Students Get Out the Clean Energy Vote in California

There’s less than a month to go before the mid-term elections when Californians, myself included, will decide whether or not to approve Prop 23. The choice before us is whether we allow our state’s visionary global warming law AB32 to move us towards a healthy, sustainable future, or allow two Texas oil companies to continue holding us hostage to dirty energy sources.

That may sounds dramatic, but there really is that much at stake. Take a look at the last high-profile case in which outside influences used California’s ballot process to force their vision of society on us: Prop 8, the infamous drive to enshrine prejudice toward the LGBT community into our state constitution. In that case, the Mormon church wanted to foist their homophobia on us and force us all to live in a society shaped by their outdated, intolerant views. That time, the enemies of progress caught us napping. Not this time.

Student activists in particular are fired up and fighting back against Prop 23. One student even gave $100,000 to the No on Prop 23 campaign.

You might be asking, “What the hell kind of student can afford to hand out $100,000?” And, okay, this student happens to be Lucy Southworth, Stanford doctoral candidate and wife of Larry Page, who made quite a name for himself when he founded a little old search engine known as Google.

But Southworth is hardly a lone activist on campus. The “Clean Energy Tour,” organized by the California Students Sustainability Coalition and Communities United Against Prop 23, will be hitting campuses across California in the next month to organize students and communities of color in opposition to Prop 23, aka the “Dirty Energy Proposition.” The tour will feature several musical acts like Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Muggs, and Mike de la Rocha, and is focused on getting out the clean energy vote on November 2nd.

It’s probably no accident that some of the fiercest opposition to Prop 23 is coming from students. After all, they’ve got to steer this ship after they graduate, and they’d probably like some of it to be left in working order at that point, not devastated by the ravages of runaway global warming.

Tesoro and Valero, the two Texas oil companies behind Prop 23, are trying to lock us into a future of unabated greenhouse gas emissions just to protect their profits. Prop 23 would force them to reign in all of their pollution, including but not limited to carbon pollution. That’s good news for Californians, but bad news for oil companies. According to a new report, Tesoro and Valero have“repeatedly violated California’s health and safety protections, exposed our people to harmful toxins and put our communities in harm’s way.”

Simply put, Prop 23 serves the interests of Tesoro and Valero, not Californians.

Take a stand with the students and communities of California against the Dirty Energy Proposition. If you live in California, go to your polling place in November and vote “no.” If you live anywhere else, take the pledge to spread the word about Prop 23. It’s our future, we should make the decision about how it’s powered.

Photo credit: Clean Energy Tour

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