By Morgan Spraker
Florida students recently achieved victories for renewable energy. In the past three weeks, student governments at the University of Central Florida, the University of West Florida and the University of South Florida passed resolutions that call for the use of 100 percent on-campus renewable energy. UWF called for a complete transition by 2050, while UCF and USFs’ resolution called for this transition to occur by 2040.
The idea of college campuses divesting from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources is not new: many activists have called for this over the years. However,now students have another challenge: A commitment to 100 percent renewable energy in Florida.
Environment Florida’s Student Voices for 100% Renewable Energy campaign showcases why student activists want Florida to commit to stop using fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable sources of energy. Told through a series of personal narratives, students explain the importance of renewable energy in Florida.
I’ve been compiling student narratives about renewable energy for the campaign. I’ve found that while students want renewable energy for various reasons, there is a common thread: students want a healthier, cleaner future and see renewable energy as a means to attain it.
Renewable energy doesn’t produce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, renewables reduce air pollution and can help prevent global warming. As we see more effects of climate change — worsening and more frequent severe weather, fluctuating temperatures, and more — going renewable is more important than ever, especially for young people.
Plus, Florida provides the perfect site for renewable energy use, specifically solar, with its plentiful, year-round sun. As of 2019, Florida ranked fifth in the nation solar power generating capacity — leaving plenty of room for improvement into the future.
To me, as a student and a lifelong Floridian, our state is long overdue for renewable energy.
After graduation, I want to make a life here in Florida. I want to revisit the beaches of my childhood, and I want Florida to remain a viable place to live, not somewhere doomed to be swept away in sea level rise. In my own narrative, I wrote that opportunities for renewable energy are ample. All we need is the willpower and courage to do it. We have a responsibility to protect and preserve Florida’s natural beauty, and renewable resources would be a significant way to do so.
Like other students, I know renewable energy means a number of things. It means preserving the natural beauty we grew up surrounded by. It means cleaner air and healthier lungs. Here in Florida, renewable energy is a means to maintain our current shoreline so that endangered habitats aren’t destroyed. It means cleaner air, cleaner water and a cleaner world.
Renewable energy is better environmentally, socially, economically and morally. If Florida legislators want a future in which young people like me view this state as a viable place to live, they must commit to creating a cleaner future for us.
To read more students’ stories, visit Student Voices for 100% Renewable Energy.
To make your voice heard as a student, submit to Student Voices.