Proper channels can bring change

Kernel Editorial Board

With every flick of the switch, every PowerPoint presentation given, every article typed up at W.T. Young Library and every meal you heat up with a microwave in your dorm, coal is being used.

We have coal to thank for our lights being on, coal to thank for the heat that keeps us toasty at night and coal to thank as we surf Facebook on our shiny laptops.

Being aware of our campus’ reliance on coal is important. Coal plays a large role in the history of both our state and university.

But a group of a students want to bring change to our campus, and the means by which they’re causing change could truly make a difference.

UK Beyond Coal has a goal of making UK coal-free by 2015. In May 2008, the Brookings Institution named Lexington No. 100 on its list of the nation’s largest carbon footprint producers — the worst in the nation.

While this fact has been touted by many an environmentalist for the past two years, Sierra Club interns and members of UK Beyond Coal have said enough is enough.

“I want (people) to be aware this is going on, to understand the harmful effects coal is having on the community and the state,” said UK Beyond Coal faculty intern Laura Peot in a Feb. 3 Kernel article. “I want people to know the truth.”

By going through the proper channels, working with adminstration and working with this campus, these students are finding a way to have their voices heard. And a small group of organized students possesses much power.

We’re reminded of the work of the Green Fee, UK Greenthumb with the administration and Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder.

After a three-year discussion regarding the Green Fee, it came to an end at the March 2009 Board of Trustees meeting, and created a recurring revenue stream for sustainability on campus.

By starting small and going big, these students have the opportunity to help make our campus a leader in renewable resources.

Through the power of voices and cooperation — not vigilante fliers and banners that waste an innumerable amount of paper —  UK Beyond Coal, with support from the Sierra Club and the Sierra Student Coalition, can help foster the discussion of this campus’ use of coal and help UK move foward in a mature and educated manner.