Posts filed under ‘opportunity’

Join SEN in Atlanta on May 26 to Support EPA Regulation of Mercury & Air-Toxics

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed a rule to set a national emissions standard for the mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, the largest source of mercury pollution in the country. Tomorrow, the EPA is holding a public hearing in Atlanta – giving the Southeast an opportunity to testify in support of the new rule. Join SEN at the hearing to take action and support the new mercury emissions standard and stand up for the health of Georgia’s communities!

WHEN: May 26, 2011, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

WHERE:  Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center

61 Forsyth St. SW
Atlanta, Ga. 30303-8960

CONTACT: Jenna Garland, SEN Georgia Organizer – jenna@climateaction.net

If you are unable to attend the hearing tomorrow, take action by signing the petition in support of the mercury and air toxics regulation!

Coal-fired power plants are the primary emitter of toxic mercury pollution in the US, and Georgia’s own Plant Scherer is the 7th highest emitter of mercury in the country. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that has particularly harmful effects on the nervous systems of fetuses and children. It’s estimated that 20% of women in their child-bearing years have mercury levels in their hair that exceed federal health standards.

Humans are primarily exposed to mercury through consuming contaminated fish that come from polluted rivers and lakes. The mercury pollutants emitted by coal plants typically fall within a 60-mile radius, and with 12 coal-fired power plants in the state, Georgia’s rivers and lakes are at extremely high risk for mercury pollution. To learn more about the dangers of mercury and coal-fired power plants, read the 2011 report from the Environmental Defense Fund.

Join us at the EPA hearing in Atlanta to support the proposed mercury and air toxics emissions standards. In addition to mercury, other toxins emitted by coal-fired power plants stand to be regulated, like arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases. The EPA estimates that regulating these pollutants could prevent “as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year.”

If you are unable to attend the hearing, you can take action by submitting written comments to the EPA until July 5, 2011 and by signing the petition here. For more information on how to make public comment, visit the EPA website. The EPA states that they will finalize the rule in November 2011.

May 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

US EPA Holds Mercury Hearing in Atlanta – Join us May 26!

US EPA is holding a public hearing in Atlanta, GA on May 26, giving us the opportunity to testify in support of a new rule to regulate toxic mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Sign up here!

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule to set national emissions standards for mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. The environmental community has been waiting for nearly 20 years for this rule. It’s a necessary step toward reducing toxic mercury emissions from coal plants nationwide.

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May 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

North Carolina Primary Election: An Important Political Moment for Our Generation

I haven’t had much of an appetite lately… With the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, confirmed reports of bio-diversities continued global decline, and another delay in adoption of a National Climate Policy,  my stomaches been in knots. Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep myself from sulking, and have found some inspiration through a critical political moment.

The North Carolina Primary Election kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday May 4th). Turnout for mid-term primaries is historically low, with young people being in the lowest turnout percentage. Regardless, with everything going on in the world, I feel compelled to do my part to flip that trend in 2010! I realized more than ever that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for and we will be the ones to define this decade.. Therefore it is up to us what the future looks like.

Polls are open from 7:30a.m – 6:30p.m. To find your polling place CLICK HERE

Here are 4 reasons you need to cast your vote this mid-term election

  1. Almost every ecosystem and resource on the planet is in a state of decline
  2. We’ve got to change the political tides and we need the strongest leadership to do that
  3. Your voice counts and now is not the time to be silent.
  4. Turnout in Mid-term elections is low, that means, as young people, we can have a HUGE impact!!
  5. Because they are just as important, if not more so, as Presidential Elections.

Please share this Facebook link with your networks to get others to vote this Mid-term Election.

Vote and Voter Early!

May 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Take aways from the NCSE Conference

Written by Lorena Hildebrandt, SEN Steering Committee Member & Winthrop University Student.

Earlier last month, I was privileged to attend the National Council for Science and the Environment’s conference in Washington, D.C. on the creation of a new green economy with several professors and another student from my university. Scientists, academics, and policy makers gathered to discuss alternatives to our current economic system. It was incredibly exciting to participate in the dialogue of a new economic model that incorporates ecological principles rather than the externalization of the true costs of production at the expense of human health and the environment.

