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Student puts Lewis & Clark in top five on “green vote” initiative

November 04, 2008

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    Rachel Young ‘11, president of the environmental organization Students Engaged in Eco-Defense

Over the course of the fall semester, sophomore Rachel Young, president of the environmental organization Students Engaged in Eco-Defense, has been talking with hundreds of  her peers about clean energy solutions and asking them to consider making the issue a priority in their voting decision this November. Those she has been able to persuade have signed cards reading, “I pledge to vote for clean and just energy.” Her efforts are part of PowerVote.org, a non-partisan campaign to engage millions in seeking political support for wind and solar power, efficient buildings and sustainable transportation.

At the end of October, Young had gathered more than 750 signatures, putting Lewis & Clark in the top five among colleges with the highest percentage of student participation.

Why did you take up this project ?

I took up this project for a few reasons. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to merge the elections with the over-arching environmental movement. Young voters have such an opportunity to change the direction this election is going, and I was looking for a way to let my peers know that we have power in numbers that no other generation has. Also, the Power Vote Campaign stands on a platform of morals and ideals that correlate to what I believe in. I strongly believe that the only solution to the economic crisis that we face in America, and the climate crisis our planet faces, is through a new “green” economy and training in green jobs.

Why do you think Lewis & Clark students have been so responsive to PowerVote.org?

I think that students at LC have a strong urge to be engaged and voice their opinions and Power Vote is the perfect way for us to get involved. Also, LC is a progressive school filled with intelligent students who are incredibly politically conscious. Generally, LC students are liberal, highly aware of the environmental movement, and concerned about the direction our country is headed. As a community, I believe we know there needs to be a change, and we are ready to tell politicians what we want changed.

What do you hope to see from the next president and Congress in terms of policy reform, actions?

Washington needs to seriously reconsider three  aspects of policy and the American society: transportation, food, and architecture. We need to look critically at where we are getting our food from and how we are growing food; the technology we are using to transport ourselves; and the sort of heating and electricity we are using in our buildings and homes. All these things need to become clean, renewable, and sustainable.

In the next president, I hope to see priority put on solving our economic crisis using new green jobs and a new system of educating people about their environmental impact. I want to see money invested in creating new technology that harnesses our renewable resources that are plentiful and non-polluting. We need to get out of this “bridge fuel” mind set. Alternative fossil fuels are not the answer. Specifically, I want investment in educating people on new technology and resources being put into training people to create and install these new technologies. I also want to see district-wide localization planning put into action. We must customize energy resources to the area a community is located and do what makes sense economically for that specific community. I believe that real reform is needed, and if America doesn’t become an example for the rest of the world, then the planet Earth we are accustomed to will be gone.

For more information:

Jodi Heintz
Public Relations Director
503-768-7961
jodih@lclark.edu