On Thursday, April 3rd, the public utilities office in Saint Paul served as a space for people to speak in opposition or in support of expansion to the Alberta clipper pipeline. The oil traveling through the Alberta Clipper comes from tar sands operations, said to be "the dirtiest form of oil on this planet" by 350.org. This expansion would mean an increase of 5 billion gallons per year coming through this pipeline. From my perspective, this expansion is not in the best interest of people and the planet, but when I was first presented with this opportunity to testify, I rejected it. The thought of speaking my mind in front of a powerful group of adults was terrifying, and that fear was enough to trump my commitment to act as an empowered young person and stand up for what I believe. However, I was lucky because Natalie Cook, the coordinator of theYouth Environmental Activists of Minnesota(YEA! MN) and the one who had asked me to testify in the first place, encouraged me to reconsider. I ended up deciding that there was no logical reason for me not to testify. If I don't want this pipeline expansion to happen, then I must add my voice to the opposition.
2012 was the hottest year on record within the United States. Many western states are in official states of drought. Climate change is now. Obama said this about climate change in his State of the Union address “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
On Wednesday, January 29th, four South High School students met with Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Canoto discuss the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center(HERC) incinerator. We were: sophomore, Sjournee Quaidoo, and seniors, Vivi Grieco, Shira Breen, and Etta Harkness Bartholdi. Previous to our meeting we had been learning about this issue and had been taking action for a few weeks by tabling for postcards at our school and going to HERC coalition meetings. Walking into the meeting, our goal was to convince Councilmember Cano to vote no on the HERC expansion in the spring. The discussion we had ended up going beyond what we all planned!
It has been a great first semester for YEA! MN this year. I met most of the students for the first time at our Steering Committee kick-off meeting in August. It was two days after I started and I had little idea what to expect. 15 students and myself had pizza in one of the co-chairs attic bedrooms, and while the temperatures are frigid now, it was a sticky, hot, and humid first meeting. Noneless, I was inspired by their plans for the semester and ability to work as a team. From that first meeting on I have not been let down.
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.