Quantcast

Students Take Action Nationwide to Move Campuses Beyond Coal

Energy

Sierra Club

Students at Virginia Tech, Purdue University, Bates College in Maine and the University of Illinois kicked off a nationwide month of creative actions focused on moving America’s campuses beyond coal. The coordinated effort 100% Clean: 100 Actions for Clean Energy aims to unite local efforts into a nationwide movement to retire university coal plants, cut university ties with the coal industry and move the nation’s institutions of higher education to clean energy solutions.

“We have students on our campus who are getting sick from breathing coal dust coming from the campus coal plant across the street from their dorm. This is unacceptable. We want Virginia Tech and universities nationwide to be leading the way towards an innovative, healthy and clean energy future, not stuck in the past relying on dirty coal,” said Kara Dodson, a senior at Virginia Tech and coordinator of the Campuses Beyond Coal campaign on campus.

Since the Sierra Club launched the national Campuses Beyond Coal campaign, 16 schools have already committed to retiring their coal-fired plants on campus. Pollution from these plants is responsible for dangerous pollution including mercury, carbon dioxide, arsenic and lead, and can lead to more severe asthma attacks, bronchial infections and cancer.

More than 150 students from across Virginia rallied at Virginia Tech wearing face masks and green hard hats at the Virginia Power Shift summit on Sunday. They called on the university administration to live up to their motto—Invent the Future—by retiring the campus coal plant that poses a health hazard to students.

Speakers included a student who lived in Thomas Hall, a dorm next door to the Virginia Tech coal plant, showing off a black soot covered towel she used to wipe down her window sill. Other students keep air filters in their windows to keep the coal dust out of their homes, but still struggle with the light and noise from the plant on a daily basis that can make it difficult to sleep or study.

“Every year a new group of students are subject to the pollution from this plant and others like it on campuses across the country. It’s time for our universities to step up and lead the way to moving our nation beyond coal and dirty energy to real clean energy solutions,” said Madeline Rigatti, a sophomore at Virginia Tech and former Thomas Hall resident. “Students like me have had to live with being sick because we had the bad luck of living near this plant and it’s simply wrong.”

“Students are leading the way pushing their universities to invest in innovative clean energy solutions. This month of action demonstrates the growing momentum on college campuses to move our nation off dirty, 19th century fuels that are making people sick. Coal, and the soot, smog and other pollution that comes from it impacts Americans across the country. We think that students can help reinvent the American economy by pressuring our administrations to invest in clean, safe and reliable energy on campuses from California to Connecticut,” said Kim Teplitzky, Campuses Beyond Coal campaign coordinator for the Sierra Club.

Over the next four weeks students will be hosting flash mobs, 60’s dance parties, camp outs, rallies, art builds, call-in days and more to call attention to the public health risk of depending on dirty energy in their campuses and communities. At the end of the month student leaders will bring the stories and photos from these events to Washington, D.C. to deliver to the Obama administration demanding further action to protect public health.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Claire L. Jarvis

A ruckus over biofuels has been brewing in Iowa.

Read More Show Less
Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less