KSU environmental group Our Owl Prints for Clean Energy, also known as OOPS for Clean Energy, held its first Clean Coal Discussion to raise awareness of coal energy usage, Wednesday Feb. 20.
The goal of the initiative is to persuade President Papp to switch KSU’s energy source from coal to a more environmentally friendly and healthier source of energy. The meeting was the first installment of a three-part discussion series.
Two guest speakers were featured on Wednesday.
Eric Blevins, a member of a mountaintop removal prevention group and Seth Gunning a campaign organizer for the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, a conservationist organization, talked about mountaintop removal and the biological and environmental repercussions of coal mining.
Mountaintop removal is a method of coal excavation. Explosives such as ammonium nitrate-fuel oil are used to blast through levels of rock to access coal reserves. After the coal is extracted, the waste and remains are pushed into mountain valleys.
The coal dust pollutes the air, causing severe diseases such as asthma, lung cancer and liver failure. Quite often, mining sites are started dangerously close to small mountain communities. After excavation, waste is disposed directly into streams that are used for irrigation and drinking water. According to Gunning, “there are more regulations for the disposal of a banana peel than for coal.”
The best way to stop coal energy is through renewable energy. Solar and wind energy are both fast-growing alternatives to coal energy that do not require the use of explosives and do not produce waste.
After the presentations, OOPS members passed around a petition to stop KSU from using coal energy. Even though the turn out for the event was small, OOPS will be conducting two more sessions. †he next event will be held March 20 at 12:30 p.m.
The club is led by senior, Michelle Allen and several other members. Allen attended GreenPeace semester, a five-week program that teaches young adults how to become environmental leaders. In those five weeks, Allen says she learned how to recruit members, delegate tasks and address administration.
OOPS is planning several other events for the semester to aid in clean energy awareness.
For more information on, visit the group at http:// oopsforcleanenergy.tumblr.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/ oopsforcleanenergy.