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Community Highlights

Why I testified for Clean Power

 

607 Karissa Gerhke- Clean Power TestimonySometimes you don’t realize you’ve taken part in an historic moment until after it’s already happened. That’s how I feel about my testimony at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan hearing yesterday.

Let me give a little context: Right now the United States limits mercury, arsenic, lead, soot and other dangerous pollutants from power plants. The key pollutant missing? The thing that is causing our temperatures to warm and our oceans to rise? Carbon.

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One “No” Won’t Stop Bobcats from Fighting for Climate Action

321 Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.Yesterday, Bates College disappointed many students and alumni that have been pushing the campus to live up to its “green” image. President Clayton Spencer released a public letter to the community stating that Bates would not be divesting from the fossil fuel industry.

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Looking to Lima: All hands on deck for COP20

Young people of the world are realizing that one of the biggest challenges for our generation is to face and find solutions to global climate disruption.  During the past two weeks at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland there has been a lot of mobilization of latino youth since the announcement of PreCOP in Caracas, Venezuela and COP20 in Lima, Perú. We are looking forward for a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty that must start here in Warsaw in order to have an effective outcome in Lima, and in Paris where parties will negotiate the next global treaty on climate change. I had the opportunity to interact with Grecia Barcena Calderón from México and Alfredo Redondo from Argentina, two active young people working in social and environmental movements to bring awareness about climate change. Listen to the conversation here!

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UIUC students vote 6:1 in favor of coal divestment!

~ Co-written by Katie Mimnaugh, UofI Grad Student and Anastasia Schemkes of the Sierra Student Coalition 

 

On Friday night, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC or UofI) became the latest school (of the 300+ campuses working on fossil fuel divestment) to pass a student-wide divestment referendum. With all votes tallied, they had won with 6-to-1 in favor of divestment.

255 UIUC Beyond Coal celebrates referendum vote with 200 sq ft banner on campus

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Trouble in Coaland

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretariat Christiana Figueres spoke at the Climate and Coal conference today, 18 Nov, in Warsaw, taking time away from her administration of the 19th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP19).  Figueres took a strong climate stance at the coal conference, and stated in her remarks to the world coal summit that we must "leave most existing reserves [of coal] in the ground."  At the pre-COP youth convergence, many of those present expressed worry that her participation in the coal summit legitimizes the industry, despite her tough stance.

254 photo credit: 350.org

 

There was a rally today in protest of Poland intentionally scheduling the World Coal Association at the same time as COP19.  Protestors pretended to be either lobbyists, throwing handfuls of money and coal dust at a giant inflatable pair of lungs, or activists wearing surgical masks and holding signs.  A medical student read a statement about the harmful effects of burning coal.   Greenpeace activists hung up a Polish Flag which red, “Who runs Poland? Coal industry or the people?”

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Voices of COP19: Puerto Rico Youth Delegation

235 Ashley Perez and Eduardo Agostini in the Computer Centre of COP19 in Warsaw. Photo by Ashok Chandwaney

Yesterday, I managed to slow down in the bustling halls of COP19 to talk with Ashley Perez and Eduardo Agostini. At COP19, the Puerto Rico Youth Delegation made their first appearance as an accredited group. The group is focused on learning about real world solutions they can bring back to Puerto Rico. Perez, Agostini, and the rest of the group are taking advantage of Puerto Rico's observer status in the Alliance of Small Island Nations (AOSIS) to learn from the experiences of other islanders within the COP. Listen to our conversation here!

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Why I’m Fasting for Climate at COP19.

I took the red dot. That was the moment when I made the decision to fast in solidarity at COP19. When I took the red cloth dot and pinned it to my shirt. I was aware of the commitment I was making, and I still am. I don’t take it lightly, but with every passing hour I become more aware of the importance of this solidarity action. What is happening in the Philippines and around the world is unacceptable and can be changed. I’m determined to be a part of making that happen.

241 Photo Credit: Ashok Chandwaney

A little bit of background for those that need it…

Monday was the opening plenary of the 19th Annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was during this plenary that I witnessed head Filipino negotiator Nadarev Yeb Saño deliver an incredibly powerful narrative on the truth of climate change. A narrative that brought many to tears and drove many more to desperately crave a break in the monotony of the negotiation process. Saño spoke of the devastation left in his country after Typhoon Haiyan and how his people are affected by climate change. He voiced the need for drastic action and ambitious policy to put a stop to climate change and the extreme weather that accompanies it.

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COP19: Global Solidarity with Yeb Sano Fuels Early Actions at Climate Negotiations

The challenge of our generation is to find solutions to climate disruption. As youth we have the task of ensuring that future generations can live in a just and sustainable world. We know that right now communities around the world are being affected by coal plants, gas pipelines and other impacts on the environment and human health. We are the voices of our home country, our communities, and a generation. Because of this we have traveled to Warsaw to call communities across the globe to build capacity and find local solutions to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

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