Today, long before sunrise, the Greenpeace Semester students met with the NC State student group, Fossil Free, to paint a tunnel linking parts of the campus that receives a heavy flow of student traffic throughout the day. The students met at 6am, bleary eyed and excited about the day’s activities and the ability to be creative with numerous brushes, paint cans, stencils, and spray paint bottles. Messages instructing students to meet in the brickyard, a large courtyard in the center of campus, at 1pm for a “die in”, as well as Fossil Free’s messages of a “cleaner is cheaper” future and “be the change” outlined the walkway in an array of colors for students to read while on their way to class. The organized excitement and passion of the students, both on campus and with the Semester, was obvious and contagious.
After the painting session, the Semester students met to make signs for the “die in” scheduled for later in the day. Although exhausted, everyone powered through with high spirits and many baked goods. At 1pm everyone organized into the brickyard to prepare for the event. Twenty five students gathered within the middle of the brickyard and with one loud, high pitched scream as a cue, the entire group collapsed, representing those who have died due to the destruction that coal fired power plants create. The campus press came to take pictures, while students laid on the ground, surrounded by others who were chalking their bodies and handing them signs to hold. Spectators gathered around and began to ask questions and request more information. After the event completed, the activists went around asking people to call into the offices of local Duke representatives demanding investment in renewable energy and no more coal plants.
The day ended with a great feeling of success and accomplishment. The energy was high and the response from the NC State campus was a desired one. The Greenpeace Semester ended the day with a game of bowling with Fossil Free and then headed home to close out the week!
#ncsu students, come to the #brickyard at one today! #freeexpression #ncstate #renewable #renewableenergy
Killed by coal #freeexpression #ncstate #ncsu #fossilfree #fossilfreencsu #renewable #renewableenergy
Greenpeace semester student @tree_bythe_river paints inspiration all over the #freeexpression tunnel at #ncstate university. #ncsu #fossilfree #fossilfreencsu
@devindangerpants painting #fossilfree logo on the #freeexpression tunnel at #ncstate #ncsu #fossilfreencsu
#fossilfree @fossilfreencsu #renewable #renewableenergy #greenpeace #synergy #teamwork #early #freeexpression
Some pictures, partially at the rally/hearing bonanza, and some of us working with the Fossil Free at NC State group!
Devin Kanafani is a video editing queen.
“I pay 3 electric bills and I am against this rate hike.” This evening the 6 students of the Greenpeace Semester and I listened to residents of Raleigh, NC as they testified to their Public Utilities Commission about the rate hikes that Duke Energy is trying to make them pay. This particular woman talked about the fact that she pays as much as $500 every month to make sure that her and her family’s lights stay on. That means that if Duke Energy gets the increases it wants, her bill will go up by over $50, which she simply can’t afford.
Another man took the stand to point out that Duke’s long term plan has a grand total of 3.5% renewable energy over the next 10 years while there are whole countries that will be going 100% renewable in the same time period.
Those were just two testimonies among many that we heard but they hit the nail on the head. Duke is asking working families to pay more for energy so that the company can continue to burn coal, which in turn pollutes the air that those same families breathe.
The Greenpeace Semester spent three days last week going door to door talking to Raleigh residents about these rate hikes and inviting them to come out and testify against increases. Since Duke has a complete monopoly over the energy distribution in both North and South Carolina the residents of both states have no choice but to pay increasingly high rates for Duke’s dirty energy. Testifying at hearings like this is one of the only chances they have to make sure their opinions on where their energy comes from get taken into consideration.
That is why the Semester chose to spend our spring 2013 campaign trip helping raise awareness about Duke’s dirty expensive energy and encouraging people to take a stand for cleaner cheaper energy. And it worked. In just 3 days we had over 350 people sign petitions against Dukes rate hikes and we saw several of those people at tonight’s hearing. One of the most memorable conversations I had was with a man who quickly agreed to sign the petition and as he did so told me “I’m so glad you’re out here, people should be outraged about this.”
Our trip so far has been organizing at its best; hard work with real pay off in the form of good conversations, awareness raised, petitions signed and delivered, and real people standing up for a cleaner, more affordable future.
If you’d like to read more quotes, we live-tweeted for a portion of the public hearing, check our twitter out here: