According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if Florida (the sunshine state) installed 1,500MW of solar generating capacity, the state would create up to 45,000 direct jobs in the industry. That’s on top of the 50,000 indirect jobs that would be generated as a result of construction and installation.
The Florida Youth Environmental Sustainability Coalition (FL YES Coalition) is the youth-led state network. The Florida YES Coalition works to promote and maintain an inclusive youth network in order to empower and mobilize communities to advocate for and achieve social justice and environmental sustainability in Florida. Florida YES has worked since 2007 to ensure Green Fees are implemented within the Florida State University System, engage youth voters, fight dirty energy such as nuclear and coal, and responded to the BP Oil Disaster. Florida YES is open to any and all Florida Youth. The FL YES Coalition currently does not have a structured steering committee; however, we are constantly seeking new leaders and leadership. To get involved in the FL YES Coalition and connect with Florida youth, you may contact Jacquie Ayala, SEN Florida Organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Campaign Descriptions
Student Green Energy Fund
Since 2007 Florida students have fought hard to gain grassroots and administrative support for the Student Green Energy Fund. The Student Green Energy Fund is a dollar per credit hour fee to be spent on improving the use of renewable energy technologies or energy efficiencies that directly lowering the universities greenhouse gas emissions, waste, or energy costs. The Student Green Energy Fund has a long history in Florida, originally starting out as a State Legislation campaign, after a lawsuit settlement in 2010 between the Florida Board of Governors and State Legislature, FL YES now works to establish approval for the Student Green Energy Fund from the Florida Board of Governors. In 2011 both New College Florida and University of South Florida were the first universities to officially implement the Student Green Energy Fund on their campuses. At University of South Florida alone, over a million dollars a year will be generated each year for renewable energy projects on campus.
No Nukes, Go Solar! Campaign
Florida students will be pressuring the Florida Public Service Commission and elected officials to stop all proposed new nuclear reactors by teaming up with Florida activists and allied organizations. Four new reactors have been proposed through Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy, and not only are these proposed nuclear reactors going to cost billions of taxpayer dollars, but anti-consumer legislation in Florida even allows these corporations to bill their ratepayers now for new reactors that have not been licensed yet. This process is called early-cost recovery, and with new reactors costing as much as $42 billion, we can only expect ratepayers to be hit with higher energy rates as utilities continue to pursue new nuclear. Students have already felt this affect in Florida, particularly on those campuses serviced by these utility companies. Florida students will be pushing for more investment in solar power through their Student Green Energy Fund work and a divestment in nuclear energy on their campuses. Florida students will also be pressuring their elected officials by demonstrating their leadership for a clean energy economy and demanding a clean energy future for Florida. Students will be asking their University Presidents to sign a commitment for clean and safe energy through their Student Green Energy Fund work, to ensure that campuses embrace real, clean energy solutions – not false solutions like nuclear.
Power Shift 2013 & 2011
Hundreds of Florida students attended Power Shift 2013, which is hosted by the Energy Action Coalition and supported by Southern Energy Network. In 2013, FL YES mobilized 300 young Floridians to Power Shift in Pittsburgh, PA – the third largest delegation of students from one state for all of Power Shift. In 2011, youth raised more than $30,000 to support 250 students attending Power Shift in Washington, DC. Florida YES leaders served as Coaches and Facilitators in the nation’s largest movement building and grassroots organizing training, organized by New Organizing Institute in partnership with Energy Action Coalition.
Power Vote 2008, 2010, & 2012
During the past three election years, Florida youth and Southern Energy Network have collaborated with the Energy Action Coalition on their Power Vote campaign. Most recently Florida youth included voter registration into the tradition voter engagement campaign. In 2010 Youth In Florida registered over 2,000 voters, engaged 3000 currently registered voters, and made 3,000 Get out the vote phone calls. In 2012, we mobilized over 2,000 students to the polls.
BP Oil Disaster Response
Florida youth hosted energy independence events in July. Students at FGCU, UF and FIU got very involved within the larger community in holding buzz cuts for the Gulf and collecting hair while constructing hair boom. Several campuses received campus and community media hits around the work they did. Students also wrote LTEs, made phones calls, and lobbied the state legislator around this issue.