Monday, February 10, 2014

Dirty Money, Dirty Planet: A Conversation on Coal Divestment

Want to learn more about coal issues and divestment? Join UIUC Beyond Coal and UIUC Students for Environmental Concerns this Tuesday for “Dirty Money, Dirty Planet: A Conversation on Coal Divestment.”

The event will feature speakers from local environmental groups who are also striving to move communities beyond coal. One of the presenters is Sue Smith from Stand Up to Coal, a grassroots association fighting Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog underground coal mine in Champaign and Vermilion counties. Sue will shine a light on the human face of coal extraction and production, showing the devastating effects resource exploitation can have on frontline communities. Traci Barkley, a water resources scientist at Prairie Rivers Network, will be a member of the panel as well. PRN is Champaign-Urbana-based non-profit organization which advocates for policies and cultural values that best protect aquatic ecosystems and waterways throughout the state of Illinois. Traci heads the organization’s coal pollution campaign, where she works to hold coal polluters accountable by strengthening pollution standards and safeguards on the environment and the public.

Following presentations from the panel, UIUC Beyond Coal will share some history of the campaign and detail what we hope to accomplish in light of the recent divestment vote. This is an exciting time for our campaign, as we have momentum and documented support of the student body. In addition to this, presenters from the campaign will cover the history of divestment and its examples of success from the past. Divestment can be a confusing topic to the untrained eye; we will be breaking down the process and its relation to the University of Illinois.

Members of the campaign and panel will field questions from the audience following the presentations.

Our University is inching away from the harmful practices of the coal industry, but to further facilitate this process we need feedback from fellow students. With the divestment movement growing each day, now is an imperative time for students to realize that they hold the power to make a difference. Join us on Tuesday, February 11th to voice your opinion, inquire, or just listen. We would love to hear from you. The meeting will be held at 6:30 PM in Room 213 of Gregory Hall. We hope to see you there!