Although schools across the US are increasingly adopting greener energy alternatives, this is not the case for Michigan State University. The school has the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation burning over 200,000 tons of coal each year. In addition to contributing to climate change, the plant’s pollution contaminates the air in the community of East Lansing, and far beyond.
Greenpeace reports that the incidences of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, lung disease, and emphysema are drastically higher in areas near coal-fired power plants. It is estimated that coal pollution causes 31 deaths annually in East Lansing.
“Coal is harmful to our environment and us, but not everyone knows. I think it is important to raise awareness of the problem so it can be fixed and the damaging effects of coal can be stopped,” said student activist Kendra Majewski.
For two years MSU students have been engaged in Greenpeace’s Quit Coal campaign. Students have gathered petitions, rallied, marched, met with the administration, and brought clean energy experts to campus to meet with physical plant engineers. They are demanding that the administration quit coal and transition to clean energy. The MSU administration has thus far ignored their pleas.
Even though three students were recently arrested at a Michigan State University Sit-in, MSU activists have indicated that they are going to keep demanding clean air. Hundreds of other campuses across the nation have demonstrated in support of the school’s Quit Coal campaign. month of October’s 100 Actions for 100% Clean Energy.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.