Greetings! This summer I went on a bike-ride in order to donate to the awesome group of people at 350.org. I had the good fortune of meeting some of 350’s employees and volunteers on the ride–trust me when I say my donations are in good hands. The founder of the organization that raises awareness about climate change, Bill McKibben, is a well known author. His books, Eaarth and Deep Economy were and are major successes. 350’s commitment to the environment has been successful including in their fight to delay the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Picture of me getting arrested protesting Keystone last August
Check out the picture of the route!
Highlights of this New York-to-D.C. ride included the countryside of Lancaster, the hospitality of the Mennonites, locally grown picnic lunches, my riding buddies Steve and Sam (see picture below,) swimming in creeks after a long days ride, the serenity of tent life, and the coherence of the passions of those involved.
The ride well organized, insightful and left me with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I would encourage anyone with interest to consider signing up next year (I promise a personal donation!) Please follow up with me if you are interested or just have additional questions about the ride (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It felt great to bike into DC alongside my 200 fellow riders. It felt even better knowing that behind each of those people was a group of generous people forming an army of individuals capable of making change.
The Committee on Sustainability is accepting applications for EcoAmbassadors for the spring of 2012:
“Still looking for a few credits to round out your schedule? Have an interest in sustainability? Then apply to be an EcoAmbassador! The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 8, 2012. The EcoAmbassador class is a one credit, directed independent study course. Students spend 5 hours per week working on a sustainability related project, and produce a 5 page final paper and a short Power Point presentation at the end of the semester. Students also attend monthly meetings with the class instructor and their fellow EcoAmbassadors. Previous EcoAmbassadors have worked on a tennis shoe recycling project, mapping fisheries using GIS, improving transportation on campus, writing articles for the COS blog, and more. Spring 2012 EcoAmbassadors will be helping to plan Earth Week, working on getting W&M certified as a bike friendly campus, mapping campus features using GIS for Facilities Management, and working on Swem Library’s sustainability website. To apply, please visit the following website: .”
I was an EcoAmbassador this past semester, and had a great time developing the COS blog, Hark Upon the Green. The program is a great way to learn more about the sustainability community at William & Mary and to play an active role in strengthening it. I encourage everyone to apply!
Even though we’re reaching the end of the semester, SEAC has a few more great events coming up.
On Wednesday from 3-7 pm, the International Justice Mission, is holding an Alternative Gift Fair in the Sadler Center, where organizations – including SEAC – will be selling socially and environmentally friendly gifts for the holiday season.
On Satuday, SEAC is hosting eco-band Wes Swing, who will be playing on campus that afternoon. Wes Swing is a folk band currently raising funds to buy a touring van powered by biodiesel. If that isn’t enough to convince you to see the show, here’s a stop-motion music video of their song, Sleeping Moon:
Oaks and Acorns, a training program to provide mentorship to new members and improve SEAC’s retention, is getting off the ground at the start of next semester, facilitated by Jamie and Sara. New members will have the option of joining a “tree” as an acorn, paired with a mentor Oak as well as a whole family of support. We hope that Oaks and Acorns will plug new folks into the SEAC experience in a personalized way.
The Surry Campaign has seen some interesting developments in the past few weeks, with the fight against the coal plant moving from the state permitting level back to the level of local zoning following a successful lawsuit by citizens of Surry County. The Campaign will stay in touch over winter break to keep up with these developments.
We closed out the semester with a review of SEAC’s mission statement, and an open-ended discussion about the role we envision our organization having in the larger environmental movement. If you’ve been around this semester, you’ll know that this was a fitting end to a semester of philosophical questioning and organizational soul-searching. Hopefully, we will be able to implement what we learned about our organization and ourselves as we start a new semester. May the Captain be with you:
Last week, SEAC had a discussion that was both sobering and illuminating. We felt as if we were losing momentum as an organization, as if the energy to start and sustain new projects was absent, as if the spark of creative energy that keeps us innovating as activists had sputtered just a little bit. Nothing serious; we’re still active as an organization. It was just a nagging feeling that maybe we’re not active in all the ways that we could be. While talking about this problem as a group, it became apparent that there was varying interest in sitting around and discussing our direction as an organization, and that maybe big SEAC meetings weren’t the most effective place to hold such discussions. What to do?
From these questions, a new campaign, SEACSPACE, was born. From the description on the website, “SEACSPACE is a place to bring your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. All of these impulses, positive and negative, are forms of energy. By facilitating a space to talk about anything and everything, we hope to channel that energy into creative projects that might never be born if we fall too deeply into the rut of thinking that environmental issues can be sorted into five campaigns. We hope to provide an undercurrent of creative energy, new ideas, and fresh perspectives that can be applied to revitalize both our organization and the movements we represent.
SEACSPACE can be summarized as a campaign of creation. Whether you want to create visual or performance art, or to create new philosophical frameworks for exploring environmental issues, SEACSPACE is for you. Most importantly, we want to create a sense of community and support, so that our organization is as strong and capable as the people in it.”
