Speaking Truth About (and To) Power

Join the Power Dialog: why students visits to their capitols can help #seizethegrid

As Sierra Club’s Anastasia Schemkes fires off her clarion call to students to #seizethegrid to secure 100% clean electricity, Prof. Eban Goodstein, Director at Bard College, invites students to take one, simple action that could transform the GHG profile of the US electric grid: join Power Dialog to meet up with the state leaders, at your DEC, who will decide in 2016 how to implement locally EPA’s Clean Power Rules. As students “who speak for the future,” call upon your state leaders to deliver standards that will reach deeper towards that 100% clean energy goal!

So is a trip to your capitol really worth your time?

Mark Kenber, CEO at Climate Group, says “yes.” He has repeatedly witnessed how “sub-national governments are disrupting the high-carbon status quo. Regional political actors can be powerful catalysts for change – particularly when states command significant levels of autonomy in power generation.”

So are you ready to act now?

Join Eban’s Power Dialog movement… And join Eban, Anastasia and Mark live in conversation at #cleanenergyu, 12-3 ET April 22. Read more from Eban below.

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With the planet heating up fast, and legislative action on global warming stalled out, what can students do to change the future?

Be part of a Power Dialog with the head of your state Department of Environmental Conservation. One year from now, in April 2016, more than ten thousand students will meet in their state capitols with officials in charge of implementation planning for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Over the next year, everyday folks can have big impact on the scope and direction of state implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Rules. These rules mandate global warming pollution cuts in the electric power sector. By 2017, each state is required to come up with a plan to meet the targets set by the EPA. My home state of New York, for example, has to cut the emission rate from the power sector by at least 44% by 2030; in Ohio the number is 28%; in Texas, 38%. These are big numbers. They need to be bigger. State level plans can be more ambitious then the EPA requires, but this will happen only if people demand it.

“State agency leaders are already seeing their calendars fill up with meetings with utility executives and coal industry CEO’s. Why not the rest of us?”

The Power Dialog is a movement to get hundreds of college classes – and ten thousand plus students – to take a field trip to meet with DEC heads in every state. State agency leaders are already seeing their calendars fill up with meetings with utility executives and coal industry CEO’s. Why not the rest of us?

Typically, it is the state DEC that is the lead agency in drafting these plans. With the action now beyond the partisan wrangling of Washington and the state legislatures, there is room for citizens to have a real voice. DEC officials will welcome visits from unusual suspects. Hearing the voice of students and others who speak for the future can provide them with the information and inspiration they need to do the right thing.

If you are interested in helping organize students at your college or university to take a trip to your state capitol in April 2016 to meet with top state officials, please sign up here. As we move forward with an organizing plan, we will connect you with other interested groups in your state, and will develop and circulate learning materials to prep your group for the conversation.

Learn more about the EPA’s Clean Power Rule here, or listen to a podcast by Resources for the Future’s Dallas Burtraw about the EPA’s program and the importance of state level engagement. Then we’ll help you schedule your trip to Juneau, Nashville, Salem, Tallahassee, Boston or Peoria.

-Eban Goodstein, Director Bard Center for Environmental Policy, and Bard MBA in Sustainability.

Ready to diversify the voices in your state capitol to call for higher clean energy standards to #seizethegrid? Join Eban’s Power Dialog movement…

And join Eban (@BardMBA), Anastasia and Mark live in conversation at #cleanenergyu, 12-3 ET April 22.

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