UCSB Fossil Free and UC for Clean Energy are hosting “Energy: Reclaim the Name,” an event that educates students on clean energy investments, today at Storke Plaza from noon to 3 p.m. and at Campbell Hall from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sponsored by the Environmental Affairs Board, the free event will feature clean energy teach-ins and activities at Storke Plaza that offer free food, prizes and an open-mic opportunity for attendees to discuss fossil fuel divestment and clean energy solutions. Later at Campbell Hall, the event will spotlight keynote speakers such as Green Party 2012 presidential candidate Jill Stein and conclude with a Q&A session and reception period in the Campbell Hall lobby.
According to Chellsee Lee, EAB’s Clean Energy Chair and Founder of UCCE, the purpose of the event is to push students to think more responsibly about energy use and environmental issues. The goal of the event is to encourage students to change the current system today and fight for actions they want implemented, Lee said.
“The significance of the teach-in event is to start a discussion about UCSB and energy on campus,” Lee said. “We need to become more responsible for our voices revolving around energy use and energy investments here on campus, and we are working to show students that they can make a difference here at USCB and in the world by standing up for what they believe in. We are giving students the power and community to feel comfortable being dissatisfied with our current system and to challenge it.”
Lee said the event will be a day to freely express and absorb opinions and ideas, as well as to listen to expert speakers such as Stein.
“We are providing inspiration, motivation and education in just one day for free,” Lee said. “This event is not just for those who are environmental studies students; this event is a great way to become interested and gain knowledge about an issue.”
According to Correy Koshnick, EAB Co-Chair, it is important for community members to educate themselves on clean energy sources and practice conservational methods at home.
“Our daily lives would be crippled without the external energy sources we use, [such as] fueling vehicles, electrical power, heating/cooling buildings … and it is clear that within the next 100 years we need a new source,” Koshnick said. “Our lives will be the transition, and it is very urgent we find something suitable or life will become much less comfortable for many people. I believe that we must learn about clean energy sources so we can maintain our way of life and avoid collapse.”
Emily Williams, EAB Statewide Affairs Coordinator and UCSB Fossil Fuel Campaign Coordinator, said students need to know that widespread usage of fossil fuels is one of the primary causes of climate change.
“Climate change is the largest threat to our modern world. It causes droughts, intensified storms, melting sea-ice, ocean acidification, health effects and increased hospitalizations,” Williams said. “There is a limited supply of these fuels. We’re going to have to transition anyway, since we will run out of coal, oil and natural gas in the next 50 to 100 years. We may as well start that transition now while we have the resources to invest in new technologies and have the chance to avoid true climate catastrophe.”
Koshnick said the event, however, will not focus extensively on the scientific details of climate change and environmental issues. Instead, it will be an opportunity for students to be plugged into, and involved in, the clean energy campaigns.
“I anticipate many students will already be knowledgeable on the basics of climate change so we won’t be teaching them the science side,” Koshnick said. “I hope this teach-in will inspire other students to organize for a cause. I think Storke Plaza will give it the visibility we need to show the power of student organizing.”
Williams said the goal of the event is to provide an open forum on issues regarding clean energy and fossil fuels.
“We hope that this event will spur conversations,” Williams said. “We hope to facilitate a discussion, acting as a sort of catalyst to get people talking. We want to spark interest in those otherwise uninterested and give insights into what the use of fossil fuels really means for a society.”