SEACSPACE is a place to figure out those questions of “Where our organization is, and where is it headed” It’s a place to discuss ideas, and to foster new projects and campaigns. It’s a place to think about environmental activism and how we can be more effective in achieving our goals. It’s also a place to provide support for each other as activists. We’re excited to see where this campaign goes!
The SEAC office will now be open on Thursday nights from 7:00-10:00, for anyone to come and talk or create. Hope to see you there!
A post from our very own Sara Evers: The Best Eco Movies For Kids!
It’s never too early in life to get involved with the environment. Also, it’s never too late to get excited about awesome kids’ movies like Fern Gully! Here, Batty reminds us of some of the implications of animal testing with a catchy number:
Hello, folks! Happy fall break to everyone. Here’s some of the latest news from SEAC:
-We had a contingent of SEACers attend Virginia Powershift at VA Tech. They were able to meet student activists from across the state to discuss new ideas and strategies, including the Virginia Alliance for a Cleaner Environment. This is a coalition of all the colleges in VA, and provides a way to share info between campuses. It sounds like a wonderful new initiative to increase communication between groups, and we are excited to hear more news. It was a great time, though wet and rainy!
-A petition asking the William & Mary community to oppose the coal plant in Surry County has been launched online, and has received 99 signatures as of 10/10/11! That’s in addition to paper signatures, so we’re well on our way to meeting our 400-signature goal. If you haven’t gotten a chance to sign yet, here it is:
-Speaking of Recycling, our annual America Recycles Day celebration will be held on November 20th this year.
This meeting also included a fabulous brainstorming session about how we can make SEAC an even more effective organization. We don’t like to spoil surprises, but food, performance art, and SEAC bonding were all mentioned – stay tuned!
Our Stop the Surry Coal Plant Campaign is currently circulating a petition to encourage support for our cause within the college community. Once we gauge support for our goal, we are planning to bring the petition before President Reveley and the Board of Visitors, and move towards obtaining an official statement against the plant from William & Mary.
Almost 3 years ago ODEC, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, proposed to build what would be the largest coal plant in the state in Surry County, Virginia. The proposed coal plant would emit 3000 tons of sulfur dioxide, over 3000 tons of nitrogen oxides, 10,446 tons of carbon monoxide, nearly 250 tons of volatile organic compounds, 44 pounds of mercury, and 11.74 million metric tons of CO2 every year. As Surry is located just across the river from Williamsburg, upwind from the majority of Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay, our community will bear the brunt of the negative health effects from these emissions.
The proposed coal plant would also have detrimental economic effects on the Williamsburg community. The magnitude of projected emissions from the coal plant would exacerbate our region’s smog problem. The decline in air quality could push our area into a status of “nonattainment” for not meeting air quality standards, which in turn would put us at risk for losing governmental funding and would also deter businesses from investing in the Hampton Roads area.
As students of the college and concerned parties in the Williamsburg area, we must protect not only our health but the health of the community as a whole. We are asking for a better alternative to coal which is not only outdated, but detrimental to both our health and the local economy. There are cleaner options than coal, including increased efficiency and renewable energy.
We, the undersigned, request that the College of William and Mary publicly oppose the permitting of the proposed Surry County Coal Plant (Cypress Creek Power Station), via a press release and a written letter of concern to the permitting bodies, in order to protect the air quality, local economy, and historical infrastructure of the city of Williamsburg, and The College.
Thanks for coming out to our first meeting last Monday! We had a fabulous turnout. Hope y’all had fun this past week, visiting various campaign meetings and checking out what you might want to get involved with this year. As a reminder, we’ll be having another meeting this coming Monday for Big Seac, 8:30 in McGlothlin 20.
Also, we have two campaigns that have not yet met – Energy, which will meet at 7:00 pm on Sunday in the SEAC office, and Surry, which will meet on Monday at 7:00 in the SEAC office (I always enjoy making Mondays a SEAC extravaganza by going to Surry and then Big SEAC – who wants to do homework on a Monday, anyway? 😉 If you don’t recall, the Energy campaign has some great projects including instituting an Office of Sustainability on campus, and Surry is working with community members in Surry, environmental organizers, and Williamsburg City Council to deal with the proposed coal-fired power plant across the river. So, if you haven’t been able to make it to a campaign meeting yet, you can get in on the action tomorrow and Monday!
Our Recycling, Biodiversity and the brand-new Gardens/Food Potentiality campaign met last week, and have some great ideas in the works for the coming semester! If you missed those meetings, they’ll be reconvening this week as well. Don’t hesitate to come out and get involved with protecting the College Woods, improving recycling knowledge and practice on campus, and growing some sweet gardens. At last report, the meeting times for these campaigns were: Biodiversity on TUESDAYS at 6:00 PM – this is a change from what was announced last week, Recycling on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM, and Gardens on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.
Meeting times are subject to change at this point in the year, so if you can’t make those listed above, contact someone from the campaign. We want you!
Hope to see y’all on Monday. In the meantime, check out this awesome turbine