By Cara Cooper
This week actions and events will be happening all across Kentucky for the KY Student Environmental Coalition’s Shifting the Power Week of Action. This is a collaboration of young people across the Commonwealth to bring forward the message that failure to clean up pollution, end dangerous and dirty extraction practices and invest in truly renewable, clean energy technology and infrastructure is a direct threat to their generation’s future and the lives of those who live in frontline communities where polluted water and toxic air is the day to day reality.
“There are ways that we are all to blame for what is happening around us, and doing things like switching your light bulbs and recycling are very important. But it is also important that we hold the government, corporations, and even our communities responsible for the role that they play as well” said Tyler Offerman, an organizer with KSEC. “This is why we are organizing on our campuses and in our communities and why we are having this week of action, to make sure that people know our futures are on the line”.
The “Shifting the Power Week of Action” is meant to highlight the depth and the breadth of the youth environmental movement in Kentucky and the wave to shift the power back from greedy corporations and dirty industries to the people who are impacted by the by these polluters. Events include a film screening and petitioning for local sustainable foods at Northern Kentucky University, collecting signatures of support for renewable energy and green economic development at the Louisville Bardstown Farmer’s Market, a sustainability teach-in and discussion of local environmental issues at Western Kentucky University, a film screening and collecting signatures of support for a sustainable projects fund at Murray State University, collecting petitions in Lexington outside of Rupp arena for Friday’s Wildcat game to oppose using coal severance tax money from being used for arena renovations instead of going to impacted communities, a Reality Check event at Morehead State University looking at facts and myths about renewable energy in Kentucky, and a letter-drop to the University of Kentucky’s president demanding investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency
“Climate change is a reality for my generation, as is air and water pollution”, said Offerman “the real question is can we adapt and make the changes that need to happen to keep us from reach a point of catastrophe or do we continue down the path that we are on, full speed ahead without so much as a plan”.
These efforts are only the beginning and young people across Kentucky will continue to push for a cleaner, safer, and healthier future for themselves and the planet. This generation not only has the most to lose from rampant pollution and climate change, it also has the most to gain by ending these practices and transitioning to a just and sustainable model.