Many new ideas and innovative concepts electrified the air in the Reagan conference center, but there were some that remain especially prominent in my consciousness as an activist. One was a question posed by author and filmmaker John de Graaf, whose work criticizes the environmentally detrimental endless treadmill of consumption capitalism generates, otherwise known as affluenza. In a workshop designed to create policy recommendations to the Obama Administration, Graaf asked about a dozen of us, “what is the economy for anyway?” Graaf was questioning policy that places the market and GDP above all other considerations such as human health/well-being and the environment. I think this is an important question to keep in mind as we seek solutions to environmental problems through policy. What is our economy for anyway? Are there sacrifices we can make?

I was most struck by Gus Speth, former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and his closing speech. His message resonated with me as an activist and student studying environmental history and environmental political theory. Speth spoke about the history of environmentalism in the U.S. beginning in the late 1960s and early 70s with an orientation known as survivalism. Surivialism stresses the limits of growth in a world of finite resources. He spoke about how there was an outcry from the public, creating an imperative for action. This new ecological movement created momentum for new environmental policies in the latter part of the 20th century.

Speth warned however, that “early successes have locked us into patterns of environmental solutions” that are no match for the ecological crisis we have at hand.    After four decades of environmental work opting to work within the system rather than fix it, Speth explained, “here we stand at the brink of world destruction.” His inescapable conclusion? We need “a new environmentalism in America, the world.” This new environmentalism amounts to the incorporation of not just environmental reform but political, social, and economic reform – a new progressive movement holistic and conscious enough to act for solutions that are deeper than traditional models.  As an activist, I think this level of consciousness regarding the destructiveness of our current systems is good to keep in mind while engaging in political advocacy work.

For more information on the National Council for Science and the Environment and research on environmental issues check out: http://ncseonline.org/


March 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

Power Shift Carolinas is here!

Power Shift Carolinas is here! Weeks of planning have culminated in hundreds of students gathering at the campus of UNC Chapel Hill this weekend. This morning we heard inspiring speakers that reminded us that we must take this movement beyond conferences and meetings. They reminded us that the climate movement is not so unique from any other social movement. We are all seeking a new paradigm that addresses issues of domination and oppression of people’s livelihoods. Students braved crisp October weather as we sat in an outdoor theater and were reminded that being green is not always easy, despite what retailers often make us think.

Stephanie Powell, of the Southern Energy Network, rallies the crowd.

Stephanie Powell, of the Southern Energy Network, on stage.

I have now stepped away from the workshop halls where my peers are learning skills that they will take home with them to teach to others.  Away from the Power Shift hub-bub I find myself on a plush sofa in the UNC Chapel Hill student union with a TV blaring beside me and students munching on disposable platters that will soon disappear into a waste stream that terminates in an unknown place. I remember that I’m responsible too, we all are.  Seeking climate justice is going to be a long winding path that won’t end with a federal climate bill and won’t end in Copenhagen.

Here at Power Shift I join some of the most amazing people I know. These are friends who constantly motivate and inspire me with their passion and energy and make me believe that it is possible. As Marcie Smith, said this morning, “it is the incremental steps and actions that are building to a tipping point in this movement and that will lead us to the future we seek.”  Power Shift Carolinas is proving that people throughout the U.S. Southeast are ready – are you?

October 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

GA YES! Says “NO!” to Coal

by Brittany Forrestal – Southern Energy Network Activist and Intern

When it comes toIMG_2536 climate issues in the state of Georgia, there’s a lot of work to be done. I know this, you know this, and, as it turns out, we’re definitely not alone.

Last weekend, Georgia Youth for Energy Solutions (YES!), the new youth-organized Georgia branch of the Southern Energy Network, joined more than sixteen student organizers from across the state in Milledgeville, Ga, to launch a student organization dedicated to creating a coal-free Georgia. Students from Georgia Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Emory University, Mercer University, and the University of Georgia all showed up to represent their campuses and collaborate with other students to create a coal-free Georgia.

