Blog

On Sunday, April 12 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition's (KSEC) Spring Summit in Lexington Kentucky. We met at an amazingly creative space that hosts students, nonprofits and businesses called The Plantory. The environment allowed for ideas to flow and grow into action plans.

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If you tuned into yesterday's Kojo Nnamdi show on NPR affiliate station WAMU in Washington DC, you may have caught about eight awkward minutes as the president of George Mason University was questioned about the influence of Charles Koch in certain departments of his university.

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My name is Sean Estelle and I am an alumnus of the University of California, San Diego (Class of 2013).  I am the National Divestment Campaigner for Energy Action Coalition, and I’m building a long-term movement for student power to transform our institutions of higher education until they are truly committed to issues of climate justice and social justice.

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They say April showers bring May flowers, but the onset of spring brings other things too. Unfortunately, one of those things is scam artists. For one reason or another they tend to come out in full force just as the winter season comes to an end. Among the door-to-door scammers that come knocking, some will be offering roofing services. The Better Business Bureau calls these scammers “storm chasers” because they tend to come in the wake of nasty weather. While these scams vary, they usually have a few things in common.

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In the five weeks since the Virginia March for Divestment and Virginia Power Shift (VAPS), there has been a monumental shift in Virginia campus activism, and an explosion of activity in the Virginia student divestment movement.

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            At Murray State University the Murray Environmental Student Society (M.E.S.S.) has been focusing on garnering support for the  establishment of  a Sustainable Projects Fund (SPF). This fund is often called a green fee by some campuses and it is a minimal fee of about $3-$5 that would come from student's tuition. The club frames this fee as giving up a Starbucks coffee once a semester. It is a small amount of money that could make instrumental changes for Murray State.

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721 VA > Fossil Fuels. VA BOV (Board of Visitors), Who's Side Are You On?

The youth of Virginia are ready to turn up. They are ready to bring it squarely to the jaw of the fossil fuel polluters. I know this because 350 students showed up in Fredericksburg, Virginia last weekend for Virginia Power Shift 2015. They chose to spend their Valentine’s Day weekend rallying for Global Divestment Day & building a loving movement, and that is why I know we will win.

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Growing up just outside of Houston, in a suburb containing the 6th largest refinery in the United States, the fossil fuel industry was all-encompassing in my childhood. From confusing the refineries’ smoke stacks for what I thought were “cloud-makers,” to knowing far too many family members - beside myself - with developed asthma, I was always peripherally aware of the fossil fuel industry, but never considered deeply what it meant to be raised in the center of an extractive economy.

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Adapted from a Community Power blog post drafted by Lee Samelson with content by John Farrell.

For the last three years, Community Power has been working to secure community control over our energy utilities. In October 2014, we took a big step in the right direction by forming the nation's first clean energy partnership, giving our city direct decision-making power in our relationship with our monopoly energy utilities. The partnership met for the first time last Wednesday. Our community coalition, including neighborhood groups, environmental justice organizations, local economy think-tanks, and youth climate organizations, including Grand Aspirations, an Energy Action Coalition partner, are now working to form a robust community stakeholder group to hold the process accountable and are advancing a 10-point work plan for what we can achieve in Minneapolis in the next 2 years.

How did it happen and can it happen elsewhere, too?

Watch this You Tube Video of John Farrell with Institute for Local Self-Reliance taking part in a panel "What the City of Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership Represents" Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at the MnSEIA conference in Bloomington, MN.

Click here to read more.

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The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC) just celebrated its first birthday. It was a raucous celebration where 60 students from across Virginia converged in Richmond to plan a future free of fossil fuels and make their voices heard in the halls of the Virginia’s capital. Their voices made it all the way to the Governor’s office.

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