By Cara Cooper, KSEC Organizer
I can feel a change in the air when it comes to renewable energy in Kentucky, and it’s pretty damn exciting.
In the three years that I have been working with the KY Student Environmental Coalition we have seen more and more growing support from Kentuckians for renewable energy, green jobs and just transition. I have personally watched hundreds of young people go from feeling like there is nothing that we can do, to truly believing in collective power and our ability to make our futures better. In fact we’ve collected thousands of signature petitions from people, like you, who know that it is high time that our legislators hear our demands for the energy and industries of the future.
And our legislators are hearing us. Earlier this month we hosted a pinwheel planting event, where we planted over 200 pinwheels (each representing 10 petition signatures) out on the State Capitol lawn and then we went inside the capitol to a hearing on clean energy in the house economic development committee.
For the first time, we didn’t hear any push back from our elected officials about the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy, only questions about how it would work and how agriculture and farmers would be impacted. As the coal industry busts, for perhaps it’s last time, it is getting harder and harder to ignore the tens of thousands of jobs being created in nearby states, the ever growing energy bills from Kentuckians without access to energy efficiency, and the demand for new energy transition coming from their constituents.
That is why now is the time to put even more pressure on our elected officials to move us in the right direction and to build even more support for energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation.
We’ll be hitting the sidewalks (and libraries and cafeterias and classrooms) at five different campuses over the next five days collecting petition signatures so that when we head back to Frankfort on March 9th for our Clean Energy Lobby Day we can plant wayy more pinwheels and show the growing demand of young people. It is our future and we deserve a say in how it’s powered.
Join us at Transy, EKU, Morehead, Centre and UK this week to gather signatures and educate our peers AND THEN JOIN US IN FRANKFORT. Your voice is so important, and we can’t do it without you!
Stay tuned for more updates as the campus tour launches tonight and as we travel around the state in the next five days and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
By Libby Kelly, KSEC, Western Kentucky University
Hey folks!! Libby Kelly, Western Kentucky University delegate here, from the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition (KSEC) sharing some thoughts on this upcoming semester!
If it’s not already, y’all need to put KSEC on your radar. This year my New Year’s Resolution was to not put activism on the backburner. I want 2016 to be a productive year for me in the realm of the things I care about, which is environmental and social justice. I feel confident in my ability to effectively organize for these causes with KSEC.
Last semester was my first one at WKU. I came from Eastern KY University where I saw awesome teamwork and success in their environmental club which KSEC was an incredible catalyst for, and I was super eager to bring my KSEC enthusiasm from that group to the two WKU clubs I represent! I’m a delegate for the GreenToppers as well as the Coalition for Social Justice, which is especially exciting. Defending the earth is important, but it can involve even more than compassion for trees and animals. We all live in the environment, and we’re all affected by things like climate change, fracking, mountaintop removal, etc. As far as I see it, environmental issues ARE social justice issues. Already KSEC has shown huge support in my campus social justice club, and I’m excited to see how I can help CSJ campaign and organize as an environmental activist and through KSEC.
Last summer KSEC launched an annual training program called Catalyst, that’s essentially a summer camp for activists. I was able to experience it last year and it was the most empowering and rewarding thing I’ve ever had in my time as an activist. I’m super stoked to be training at this year’s Catalyst and even more stoked since meeting and organizing with the rest of the team! It feels like every experience I have in this organization only teaches me more and more about my own potential and the potential of movements of collective action and organizing. In 2015, KSEC helped four campus win some really amazing campaign victories like a climate action plan, a green revolving fund, etc. I look forward to 2016 as another year for victories since meeting so many capable young people at Catalyst with positive visions for our future and the skills and heart to achieve them!
The Young Kentuckian is a blog of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition where youth share their work and ideas for Kentucky's bright future.
Follow The Young Kentuckian on Facebook!