Written by Greenpeace Semester studentSofía Szmirnov.
I have just completed my first day of the Greenpeace Semester, a training program in Washington, DC for young people to gain the knowledge and skills to become environmental leaders. I have joined the Semester because I believe with hard work and commitment we can change the future of our planet.
by Seth Bush, PA Campus Organizer, Sierra Student Coalition
One of my proudest moments as an organizer was three years ago when I marched alongside hundreds of young activists and community members through downtown Pittsburgh to rally outside the David Lawrence Convention Center where Karl Rove was telling the nation’s top gas industry representatives that “climate is gone…I don’t think you need to worry.”
Karl should have been shaking in his boots on that podium because, a few days later, the City of Pittsburgh made history when city council passed a resolution to prohibit drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) within city limits. It was the first local ordinance of its kind in the country, and there have been many more since. Pittsburgh’s government leaders understood the risks that unconventional extraction of natural gas from deep shale can pose to air quality, clean water, and public health; and they acted in the best interest of their constituents.
A lot of our discussions about fracking center around pollution. We know the chemicals injected into natural gas wells (and the methane itself) can leak into nearby water sources.
But another impact of fracking is often overlooked: The process uses vast amounts of fresh water, turning it, essentially, into toxic waste. Combine that with the droughts plaguing much of the country and you have a serious problem on your hands.
This Friday, the White House staff led a call to debrief the President's Climate Action Plan. I, along with many others, anxiously awaited my name to be called to ask a follow up question. I didn’t make the list, but almost every young activist that did hounded the administration about its loving stance on natural gas.
As many of you know, President Obama endorsed natural gas in his speech last Tuesday saying, "The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It's lowering many families' heat and power bills." What he failed to mention was the devastation this drilling and dumping is wreaking on most shale states.
When I tuned in to Obama's climate speech last Tuesday, I was expecting to hear a clear endorsement of the natural gas and nuclear power industries. What I heard was an enthusiastic endorsement of natural gas and nuclear. As someone who calls the shalefields home, fracking is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I was obviously not happy with the president's words, but I had heard exactly what I had expected, and I wasn't surprised.
A nun, a lawyer, and a sheriff walk into a courtroom.
This might sound like the beginning of a corny joke. But to the residents of Nelson County who showed up to the June 18 Fiscal Court public forum, including Sister Claire McGowan, Muncie McNamara, Esq., and Deputy Hunter, there is nothing funny about the prospect of up to 400,000 barrels of toxic and explosive chemicals gushing under their homes and farms daily.
Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's next steps for building a legacy of action to fight the climate crisis. The plan includes new energy efficiency standards, scales up clean energy production on public lands with an ambitious new commitment to power 6 million homes by 2020, and cuts dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.
Student and youth climate leaders have been waiting for the President to take decisive action like this. It’s no surprise that youth have both the most to lose and the most to gain in addressing climate disruption, and as President Obama confirms, his administration has a moral obligation to act on climate on behalf of future generations.
It seems as though Kentucky is under a new assult from the fossil fuel industry, this time in the form of a proposed natural gas pipeline. The aptly named "Bluegrass Pipeline" threatens to cut through Central Kentucky on it's way to connect to an existing pipeline in Hardinsburg, KY and then on to the Gulf Coast. The funders of the pipeline have stated that the project is on "speed to market" timeline, aiming to be operational by 2015.
For four years the students of UGA Beyond Coal have pushed the Administration to retire the aging campus coal boiler in favor of clean energy solutions. They’ve garnered support from over 5,000 students, 150 faculty members and 200 community groups and have been continually met with opposition from outgoing President Adams. Read more...