Columbia is a beautiful city. From my fifth-floor residence I can see the tree line on the horizon, the blue sky, the top of Jesse Hall and…two huge smokestacks.
The smokestacks come from MU's power plant. I was stunned when I found out we get 80 percent of our campus energy in that plant from coal. It seemed like such an old-fashioned figure for a school that’s at the forefront of so many social justice movements.
Coal plants are a serious contributor to global warming, emitting 40percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions (The Department of Energy reported that in 2006, coal-fired power plants produced approximately 36 percent of the total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions). Coal is flat out dirty and damaging to our community.
But the great thing is that at MU we have the means to change that. Because we own the power plant, not only can we be self-sustaining in energy production, but we also have complete control over the kind of fuels we burn on campus. We need to switch to a clean energy source for the sake of our students, our city and the world.
I love MU, because every day I see students and faculty advocating important issues and really making an impact. Let’s take the next step and invest in coal-free, sustainable energy on our campus.