by Sasha Shyduroff, Organizing Manager, Sierra Student Coalition
Last night over 75 people joined us to kick-off 100% Clean: 100 Actions for Clean Energy.
Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace, started off the call saying, “Students always lead social movements, and you guys are kicking ass!” Following that, we heard from Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club, who expanded on the fact that young people are indeed leading us through their effort to retire dirty coal plants on college campuses across the country.
It was truly inspiring to hear from these top environmental leaders as well as youth activists from across the nation. Radford himself got his start as a high school student living in Chicago. As a young man he was struck by how many people he knew were getting cancer living around the waste incinerator. He expressed that even if one less person was told their mom had cancer it was worth the fight. This sentiment struck a chord with many of us who have grown up with family and friends battling cancer. The health effect of dirty energy was a theme throughout the night. Maura Friedman a student at University of Georgia said that in the South, “We don’t really talk about climate change, but we do talk about health. People get health and the impacts of the campus coal plant on our community’s health”. Jordan Lindsay, a student from Michigan State University said, “We must draw a line in the sand: No more dirty air and no more dirty water. Energy should not cost lives.” Jordan also spoke about the personal sacrifices many in our generation are willing to make in order to take bold action and cited the arrests in DC around the Tar Sands as an inspiration.
We also heard from the students kicking-off October’s month of 100 Actions this weekend: VA Power Shift’s Kara Dodson a student at Virginia Tech, shared how Power Shift will bring 250 young people from around the state to take action. And Florida YES’s Ren Riley told us they are starting their month of action by saying “No to Nukes” and “Yes to Solar Panels”.
One word of advice from Brune, that Radford echoed, was no matter what your action, “Make sure you come out stronger.” Whether it is showing your power to the administration or making your volunteer group stronger, everything you do should build a stronger campaign. That’s exactly the plan with 100 Actions for Clean Energy! By working together across the nation we will build our power as the youth climate movement. This fall, we will redefine what is possible for our campuses and communities through building coalitions and working together to take bold action!
A great way to start is by signing up your October Action at: www.wearepowershift.org/100Actions
If you missed the call, no worries, you can listen to it here: http://www.wearepowershift.org/sites/wearepowershift.org/files/100actions-launch-call.mp3