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Earth Week Events

Everyone got back from Powershift safe and sound, and now it’s time for some awesome Earth Week events going on around UGA:
WEDNESDAY 4/20 – TRANSPORTATION DAY. There will be an “Earth Week Extravaganza,” a bike ride, and a presentation by the Alliance for Climate Education.

THURSDAY 4/21 – ENERGY DAY. Out group is heading up multiple tours throughout the day of the coal plant on campus, and we’re very excited to get tons of new people involved in our cause.

FRIDAY 4/22 – EARTH DAY. Also another exciting day, including a flashmob, a lecture by New York Times journalist Justin Gillis, and a party!

all in all, I would say it’s going to be a great week for everyone involved in environmental causes.

Thanks to all of our amazing members and volunteers who came out last night to go canning downtown to raise money for our campaign.  In just a few short hours, we made over $350. All of the money is going to help the club create organizational and promotional material to spread our message and get UGA off coal.

As I was asking for donations last night, a fair number of people stopped to talk to me about our cause, and what really struck me was how few people were aware of the coal burner on campus. The more people know about it, the more support we have for our cause, so it’s really important that we get information out to the community about the coal plant and the problems it presents.

A Dirty Business

Thank you to all of you who came out to our screening of Dirty Business: Clean Coal and the Fight for Our Energy Future.  I am always motivated and inspired by well-made documentaries. 

This inspiration led me to do some research and after reading several web articles and following many links, I found my way to two EPA reports on Coal Combustion Residual Impoundments here in Georgia.  I must be clear that there are WAY more than 2 impoundments in our state, but GA power is claiming confidential business information (CBI) and refusing to release these assessments.   The EPA can, and has denied them of this claim, but the reports have yet to be published.  Even the reports I found had been severely redacted, leaving out nearly all quantitative data.  You can view them for yourself  here. I would recommend scrolling down to the risk ratings that each of the sites received– All were “Significantly hazardous” and some even got the “highly hazardous” distinction –meaning that the violations will probably result in the loss of human life.  Yeah. pretty sickening.  These waste sites are located just a few miles from schools, churches, and neighborhoods as well as streams and rivers.  I am beside myself to think that these waste sites may not even be the worst of what GA power is attempting to get away with. 

All coal generated power plants generate ash which has been found to contain hexavalent chromiun <see here>  Sound familiar? Well that is because hexavalent chromium was the toxin that Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric over for its contamination of drinking water. 

UGA is contributing to this problem.  It is time for our administration to stop citing budget concerns as an excuse to keep burning coal.  Coal is not cheap.  The costs stretch far beyond this campus, and we do not deserve our place as the flagship institution of the South if we do not recognize this. 

Tonight kicks off the EcoFocus film festival in Athens.

To our delight, this year they are showing a film that focuses on coal;

Dirty Business: ‘Clean Coal’ and the Battle for Our Energy Future directed by Peter Bull

There are two showings of the film, Saturday September 25th at 12:30pm (TOMORROW!), and Monday September 27th and 7:00pm at Cine

We will be present before and after the film to talk about our campaign and how the ideas presented in the film are relevant to Athens.  For more information on the film and ticketing, visit http://ecofocusfilmfest.org/

Come out and support us, as well as this wonderful festival!

Also, we will have shirts for sale :)

This link is to the weekly blog for Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign director.

“How the West is Winning Against Coal”

Many protest mountain top removal on I Love the Mountains Day in Kentucky

Not only are we making moves for cleaner energy at UGA, but other campuses around the states are as well. To make a change, we are getting the nationwide push we need. A great, close to home, example of successful campaigning comes from up the road at Clemson. A little farther away, in a state heavily burdened by coal, the University of Kentucky has created quintessential hype and concern around the issue of coal.

Here is a blurb: Kentucky Beyond Coal Stirs Attention

And their website: University of Kentucky Beyond Coal

Coalition against coal.

This article shows some progress taking place just over the border in South Carolina. Coal dependency is a problem that all sates must face. In order to really make people notice this as a major issue, Sierra Club is starting at the ground level with states’ young adults in college.

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