The World War II battle of Iwo Jima ended with an epic photograph of US forces raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, known as “Raising the Flag.” This photograph represented the end of a battle and signified the struggle and triumph of that battle with Japan. Over the years, this image has been recreated again and again. Years later, the Energy Action Coalition replaced the American flag with a wind turbine to symbolize the peaceful struggle and the much-needed triumph we can achieve with a clean, renewable energy future. This is ONLY energy future we can accept if we want to stop destroying our people, planet, and climate for dirty energy.
This week in the snow-covered, frigid land of East Lansing, Michigan State University students brought a call to action, recreating this iconic image all across campus. Why? Because in a far off corner of south campus at Michigan State lurks the LARGEST campus coal-fired steam plant in the nation, burning 250,000 tons of dirty, dangerous coal every year. A dirty coal plant that was fined last year for violating emissions standards set by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment - awesome, right?
Not exactly. That's why students sprung to action!
MSU Greenpeace joined forces with MSU Beyond Coal and MSU Eco, calling for an end to all dirty energy on campus and to usher in a clean, renewable energy future with sources like wind and solar power. “Raising the Turbine” has taken campus by storm! This week of action has brought students and campus community members out to participate in raising the turbine, calling on Michigan State’s President Lou Anna K. Simon and Board of Trustees to heed the call of students and switch to 100 percent renewable energy.
"MSU has the opportunity to commit to such a transition and truly lead the green movement - the clean energy revolution," said MSU Greenpeace President Tabitha Skervin, speaking while the turbine was erected at Brody Square on Tuesday. "There is no question that this movement will happen, and MSU has the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this movement!"
While raising the turbine, students have also raised a question to the Michigan State administration. Will MSU transition from dirty energy to renewable energy? Will President Simon and the Board of Trustees agree that 31 deaths per year in the Lansing area due to coal are unacceptable? That over 500,000 asthma attacks, up to 36,000 deaths each year, 12,000 heart attacks each year, and nearly half a trillion dollars per year in hidden costs due to coal is downright immoral. Will Michigan State answer the students' calls for change and demonstrate the leadership needed to spark an energy revolution?
While Tabitha, MSU Greenpeace, and other environmental groups call for Michigan State to lead the nation in transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, Power Shift fever has also swept campus by storm.
Wednesday night, MSU Eco, MSU Beyond Coal, and MSU Greenpeace hosted Michigan State’s first of many Power Shift 2011 registration kickoff parties! Dozens of students registered, and are committing to join the movement for a clean, renewable energy future.
Michigan State is Raising the Turbine (RSVP here) for the only future we can afford. The only future with no more deaths or destruction from dirty coal, or any dirty energy source.
How will you Raise the Turbine at your school?
Join Tabitha, MSU Greenpeace, and 10,000 others this April at Power Shift 2011. Register RIGHT NOW before the Sunday, February 27th deadline.
WE are the clean energy future. WE have no planet B.
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