Posts filed under ‘renewable energy’
This past weekend at University of Florida, over 70 young people from 9 universities across the state joined forces with Southern Energy Network at the Florida Youth Energy Sustainability (YES) Summit. It was an action packed day and a half of workshops and strategizing sessions interspersed with great energy and fun!
The goals of the summit centered around building relationships, increasing communication, and strategizing upcoming campaigns. The Green Fee campaign got a make over. Students from several schools are creating a committee to escalate the campaign and develop a plan to take on the Florida legislature, this time for a win! The anti-nuclear campaign gained more steam and will be one of the networks primary campaigns this year with plans under way to increase pressure at the state and national levels.
Last, but certainly not least, we talked about the Power Shift campaign and how Florida is going to raise their voices to join the chorus of young people demanding bold climate legislation before United Nations Climate Negotiations in December. Florida is ready to have an awesome event in Orlando on October 24th, just in time for the 350.org International Day of Action. Our state has a lot to lose in the face of climate change and we are stepping up to the challenge!
Yesterday at 12:18pm, UGA students gathered on campus for a fun, peaceful, “flash mob”. As synchronized phone alarms sounded, people held their phones in the air joining other groups around the globe in sending a flood of phone calls to world leaders urging climate action.
Why 12:18pm? The 18th day of the 12th month (December) is the final day of the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen where the world leaders must agree to an ambitious fair and binding treaty to avert a climate catastrophe.
Over 1000 similar events were held in more than 88 countries to deliver a resounding wake-up call to world leaders before they meet today in New York for critical climate talks.
Polls show 90% of people worldwide see climate change as a serious problem. Experts say a UN climate pact in Copenhagen in December risks failure unless world leaders revive bogged-down negotiations this week.
“The idea of a global climate wake-up call got going just a few weeks ago, and it’s snowballing into a massive mobilization of millions around the world who want leaders to do more to stop runaway climate change,” said Kelsea Norris, a member of the Southern Energy Network.
“UGA students are taking part to help show the huge level of public concern that climate talks move far and fast enough to deliver a deal that will avert climate catastrophe and unleash a new green economy.”
A broad coalition of major environmental and anti-poverty organisations as well as faith, civic and youth networks – called the TCKTCKTCK campaign for the ticking-clock urgency of climate change – is backing the campaign effort.
Film and photographs from the day’s event will be compiled and shown to world leaders and at theUS premiere of climate film Age of Stupid, to be shown in 400+ theatres simultaneously. Audiences will also take part in flooding their government with calls to get climate talks on track and deliver a “fair, ambitious, and binding” new climate treaty.
Students from the Southern Energy Network will continue to put on events like this to push for climate legislation federally and right here in Georgia. Their next meeting will be on Oct 10th. To find out more or get involved, contact SEN Georgia Organizer Rebecca Van Damm at Rebecca@climateaction.net .
Gone are the days when environmentalists had only to worry about the dirty energy lobby taking our politicians on luxury cruises or using “greenwashing” to trick consumers into believing that products are environmentally friendly. No, the bad guys can’t just stop at buying out our politicians and our message, they have to hijack our tactics too. Exit grassroots. Enter “Astroturf,” a PR ploy disguised as a spontaneous grassroots effort. It may not be a new tool, but it seems to be all the rage right now. Suffice to say, things are getting dirty, as if Big Coal and Big Oil weren’t dirty enough already.
To kick off their efforts to perpetuate the petroleum industry in response to new climate legislation coming from Congress, a group called Energy Citizen held a rally in Houston to fight back. Or did they? Says Climate Progress: “Despite signs and T-shirts, the Houston rally of more than 3,000 people – which was sponsored by a group calling itself Energy Citizens — actually had a boatload of funding and logistical support from the oil and gas industry, according to an American Petroleum Institute (API) memo leaked late last week by the environmental group Greenpeace.” Click here for the full article.
The coal industry has chimed in with their own citizen front group as well: the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security or FACES. My question: who exactly are these people anyway? Grist tried to find out, but upon emailing the only contact on FACES’ website, which listed no funders or members of the group, their inquiry bounced back. You can check out the full article here.
As a grassroots organizer, I have always taken comfort in the idea that there are two major forms of power: money and people. The bad guys might have the former, but when we come together, we’ve got the latter. My question: how do we keep it this way? Watch what real activists did in North Carolina.
— Rebecca Van Damm
The Green Fee campaign in Florida has already seen so much activity this year! The statewide coalition of schools worked closely with Florida Senator Lee Constantine’s office to present a Renewable Energy Fund Bill in the Florida House and Senate. The bill would have provided the necessary legislation for universities in the state system to implement the Green Fee. Florida and Texas are two of the only states that require students to navigate the legislative process in their quest to create funds to increase sustainability on their campuses. For more info and a nice blog hit for the campaign, see this: New York Times Blog Hit for Florida Green Fee!
The legislation flew through the first two committees, and met strong adversity in the third Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who refused to place it on the agenda, but admitted on the floor that her office had fielded “40 or more calls per day” in support of the Fee. She used our display of Green Fee support as a testament to her overall disapproval for raising student fees. Although this is commendable in the face of the economic challenges we currently face, many students feel they should be given the choice to invest in their energy future to support a green economy. Most would be paying less that $20 per year, and with the current maximum being set at $1 per credit hour, the most a student would pay is $30 per year. A minimal investment considering the current peril of our climate and energy security!
