The Year Ahead for the Greenpeace Student Network

by Guest Blogger

July 29, 2011

Students touring the Artic Sunrise!

It seems like summer has just begun, but for college students across the country, the fall semester is right around the corner. The Greenpeace Student Network has been hard at work on the two major campaigns that will be launching at the start of the new school year. Greenpeace Campus Coordinators and Lead Activists will be fighting dirty coal and deforestation at schools from coast to coast this year.

Coal energy is one of the greatest threats to the our planet, but over forty colleges and universities in the U.S. continue to not only rely on coal for energy, but also operate coal plants on campus. Some of these plants burn up to 250,000 tons of coal and release over 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year. By burning coal on campus, these schools are endangering the health and environment of their students, nearby communities, and the world as a whole. Learn more about the effects of coal in the Greenpeace report “The True Cost of Coal.”

The Student Network has been campaigning against these coal plants since 2009. Students at Michigan State University, which has the largest on-campus coal plant in the country, have held die-ins, marched with climate activist Tim DeChristopher, delivered hand-written letters to school officials, and collected thousands of petitions. Their university administration still refuses to switch to clean, renewable energy. The Student Network will be fighting to close that plant and the forty-one others that continue to pollute our planet.

The Student Network will also be joining Greenpeace’s campaign against Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), part of the Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas. APP is responsible for widespread deforestation on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This deforestation adds to global warming, destroys the habitats of critically endangered animals like the Sumatran tiger (whose population is less than 400!), and displaces indigenous communities. Read more about APP’s destructive practices in the Greenpeace report “Pulping the Planet.”

Greenpeace has called on Mattel and other toy companies to stop purchasing paper products from APP. Last month, Greenpeace activists scaled the Mattel headquarters in Los Angeles to declare that Ken was breaking up with Barbie due to her deforestation habit. Now it’s students’ turn to ramp up the pressure on APP. The Millennial Generation won’t stand for corporations like APP bulldozing forests at the expense of indigenous communities, the Sumatran tiger, and the global climate.

Want to get more involved with the Student Network? Join the Student Network team! We’ll have more information about these campaigns as the fall semester gets closer. Like us on Facebook to get all the Student Network updates. And get excited to take action!

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