by Kelsey Crane, Intern, Sierra Student Coalition
On October 22, FAU and FIU students of the Fl YES Coalition, dozens of other environmental groups in Miami, and Occupy Miami all joined together to hold a Rally for the Environment at the Society of Environmental Journalist’s conference. With over 700 journalists (who regularly write about environmental issues and activism) attending the conference, we decided to give them a story to write!!
Most rallies are organized to fight against an issue, organization, or political figure, but our goal was purely to bring attention to our organizations and get stories written in the local papers. In particular, stopping investment in nuclear energy, placing a permanent ban on offshore drilling, protecting our precious ecosystems and wildlife, and demanding elected officials step up and be leaders for a 100% clean energy future. Many of those in attendance agreed that the environmental issues we all fight are underrepresented in the mainstream media.
Lead organizer Ana Campos of the Clean Energy Coalition of South Florida put it perfectly when she said “We’re preaching to the choir here, but we’re asking the choir to sing louder.”
The conference was located only a few miles from the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. Bright yellow and orange handouts were distributed to the journalists with the statement “You are now in an evacuation zone should there be a nuclear disaster.” At 2:00, the attendees were scheduled to go on a tour of Turkey Point’s nuclear facility. The rally began around 1:30 with over 100 protestors carrying signs, beating drums and chanting in front of the InterContinental Hotel in Miami Florida. At 2:00, journalists walked out of the hotel stunned to find an environmental rally in front of them. Organizers of the Clean Energy Coalition of South Florida personally delivered a list of phone numbers of local organizations to the 700 journalists for interviews and future reference. Campos estimated that almost 300 people came out to the rally, and 100 journalists stopped to talk to us.
<- Photo by Jeff Burnside
There were several articles written by major news organizations including the Miami Herald, CBS, and the SEJ official blog. Keri Hendry, Associate Editor at the Island Sand Paper is Fort Myers Florida, said of the rally “it was so heartwarming to see everyone out there. You guys are on the front lines and I think it's critical to the Green movement to keep the communication flowing so we can all help get the message out to the world.”
Students all across the country are participating in creative activities this month to call upon those in power to create a country run on 100% clean energy. Over a hundred actions are taking place all over the country to bring attention to renewable energy and spread our message that it is time to cut our ties with dirty energy and invest in our future. The voice of this generation is stronger than ever and if we continue with momentum like this our future is bright.
Check out all the great photos on flickr from Stephen Malagodi.
Video by Stephen Malagodi