MSU Beyond Coal, Greenpeace pedal for Moving Planet event
While most MSU students were celebrating a Spartan football win Saturday afternoon, numerous students were busy fighting for a victory of their own.
About 25 students, including members of MSU Beyond Coal and MSU Greenpeace, gathered outside Administration Building to raise awareness on the dangers of burning coal for energy on campus.
The students then rode their bikes to the Capitol where they met with other campaigners in the Lansing area, who all were promoting other environmental issues throughout their communities.
Their effort was part of Moving Planet, an international event held Saturday with more than 2,000 events held in more than 175 countries, according to 350.org, an organization working
to solve the climate crisis through mass public campaigns.
Supply chain management junior Eric Price, a member of MSU Beyond Coal, said the group is working to push away from fossil fuels and coal and transition to renewable energy.
The organization sponsored the Moving Planet event.
Tori Wong, an organizer with the Sierra Club and resident from the Lansing area said MSU has the largest on-campus coal plant, burning 600 tons of coal daily.
“That’s polluting us. It’s making us sick and we’re sick of it,” Wong said. “We are sick of being polluted and unhealthy.”
Although the issue of burning coal is specific to MSU, the campaign on a global level is aiming to lower the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 392 parts per million to 350 parts per million, which scientists say is necessary to preserve our planet.
When asked if the rallying grabbed the attention of MSU’s administration, MSU Trustee Joel Ferguson initially did not know what rally had happened this weekend, but said students voicing their opinions was a positive thing.
“There’s already been attention (to the issue of burning coal), but it’s great to see students are active,” Ferguson said. “It’s part of what people go to a university for.”
Linguistics and philosophy sophomore Adam Liter said there is not a simple solution to the problem.
“The solution needs to be a wide range of different things,” Liter said. “It would be a combination of some geothermal … wind and solar and a lot of other technology.”
This has not been the first time a protest on MSU’s campus has focused on coal use.