Thursday, October 18, 2007

The students have to be leaders ...

This article appeared in "The Underground," a U of T newspaper, Sept. 04

U of T students take one step at a time
by Anthony Geremia

“The students have to be leaders; there’s a lot riding on this."

Sarah Dover, environmental lawyer and member of Greenpeace, is aware of the hardships that come with being an environmentalist. “If you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and powerless,” she said, “you are having a healthy reaction to the fact of environmental crisis in our time.”

University of Toronto activists,Students Against Climate Change (SACC), had one of their weekly meetings on July 20 at the St. George campus.

The group, in the words of one of its founders, Paul York, was created out of “a need among the student population. What’s shocking [to] me is that we don’t have mass movement on campuses across the country.”

SACC recently joined the Closed Doors Campaign, which travels to downtown Toronto to convince retailers to shut their doors in the summer to reduce air conditioning.

Sarah Dover, who said she leads a funky professional life where she does environmental campaigning, was present that night to discuss the dilemma of nuclear energy in Ontario, warning about the crisis to come.

“Our nuclear system is aging and failing,” she said. “The lie or liability of nuclear power is being revealed.”

With an Ontario provincial election on Oct. 10, this becomes even more important, Dover said. She said the fate of power generation in Ontario literally rests on its outcome, one of the key components of the election being the direction Ontarians move in, nuclear or otherwise.

“Globally, the nuclear industry is dying and its great hope for breakthrough is Ontario,” Dover said.

Dover talked about the Vote for Clean Energy campaign, describing it as a group devoted to taking direct action, keeping the voters informed, and hoping to influence the election for the better.

According to Paul York, people are still skeptical that air and windpower can provide the province with enough energy, and that nuclear power is the only way to keep the lights on. In reality, he said, Ontario has more than enough renewable resources to keep things running smoothly, it is just that people have not taken advantage them.

“If we’re not working on it, I can guarantee you no one else is,” York said. “You can’t count on [the governments] to do anything, they have to be lobbied constantly, and they’re followers, not leaders. The students have to be leaders...building a clean, safe, renewable future, and there’s a lot riding on this.”

Caption: the nuclear industry got a 'sweetheart deal' with McGuinty's promise to hand over $46 billion in taxpayers' money.

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