Prior to the Educate the Vote panel at Bailey Hall last Friday, members of the KyotoNOW! were on the Bailey Plaza campaigning for “Green Jobs Now” and calling for young voters to pledge to make energy policies a top priority in the upcoming election.
The purpose of Green Jobs Now is to get voters to discuss the potential to revitalize our economy with clean, safe and just green jobs that lift people out of poverty.
“We are trying to make clean energy and green jobs a part of the debate and a part of what people think about when they search for [their] candidate’s policies,” Kimberly Schroder ’09, tabling chair for the Power Vote campaign said, standing next to a poster, which read in bold green letters “GREEN JOBS … helping the environment and our economy.”
Schroder emphasized that Power Vote is a bi-partisan youth organization that strongly encourages voters to look over their candidate’s energy policy and does not favor one candidate over another based solely on party lines.
According to Schroder, about 100 more attendees pledged on Friday, bringing the total number of Cornell pledges to 1,100 and the national number close to 150,000.
When asked about whether Power Vote’s denunciation of coal would exclude voters that believe in the concept of “clean coal,” Schroder emphasized that bipartisanship does not necessarily mean that each and every voter will be included. “Clean coal is [only] less dirty,” she said, citing a need to invest in a technology that is “actually clean … way cleaner than coal, even clean coal.”
“We are not advocating shutting down existing coal plants” she clarified, in an attempt to emphasize that her organization only asks that new power plants be green in nature. “Obama supports clean coal; Obama’s energy policy is not perfect.”
In almost every instance, attendees of Educate the Vote who were confronted about Green Jobs Now pledged to make sustainable energy a top-priority in their vote.
One man considered his pledge a support for the “green collar industry.” He added, “The auto industry has still not taken a viable course of action. We need to retool America’s industry to [achieve] a shared developmental technology throughout the world.”
“We should have started long ago,” said Amy McKlindon ’09.
Dawn Gearhart ’10, an undecided voter, thought of her pledge to make energy policies a top priority as “just one [deciding] factor.” Gearhart went on to blame the use of fossil fuel and the concept of “clean coal.”
“Our generation cares about clean energy and that affects the vote … that’s why I’m here,” said Gearhart.
Some attendees of Educate the Vote, however, refused to pledge.
“I’m not going to sign it. [I] just feel uncomfortable signing things that are political in nature,” said a woman who described the petition as “not the only thing” that should be taken into account when voting.