There is something stirring in North Carolina. Summer break is here; everywhere you turn there are festivals and post-exam parties lighting up the atmosphere. Students are recuperating from a hard year of work, and it’s expected that we spend this time off relaxing with friends and family in the sunshine.
What's not expected is that student climate organizers from seven schools across the state would come together during the first weeks of the summer with the incredible vision of mobilizing our campuses around energy issues on a scale never before seen in the Tar Heel state.
For the last four days, fifteen students representing all aspects of university life from environmental organizations to economics majors, huddled in a small cabin up in the mountains under a common vision. We came together to share the key ways we see our institutions moving forward over the next few years. In spite of the diverse representation in the group, one theme dominated the weekend- We are moving our campuses away from reliance on dirty energy, and into a new realm of clean solutions that support our ecology and our communities as well as secure a future of green jobs for college graduates.
Some of us have met before to discuss this dream, but many of us are experiencing the first years of college life and are just being introduced to the climate movement. What does it say about our future when seasoned organizers can come together with new movement builders, immediately agree on what needs to change, and work tirelessly for days to come up with strategic plans to move our state forward?
We are organized, we are directed, and we are passionate about ushering in change. This weekend, we collectively agreed to major long and short term goals for the NC SEN. We are tired of our universities teaching sustainability and progress, while investing millions in new coal fired power plants over clear renewable solutions like wind and solar. North Carolina has the highest wind energy potential of any state on the Eastern seaboard. NC students are realizing that now is the time to utilize the incredible potential of our state in order to become a sustainability leader in the country. It is the youth that is stepping up to make this future a reality. By the end of 2015, we strive to have all NC Student Energy Network schools to commit to adopting a renewable energy policy of at least twice the state mandate (currently 12.5% ) by the year 2021. In order to accomplish our goal, NCSEN is kick-starting a statewide campaign through clear messaging that moves us away from false solutions and toward real change.
Watch out Duke and Progress Energy, the youth of North Carolina has woken up to the reality that our poor energy choices have created for our families and our environment, and we know that change begins at home. We look forward to the incredible ground swell that is stirring in North Carolina, and welcome any allies that wish to work with us.
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