So, what now? Well, all of this excitement has stirred up new campus campaigns and reinvigorated old ones! We are going to have a meeting sometime around August to flesh the plans out, but it looks like we are going to redirect our energies back onto the campus campaigns. Having other campuses join University of Florida and New College as leading institutions advocating for the students will increase the pressure on the state legislature to give the students and their universities what they demand: A Green Fee to Support a Green Future in Florida!
For more information, check out: www.floridagreenfee.com
or, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of you know that students in the University System of Florida have been rocking the Green Fee campaign all over! In fact, 10 out of the 11 universities in the state system are actively planning and campaigning to get the Fee on their campus. 5 schools have already passed student referenda in support of the Fee. This year, they took it to the state, working with Senator Lee Constantine to present the Fee in the form of and amendment to Senate Bill 1996. Following the Bill to the floor, students from 5 universities attended the original committee meeting, where it passed 3 to 1 with one absent. They were again present at the next committee meeting where the bill passed unanimously.
Late last night, we got the word that the Renewable Energy Fund amendment, along with Florida Senate Bill 1996 was stalling at the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who opposes the fee, which would allow schools that have approved the fee to implement it. It is not mandatory. The students are asking for it. It is their money!
If it passed, it would allow University of Florida to implement a mere 50 cent per credit hour fee, which would generate nearly $800,000 to be used to increase efficiency and invest in renewable energy. New College of Florida would also be able to implement the $1 per credit hour fee that their students and administration approved, which is the maximum that would be allowed under the legislation.
Please take time to show your support of the Green Fee in Florida! Send the email below, or your version of it, ask your friends to do the same! Help us make it viral! Link this in your Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere!
For more info on the history of this campaign, check out the Florida Green Fee Coalition.
Dear Senator Lynn,
I, _______________________________, am a student strongly in support of the Green Fee currently being proposed for public universities across the state of Florida. Myself, as well as students at five other public universities within Florida, voted in support of referendums on our campuses dealing with funding for the Green Fee. Along with student backing from the remaining Florida institutions, the campaign has grown to all the public universities in the state over the past 2 years. The Florida Student Association has also endorsed the passage of this legislation. Students are not only willing, but eager to contribute financially to sustainability efforts on their own respective campuses.
With Earth Day quickly approaching, supporting SB 1996 would be an incredible effort in the fight against global climate change. With your support and this groundbreaking legislation, Florida will have the opportunity to be a leader in sustainability efforts on campuses across the country. Please support the concerns of university students in Florida by making every effort to see that the Green Fee becomes a reality.
~Youth for Power Shift~
Submitted by Noel LaPlume
Student at Miami Dade Community College in Florida
From the moment our group of 11 people from Miami, FL set foot on the pleasantly cold city of Washington, D.C. we were afflicted by the excitement that penetrated the air. Apparently it was a widespread epidemic, with over 12,000 young people from all over the states convened together for a long weekend with one sole purpose in mind- to rock the House for Power Shift ’09. On Friday night we kicked-off the convention with a series of motivational speakers which were nothing short of excellent, followed by a series of workshops and two great concerts that left us in a sensationally groovy mood.
By the time Monday rolled around, the adrenaline was kicking in to our system as we entered the Congressional House to meet with our Representatives. This turned out being fun rather than stressful since they tended to be inclined to listen to our inspirational voices demanding change- one that would turn our fossilized fossil fuel system to an updated one fueled by alternative energy. They understood. Each and every voice expressed the desperate need to fix the pool of mistakes we have been swimming in for such a long time. Representative Kendrick Meek understood the urgency of the message we were trying to convey to him – it is no longer acceptable to keep swimming idly because precious time is being wasted while millions of ecosystems are suffering from it. Rep. Meek started telling us of strategies we could use to further work in our local town. On the other hand, not every representative in the House and Senate has the ability to see the benefits of investing in this, most are brutally short-sighted and can’t see beyond the end of their own agenda. For this reason, we rallied in front of Capitol Hill amongst thousand of our fellow comrades, where we chanted for a better, cleaner and safer future. Then, many of us continued on to march toward a coal power plant located just a few blocks away from the Capitol. Believe it or not; there we assembled strong and united and carried on our support for a sustainable earth by blocking the entrances to the dirty plant. We endured cold temperatures with inadequate protective clothes for snow, and became very ill because of it, but I know that there are many more hardships to come and I welcome them with glee, for protecting The Earth is the greatest challenge and greatest satisfaction any one person can every experience and so we must keep going strong until we prove them wrong.
Now back home, preparations have begun to spread the good news and experience gained at the capital. The goal is that all 12,000 of us, together but separate, work locally to produce a massive Power Shift in both infrastructure and general philosophy. I’m so excited. Are you? Don’t fret, we’re in this together. Get ready, set, GO !
Southern Energy Network is happy to announce the release of the Green Fee Toolkit! It has been a long time coming, but, finally, SEN staff have put the final edits in and Alex Abell has put on the final design touches.
This Green Fee Toolkit will be a valuable resource to those interested in learning more about the Green Fee Campaign, how to run effective Green Fee campaigns, and the successes and challenges of other youth who have run the campaign on their campus.
Aside from providing insight into the Green Fee campaign, this toolkit can provide structure to other campaigns as well. Although framed within the context of a specific campaign, it provides basic insight into campaign planning and can be applied to all sorts of campaigns on campus and within the community!
As one of the editors of the toolkit, I am excited and proud to present the SEN Green Fee Toolkit! Check it and get with your state organizer for more information!
North Carolina: Russ@climateaction.net
Georgia/South Carolina: Imran@climateaction.net