Building Political Power

Wow, what an incredible weekend.

Over 300 young people converged at Florida A&M University for the Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference (SSREC) this weekend, coming together to learn the skills they need to fight big polluters and take action on climate change in their campuses and communities. Young clean energy activists from all over the southeast converged to learn from each other through a series of workshops, speakers, and trainings, and to share with their communities all over the region.

But it didn’t stop there.

We knew this year was a special year right away. Not only was SSREC being hosted in Tallahassee, Florida - the Capitol of a very important swing state - but this year’s SSREC had a renewed energy and spirit that you could feel in the air. With the help of the incredible FAMU Green Coalition, climate activists at SSREC organized an amazing march and rally to call on the candidates to break the silence on climate change and promote true clean energy solutions.

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Written by: Amanda Hill, Junior at North Carolina State University, majoring in Horticulture Science. Below Amanda describes her experience and involvement in The Sustainability Fund campaign at NC State. The campaign was organized by Greenpeace Student Board chair and Campus Coordinator Caroline Hansley

It’s funny how a single idea, a single movement can make waves at a University. Here at NC State in Raleigh NC, a recent addition has been made to the fees paid by students through tuition. I know, anytime there is mention of fees, spending or money when talking about students, people seem to get scared and nervous. However, this go around, there is excitement, joy, celebration and hope for a better future.

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by Shaza Hussein, University of South Florida

On Thursday, the Student Environmental Association (SEA) at the University of South Florida in Tampa joined campuses across the country in a National Day of Action to “Get Dirty Energy Money Out Of Politics.” The students stood – clipboards in hand, cellphones ready, and with plenty of pens – outside the USF Tampa campus’ Student Center urging their peers to make a pledge to the environment with Power Vote.

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The Buffalo River, TN- photo credit to Tim Hobbs

Some of my most treasured memories of growing up and living in Tennessee involve Boy Scout camp-outs, and one trip always stood out above the rest. Every August, my brothers and I would hop in Dad’s Ford F-150 pick-up truck and make the trek with the rest of Dresden’s Boy Scout Troop #40. We’d drive past field after field of corn and soybeans as we drove across West Tennessee and would arrive two hours later at Grimes Canoe Base on the Buffalo River. We’d camp out that Friday night and then spend Saturday canoeing 20 miles down the river, all the while swimming, hiking, jumping off rope swings, and everything in between. It was a beautiful and precious thing to spend that time having those adventures and revelling in the incredible natural beauty of that place with my family and my fellow Scouts.

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I'm writing from Charlotte, NC where the Democratic National Convention is in full-swing.

You can feel it in the convention hall, in the streets, and on Facebook--the pressure is mounting for Duke Energy to stop playing dirty politics and dump ALEC for funding voter suppression.

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Our own David Rickless did a great job of concisely summarizing the highlights (or, rather, lowlights) of the Romney/Ryan energy plan in the latest This Week in Green Politics.

I wanted to expand on his work and provide a post with links to some of the more in-depth coverage and commentary for folks with the time and inclination to do a deep dive into the GOP nominee's recently released energy white paper:

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