Campus Action & Sustainability

We're the Ones We've Been Waiting For

Day in and day out the energy at Power Shift HQ is growing. Deadlines are coming and going faster than we can imagine and, every time we look up, another day has come to an end and we're one step closer to Power Shift 2011. Each and every one of us is reeling with excitement about what's about to happen in just 21 days as we take part in the largest environmental organizing training in history.

It's amazing to see that this energy isn't just in our offices. Power Shift attendees are finding incredibly creative ways to share their stories, take action in their communities, and… to simply get here.

At last weekend's regional training events in the Northeast and California, organizers shared their stories about how they got involved in environmental activism.

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Dear President Ángel Cabrera of George Mason University,

As college students of the 21st century, we are well accustomed to budget shortfalls and financial uncertainty. Undoubtedly, the fiscal pressures of running a reputable institution such as George Mason University must be ten-fold compared to those we face as young adults.

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Written by Natalie Cook, YEA! MN Program Coordinator for the Will Steger Foundation

We have wrapped up a fantastic year at YEA! MN.  Our students have wrestled with big issues, learned about organizing, and 606 taken action on projects they care about; all while going to high school, doing their homework, and participating in other community and extra curricular work.  I have never been so impressed and proud of a group of youth- no, scratch that, I have never been so proud of a group of people!

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Over at Energy Action Coalition, we’ve had tremendous fun with bringing together “Storyteller Teams” at big events. What’s a storyteller team, you ask? It’s a grassroots team of people who are dedicated to using the power of social media to share and promote movement stories from a conference or event. We’ve had kick-ass Storyteller Teams at Power Shift ‘13 and the SF Divestment Convergence, and together, these teams have reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people.

Storyteller Teams don’t just happen on their own - they require some planning and recruiting and training and good old cat herding. Below are 9 tips (or rather, lessons we’ve learned) for recruiting and unleashing completely all-star storyteller teams.

Post by Mary Schellentrager and Joe Solomon, Energy Action Coalition

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Despite widespread consensus that climate change is happening and being made worse by humans, fossil fuel companies continue to profit from recklessly emitting greenhouse gases. How to stop this industry run amok that puts our entire planet in jeopardy?

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By Eliza Sherpa & Sarah Arndt (Skidmore College)

In the following editorial, we attempt to apply the study of whiteness to environmental action. We assert first that American society maintains systems of racism and colonization that center and privilege whiteness while oppressing and marginalizing other identities. As a result, the U.S.-based environmental movement is implicated in a racial system. We believe the movement fails to adequately acknowledge or respond to the racialized nature of the politics and processes with which it engages. This failure manifests at multiple levels, including on our own college campus, Skidmore. While the environmental community on campus has attempted to foster an inclusive space and increase diversity, it has failed to do so largely due to misguided approaches. It is necessary for campus environmental activists to identify, examine, and change the ways in which our actions are influenced by racialized and colonizing economic and political systems. This begins with each of us as individuals learning and actively engaging in the constant process of becoming better allies.

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438 By Julia Ho, Emily Alves, Megan Odenthal, Jamal Sadrud-Din, and Georgia McCandlish

At 11am on Saturday morning, 5 student representatives from the sit-in against Peabody entered a conference room in Brookings Hall to meet with Chancellor Wrighton. Forty-five minutes later, we emerged from the meeting with an increased sense of resolve and passion to a crowd of 50 supporters.

The meeting, which occurred on Day 5 of the sit-in, came just a day after ‘Students Against Peabody’ publicly revealed their demands. In the meeting with Chancellor Wrighton, we articulated our demands: 1. Remove CEO Greg Boyce and Peabody from the Board of Trustees 2. The Chancellor must attend community-organized tours of Peabody extraction zones and issue a public statement about his experiences 3. Increased student voice on the board of trustees.

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Crossposted from Greenpeace's blog, the EnvironmentaLIST.

Students at Florida State University are telling Charles Koch to stop compromising academic integrity with multimillion dollar grants that come with strings attached.

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430 I’ve learned many things in my four years at Washington University in St. Louis--not all of them in the classroom. For example, before I became a student at Wash U, I had never heard of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal corporation.

In St. Louis, Peabody ingratiates itself to the local community by posing as a benefactor of the arts, charitable corporate ‘citizen,’ and hero tackling “energy poverty.” It all sounds pretty good until you realize that Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private sector coal corporation whose business model propagates climate change and destroys communities. Peabody’s list of crimes is a veritable laundry list of social and environmental injustices: the destruction of mountains in West Virginia, the forced relocation of Navajo and Hopi Indian tribes in Black Mesa, Arizona, being a major supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which have been strong advocates of controversial legislation like “Stand Your Ground” laws, the destruction of Rocky Branch, Illinois through aggressive mining and logging, and the distortion of democracy here in St. Louis by striking down a city-wide ballot initiative.

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