by Zach Carter Mechanical Engineering junior, University of Iowa Sierra Student Coalition Co-Founder
October provided an explosion of action in response to 100% Clean: 100 Actions for Clean Energy. This project easily met the goal of engaging students on campuses across America to create fun and effective actions to promote and demand clean energy. From dancing flash mobs, to petition drives, to coal slurry impoundment field trips, we raised awareness and got our message out for clean energy!
The climax event was a convergence of over thirty student leaders in Washington DC for two roundtable meetings. We met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at Howard College, and later at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with White House Office of Public Engagement Director Jon Carson and White House Youth Liaison Ronnie Cho. Both meetings went very well.
We thanked Administrator Jackson for continually standing up for people and the environment. We discussed the importance of the mercury rule she is litigating, and the point behind her recently coined phrase “to dirty to fail,” referring to aging, super-polluting coal power plants that are on unsustainably irresponsible life support. We discussed the urgency of the Keystone XL pipeline dilemma, and of course, the Tar Sands Action White House sit-in was recognized. Thankfully, Jackson is not blinded, as some seem to be, from the global environmental disaster that the KXL pipeline would become.
Director Carson and Youth Liaison Cho listened to our concerns, personal stories, and of the grassroots work we do in our campus communities every day. We represented our movement well, and stood up for the clean future we believe in. My main takeaway results from being challenged to grow our coalition larger, and to include our local representatives and senators in our outreach. To paraphrase, Carson said when our senators are calling the White House talking about us, then we will be deemed successful. It’s on.
Upward with the Good Fight,