Blog

Invigorating

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August 25, 2015

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When I interviewed with for the position of Executive Director of Energy Action Coalition a few months back I was asked what keeps me motivated.  Without hesitating I said, “The dedication and enthusiasm that young people bring to this work.”  It is days like today - days in which young people demonstrate how much they are willing to risk for the future of our world - that are completely invigorating.

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Hi, I'm Ingrid

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August 22, 2015

Hi, I'm Ingrid and I'm fourteen years old. And as a fourteen year old I don't have a lot of authority. I've got parents, teachers, older siblings, employers, that old lady down the street, all telling what to do and when to do it, because according to the popular stereotype, I'm just a silly teenager who only cares about boys and when I can go to the mall next. As a person who doesn't fit this stereotype I can assure you that there is tons of frustration that comes with being a teenager who wants to be taken seriously.

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I first heard about Midwest Unrest and the upcoming action through a friend. I was canvassing in Michigan for an environmental organization at the time, and our campaign was working to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard. I had just finished talking to a rather enthusiastic believer in the righteous power of coal and had very little patience for suburban households when I received a phone call. My friend called and asked how I felt about being arrested at the front steps of Secretary Kerry’s residence in Washington, D.C.

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WE WILL NOT REST!

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August 21, 2015

My name is Kieran Williams, and I’m an organizer for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment at Kalamazoo College. I’ve been a part of this fight for a while now, but by no means do I consider myself a seasoned organizer or activist. I’ve been involved with divestment and reinvestment on my campus for only about a year now, and I got involved with tar sands resistance just a few months ago. I have been in constant struggle balancing all of the campaigns we are fighting and trying to determine where exactly my body, my voice, my talents, and especially my passions are most useful.

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   “Do you really think it’s going to make a difference?”

            Those were my sister’s words when I mentioned I would be joining a protest in Washington D.C. with Midwest Unrest to halt illegal actions by Tar Sand Oil Company, Enbridge.

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My first exposure to the idea that tar sands are a particularly dangerous form of oil extraction and refinement occurred in an environmental science class my sophomore year at Kalamazoo College, where I was told that it takes about a barrel of oil’s worth of energy to extract and refine every four barrels of oil from tar sands.

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Often on a hot summer festival day, I'd hear a friend sigh, "I wish we could go swimming," gesturing towards the Kalamazoo River. I'd laugh and say "No one goes swimming in the Kalamazoo River unless they want to grow an extra limb or eye." I repeated this phrase frequently to my out-of-state Kalamazoo College friends walking by the river beneath Kalamazoo Valley Museum, but I didn't fully understand the origins of the toxicity until very recently.

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Hi, I’m Lydia, the new Executive Director at Energy Action Coalition! I’m spending my first few weeks talking to lots of people about their priorities as we chart a bold future for EAC — and that includes you!

I am so excited to introduce myself to you all! My name is Lydia Avila and I am the new Executive Director of Energy Action Coalition. It is such an honor to be joining this powerful movement of young people driving forth a bold agenda for climate justice.

Like many of you, I first started organizing in college when my university was considering major fee hikes that would have saddled students with even more debt. It was a sense of justice that drove me to join my friends in a campaign demanding the university to keep education affordable — and it is that same pursuit of justice that drives me today.

Right now people in our country need justice. The impacts of pollution and climate change are being felt by those least responsible for the pollution: people of color and the poor. The people who see coal plants and incinerators in their backyards are the same ones who bear the brunt of income inequality and racial discrimination.

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I’m not one to talk about the science of climate change. I assume that at this point everyone has decided to lean into the reality of climate science - or has chosen to disengage and hope that things get better on their own. But as a recap of what we know: climate change is happening now; it’s driven by our consumptive, wasteful lifestyles, and an addiction to fossil fuels; and, the fossil fuel industry has a both an incredible amount of power and an economic interest in our world holding on to our fossil fuel dependence.

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752 PowerShift 2007 (photo credit Ellen Epley)

The years I spent supporting the Energy Action Coalition as student leader, and then as staff of a partner organization deeply infulenced who I am today. I grew as a person, leader, and professional through the opportunities that were supported by EAC. Eventually I stepped back, but news of my good friend and mentor Liz Veazey stepping up to once again lead EAC through a critical transition into new leadership sent me calling. As an “Alumni” I felt a bit of nostalgia and responsibility to support the coalition and person who had been so influential.

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