As yet another semester at Bowling Green State University inches towards its conclusion, I realize how difficult it is to adequately summarize the accomplishments of Environmental Action Group in the form of the written word. Our campaign for 100% clean energy at BGSU by 2020 has reached heights that attest to the dedication of all students and community members who have been directly involved or have expressed valuable support and that highlight the urgent situation escalated by continued fossil fuel usage.
On Monday April 15th, the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University launched a week-long “Call-In” drive to our President’s office to demand a 100% clean energy future for BGSU with an end goal of 2020.
The day started off slow at 10am, when most college students are still half asleep and just rolling out of bed. By 11:30, our administration had really begun to hear the students’ demands in numbers. The administration sent the University’s police captain out to where we were standing in our Student Union’s Oval to tell us that having students call into President Mazey’s office was “illegal” because it was “disrupting the work that could be done in the office” and supposedly “harassment”, ultimately threatening us by saying that he “could write us a ticket.”
At the end of March, an ExxonMobil tar sands pipeline ruptured in Arkansas. Since then, around 300,000 gallons of oil have spilled. And this isn’t conventional crude we’re talking about—it’s diluted bitumen, which is heavier and harder to clean up because it sinks in water. An all-too-familiar deceptive media campaign from Exxon has made things even more complicated.
Here are the essentials. I’d encourage you to follow the links for more background.
Sometimes it seems like Florida lawmakers just don’t get it. Not only does Florida have some of the most ridiculous election woes every two years, but we also seem to have all the wrong ideas about combating climate change and investing in truly renewable and sustainable energy.
Today (April 3rd) BGSU president, Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, and her cabinet hosted a National Start! Walking Day event. This event aimed to raise awareness about healthier lifestyles for faculty and students at BGSU by leading a 30 minute walk around campus. While this helps promote personal health, students believe that Bowling Green State University has a greater responsibility as a higher-education institution to promote/ support health across the globe.
Last week, I wrote a post about the Keystone activists who marched to Senator Mark Warner's office in downtown Richmond to demand he stand with Virginians and not the fossil fuel industry. That day, we let the Senator's staff know that if he fails to reject measures to approve the tar sands oil pipeline, we would be back to remind him who he works for.
Well- we lived up to our promise, to say the least.
At 10:30 this morning, seven students from Bowling Green State University entered the office of Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, the university’s president, to meet with her for a second time. On the agenda: 100% clean energy.
The seven students are leaders in Environmental Action Group working to make a clean energy future at BGSU a reality instead of a mere possibility. With that being said, they are only some of many students who want the university’s leaders to ensure our future. Their demand reflects the urgency felt by the students of the university: a transition to 100% clean energy at BGSU by 2020. Their actions reflect that same urgency. From petitioning – they’ve amassed over 2,700 student signatures – to coalition building – 14 student organizations at the university have signed onto the coalition letter addressed to President Mazey – to staging a rally and march, they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to grassroots organizing. They have established a local media presence that attests to their organizing – Rally for Our Future, which took place on March 21st, was covered in The BG News, Sentinel-Tribune, and in a live interview on BG24 News. During today’s meeting, even President Mazey commended EAG as “vocal, active, and organized.”
When Virginia Senator Mark Warner decided to flip his stance on the tar sands pipeline, Virginians were ready to march to his door and let him know that if he claims to be a leader on climate change, he cannot support the Keystone pipeline!
Yesterday, over 20 climate activists, including students and constituents from across the state, stormed Warner's Richmond office to voice their outrage over his recent support for the KXL. After marching through downtown Richmond, we rallied outside Warner's building and flooded his office with our bodies and our voices. Activists from CCAN and 350.org spoke with one of his top legislative aids for almost half an hour about the catastrophic consequences we will face if Warner continues to support the pipeline. We handed over a letter expressing our need for a leader who will fight with us for a clean energy future and demanded that the aid deliver our message immediately to the Senator. Our request? Vote no on any legislative efforts to support the Keystone XL pipeline, and respond to our concerns within one week.
“The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he [or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he [or she] stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, climate change poses a challenge unlike any challenge we've faced before. How we respond will define who we are as people. We, as members of our respective communities, regardless of our likenesses and differences, must rise together. We must rise together as brothers and sisters of one earth, of one expansive community, in solidarity. And as we rise, we must make sure to wake our leaders from their current slumber.
Yesterday, on the 19th of February, the Student Environmental Association (SEA) led an on campus march at the University of South Florida (USF) to rally for environmentally friendly legislative change. Protestors united and called for the enactment of laws that were both relevent to climate change and consistent on addressing the issue.