After hours of recruitment calls, a night of lunch-packing, and an early-morning drive to Georgia College and State University, we found ourselves exhilarated by everyone’s shared enthusiasm. Every single person present showed genuine interest and genuine excitement about the opportunity we have. We can stop coal in Georgia. We have great resources, we’re intelligent, and we’re passionate about our fight.IMG_2540

We spent the morning talking about the dangers of coal, discussing Georgia’s current coal situation, and brainstorming strategies and tactics to end coal in Georgia. The real highlight of the day, however, came after lunch, when we all loaded up and drove to Sandersville, Ga, which is the proposed home of coal-fired Plant Washington. We went to the local Kaolin festival in downtown Sandersville, where we handed out flyers and talked to locals about the dangers of coal. It was a soaring success; we were able to meet dozens of residents and find out where they stand and give them really important information about the plant, while enjoying the atmosphere of the festival and the beautiful weather.

After our Sandersville adventure, we wound up at a beautiful cabin in the woods, only a few miles from where Plant Washington is proposed to be constructed. There, we discussed final plans, formulated an action timeline for the next few weeks, and we agreed to continue working on this campaign both collaboratively and on our home campuses. It was an amazing day filled with amazing brainstorming by amazing students. Needless to say, I had a great time.

IMG_2552There is one thing in particular, however, that I’d like to mention. I think it’s safe to say that after visiting Sandersville and talking to its residents, we all felt a renewed obligation to fight this coal plant. I’ve known about this plant for a long time now and I’ve known about how dangerous and detrimental it will be if it is built, but it all seemed so abstract to me. I realized that this plant would affect me and millions of other Georgians, but I suppose I never felt personally connected to it. This weekend, that all changed. I saw the city, I saw the beautiful countryside where the plant is supposed to be built, and I felt a new urge to end coal in Georgia.

So now, I’m asking that you all help in the fight. On October 20, the Environmental Protection Division will have a hearing to give citizens an opportunity to voice their views on the coal plant. It’s open to the public and we need to get as many people as possible to show up and express opposition to the plant. The hearing is in Sandersville and it starts at 6pm, with a 5pm information session from residents and field experts. Please register here to attend the meeting. Bring friends! Bring family! Bring posters and t-shirts and an opinion. We’ll be there in all our anti-coal glory. Will you?

-Brittany

October 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Florida is Power Shifting Away from Nukes and Drilling!

Now, more than ever, Floridians need to stand up and show we are ready to usher in a brighter energy future. An energy future that is just and safe for all and uses truly renewable sources. An energy future that neither relies on fossil fuels nor creates a legacy of radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years. Want solar in the Sunshine State? Florida needs a POWER SHIFT!

Right now, Washington is leading us in the wrong direction. Check out what Senators John Kerry and Lindsey Graham have to say in their  NY Times Op Ed yesterday.

The emphasis Kerry and Graham place on expensive risky nuclear, the mythical “clean coal,” and coastal drilling leaves Florida wondering when the sun will shine on our economy? The United States as a whole needs bold action to protect our climate and secure our energy. Drilling does neither–instead it maintains our dependence on dirty oil, and it does little to reduce our need for foreign oil. Nuclear is the ‘thirstiest‘ energy out there, requiring millions of gallons of water per day. These technologies do not bring the jobs we need, but renewables will!

Florida has a lot to lose in the face climate change, but so much to gain from real solutions. We need solutions that are safe, clean, renewable, and create jobs! Join hundreds of other engaged and passionate young people as we demand a Power Shift in Orlando, FL Oct 23-25 at University of Central Florida campus Arena.

Have 15 minutes? Here are 2 things you can do Right Now:

Attend Florida Power Shift! We were 6,000 strong in DC back in 2007. In March of this year, we doubled that number and really showed our legislators that young people in our country are serious about climate change and are here to support strong action toward real solutions. Now, we are bringing it home to Florida to demand safe and renewable energy. Don’t miss the early Registration Friday 10/16!

Contact the Florida Public Service Commission and tell them you won’t pay for their nuclear reactors! Email contact@psc.state.fl.us and Reference Docket # 090009. Progress Energy and Florida Power and Light want to charge you now for reactors that may never be built. Please contact them today! Need talking points? Check this out.

Please contact me with any questions!

Hope to see you next weekend in Orlando!

Mandy Hancock
Florida Organizer, Southern Energy Network

mandy@climateaction.net

October 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

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