
The Washington House and Senate both passed climate change bills on Tuesday that were supported by the Cascade Climate Network. The bills are now heading to the opposite chamber, where they are expected to win passage and be signed into law.
-Oregon Climate Bill Stalls, May Die This Session…
Hyped-up industry opposition may prove enough to scuttle a climate bill in the Oregon legislature during the short, first-of-its-kind Oregon special session. The bill passed the House Energy and Environment Committee but may not see a floor vote before the short session ends.

More below…

Continue reading ‘Northwest Climate Policy Update: Two Victories and a Setback’

Cascade POWER SHIFT Summit Wraps Up Two Weeks of Intense Northwest Climate Action!

Cascade POWER SHIFT 2008, the Northwest’s largest youth climate summit, ended on February 11th, wrapping up two weeks of intense climate action across the Northwest that also included nearly 50 Focus the Nation events across the region on January 31st, a giant rally in Oregon’s Capitol to oppose new liquefied natural gas importation on February 6th, and Oregon and Washington’s first-ever youth global warming lobby days in both Salem and Olympia on February 11th.

That’s a lot of climate ass-kicking! No wonder I’m exhausted today…

Cascade POWER SHIFT registrationCascade Power Shift: Mobilizing Youth for Climate Justice took place February 8-10th at the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, and brought together over 200 young people from more than 20 colleges, universities and high schools across Oregon and Washington. The weekend summit was followed by a Citizen Action Lobby Day on Feb. 11th in both Salem and Olympia brought dozens of students and youth to their state capitols to amp up both youth political engagement as well as politicians’ response.

Entirely volunteer-driven and youth-organized, the weekend was sponsored by the Cascade Climate Network, the new network of Northwest youth climate activists, and pulled together people from across the region for a blow-out event aimed at training, engaging and activating hundreds of youth in the region to take on the most important challenge and opportunity of our generation: climate change. Continue reading ‘Cascade POWER SHIFT Summit Wraps Up Two Weeks of Intense Northwest Climate Action!’

SC Students Polar Plunge: “Keep Our Winters Cold! our Waters Clean!”

movie of SC students’ Polar Bear Plunge

On Saturday, December 8, students and conservationists from all over South Carolina braved cold weather and colder water to raise awareness about climate change and clean water. The message? “Keep our winters cold! Keep our waters clean!”


Polar plungers wearing nothing but bathing suits stood by the banks of the Reedy River in downtown Greenville, as local community leaders discussed climate change impacts on South Carolina, especially on our water resources. Student activist have sent over 500 postcards in the past two weeks, to South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, in order to help stop the proposed 1,300 megawatt Pee Dee Coal Campus facility outside Florence, South Carolina. The plant is expected to emit a ridiculous 9 million tons of Carbon Dioxide, and nearly 140 lbs of Mercury into the already heavily contaminated Pee Dee River.

Students, community members, and non-profits throughout the state, anticipate hard times for the developments of Santee Coopers Coal Plant plans, and rejoiced Saturday as the U.S. Department of Interior seemed to join the cause , requesting a halt to, and recommending termination of the plants proposal.

“With thousands of miles of rivers and lakes already impaired by contamination and drought, South Carolina’s freshwater resources cannot bear the threat of climate change,” said Colin Hagan, a graduate of Furman University. “So we are baring our swimsuits in December.”

Continue reading ‘SC Students Polar Plunge: “Keep Our Winters Cold! our Waters Clean!”’

“We Want More”

powershift-34.jpgI’m going to join everyone in saying that Powershift was absolutely mind-blowing! The energy there was incredible and no words can describe what we all felt when we were together as a growing movement with its eyes on a clean energy future. We are ready to take this to the next level. It’s Getting Hot In Here should continue to grow and tell the stories from around the world (see here). I wanted to share with everybody Ted Glick’s Future Hope Column for this week. Ted, one of the best activists in the nation, has been fasting for over 60 days now. He was at Powershift sharing with all of us young people the incredible energy that this movement has. His column sums up what most of us feel like after Powershift:

Words fail me as I try to figure out how to capture in words the profound significance of the student-based Power Shift conference which took place November 2-5 at the University of Maryland and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Historic—Powerful—Deep—Amazing—Awesome—Astounding—Incredible—Hope at the Highest Level: these are the adjectives and phrases that come to mind.

So what happened?

Continue reading ‘“We Want More”’

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