Lexington Herald-Leader Reports on Student Campaign Victory at University of Kentucky - Republished Across Country
The Lexington Herald-Leader covered the victory of UK Greenthumb in their campaign to get the University of Kentucky to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The story has been picked up by the Associated Press and republished by news outlets across the country. Read an excerpt from the Herald-Leader article below.
Greenthumb began campaigning for university administration to address UK’s contribution to climate change back in 2012. As one of the Commonwealth’s larger greenhouse gas-emitting institutions, the flagship university’s commitment to reduce emissions is a major victory for Greenthumb and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, a network of student environmental groups at 22 campuses across the state. To reach this campaign victory, Greenthumb members collected hundreds of signatures, garnered the backing of student government, and rallied with over one-hundred students to pressure administrators into developing a climate action plan.
UK is the latest in a series of Kentucky universities to commit to greenhouse gas reductions. Students conducted a successful climate action campaign at Eastern Kentucky University in 2015. Both Northern Kentucky University and Centre College signed on to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in 2007 and the University of Louisville signed on in 2008.
In its commitment, UK states that carbon-neutrality is a long-term objective for the institution. Representatives of UK Greenthumb say they will continue pushing for increased reduction commitments in order to reach this goal.
Excerpt from "University of Kentucky pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent" -
University of Kentucky officials have pledged to reduce carbon emissions on campus by 25 percent by 2025.
Members of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition's Political Working Group met with some of the state’s legislators on Friday afternoon to discuss the Energy Opportunity Act. KSEC secured the bill's first senate sponsor, Sen. Reggie Thomas, in 2015. The bill has not made it to a vote in either the House or Senate committees in which it has been placed. The KSEC youth talked with legislators about how to get the bill sent to committees where it could receive a vote and discussed other avenues of promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency through the Kentucky Legislature.
In passing the Energy Opportunity Act, Kentucky would adopt a renewable and energy efficiency portfolio standard that would increase utility companies’ renewable energy production by 12.5 percent and increase energy efficiency by 10.25 percent over the next 10 years. The legislation also introduces feed-in tariffs to Kentucky utilities, which would give Kentuckians the opportunity to become energy entrepreneurs.
Excerpt from "Kentucky Environmental Students Push Renewable Bill in 2017 Session" -
Fifteen-year-old KSEC Political Working Group Media chair Grace Engelman says bipartisan support is critical for job opportunities for young Kentuckians as “climate change issues” will affect them most.
Excerpt from WKMS's "Kentucky Environmental Students to Protest Trump's EPA Choice":
An organization representing student environmental groups across the Commonwealth has called on Senators to reject President-elect Trump’s pick to lead the EPA.
Members of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition rallied outside the Kentucky Educationial Television debate between Senate candidates Lexington Maor Jim Gray and incumband Senator Rand Paul.
Excerpt from ABC 36 WTVQ's "FIRST AND ONLY GRAY-PAUL SENATE DEBATE GETS HEATED":
There was also one smaller group that did not chant either candidate’s name. That group of young voters said they want to hear the candidates address environmental issues.
I am tired of people stereotyping millennials as lazy, ignorant and apathetic. My generation is full of knowledge, skills, compassion and creativity and we are underappreciated. Our leaders and legislators should stop dismissing our concerns and actually listen to our ideas to solve today’s problems.
We know that renewable energy is the future for our economy. The transition is already happening, and many states are adopting policies to embrace the opportunities that come with it, like new jobs, less pollution, healthier communities and reduced carbon emissions. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency shows Texas as third in the nation with 125 policies and incentives supporting renewables and efficiency. Texas! A Southern, conservative, fossil-fuel powerhouse is the nation’s third leading state when it comes to new energy policies.
Kentucky has a lot to gain from embracing the new energy economy sooner rather than later. The coal industry is declining, and we need to advance new energy technology to replace that loss. The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition calls on our elected officials to listen to young voices and create policies that encourage renewable energy before we are left even further behind in the inevitable transition to renewable energy.
Lexington, Ky. 40508