Student Conference of the Parties

Wow. I just got back from SJSF’s Student Conference of the Parties (SCOP) in collaboration with the Pricing Carbon Conference. I was utterly impressed with and inspired by both halves of the event.

The Pricing Carbon Conference took place on Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, CT, November 19-21st. The event was co-hosted by Wesleyan’s newly established College of the Environment and the Price Carbon Campaign. Partners in the Conference included the Climate Crisis Coalition, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Carbon Tax Center, Future 500, Progressive Democrats of America, and our very own Students for a Just and Stable Future.

SJSF held its Student Conference of the Parties during workshop sessions and overtime, diligently amending, debating, and deliberating on our final product: a Declaration to be sent to our leaders at the international Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico next week.

The process of creating the declaration filled me with a sense of empowerment and renewed dedication to complete our part in the solution. The declaration consists of 3 parts: the first, a picture of climate change -– a view of the alarming state of the world we will see unfold if we continue on the road before us; the second, a commitment on our own behalf to act in very specific, deliberate ways to lead us to a clean energy future; the third, a strong and sincere call to action that we demand from our local, state, and world leaders. I give extra kudos to the students who worked on the first of the three parts; the first read-through of their revised version sent goose bumps through the room.

The Pricing Carbon Conference itself was fascinating. Key note speeches were given by James Hansen, leading Climate Change scientist, and Bill McKibbon, founder of 350 movement. The conference focused on the immediate necessity of pricing CO2 emissions. Speakers and attendees reflected a shift in the majority support in terms of pricing carbon options; while the Cap & Trade method was discussed, most prominently supported was the method of Fee & Dividend. Under Fee & Dividend, a fee would be placed on products based upon the inherent carbon costs of their production, and then the full amount of the revenue (or a majority percentage, if so decided) would be returned to the consumers by way of a check/electronic deposit. The revenue money would be returned evenly to all consumers, and so those who consume less carbon-intensive products will end up saving money, while those who consume more may lose money in the end.

A sincere thanks to everyone who made this conference possible and to the organizers who invited SJSF students to attend! I look forward to SJSF working alongside the other sponsoring organizations in building up the fight against climate change!

-Rachel Soule

You can view the declaration and add your name to the signatories list at:

Flyer Book

Today I was walking in the hallway and I saw all these flyers. Then I went to the bathroom and thought how important information is and how much information there is so much that is, but then it is lost forever. Like there is so much in the world, but then it id lost forever to time. These flyers all over campus are pretty much trash right now, but think about fifty years from now. People will be like, “whoa there used to be a Students For Environmental Action Club? LOLOLOLOL THERE IS NO MORE ENVIRONMENT!!!
What I am saying is basically, reduce reuse recycle.
Also, we should take a unique flyer of every sort off the wall, and instead of throwing it out, put it in a binder and then if Brandeis lasts longer than a ten more years, eleven years from now, people will have some vague idea of who was here eleven years before them. And those kids eleven years from now, living after megacorporations destroy all of the environment, and people need lifesuits breathe air and live will see that there was a club called SEA and say, “Let’s resurrect SEA and then bring back the environment!”

Why You Ought to Vote AGAINST the “Brandeis Sustainability Fund”

So the SEA kids are trying to get us to subsidize their cause by giving $50,000 a year to a new “sustainability” board. Here is a summary of what the proposed $7.50 per semester fee would do. The Facebook event lists such worthy proposals as a “Green themed Pachanga,” “shower minders,” and “energy efficient exercise equipment,” whatever that means (It also lists improving DeisBikes twice, as if the writers were running out of ideas). Of course, these are only suggestions. The actual project has no specifics whatsoever, and depends on whatever students come up with after the fee has been passed. We don’t actually know whether this enormous pile of money we’re giving would have any real benefit, because there are no actual concrete plans.

I don’t like this at all. Firstly, I think it’s morally reprehensible to prioritize the sort of small improvements suggested on the Facebook over the livelihoods of Brandeis workers. Our university is in the midst of a particularly precarious financial time, and the administration has gotten rid of staff in addition to announcing a reduction of faculty by 10%. This money could save a job. I think it would be utterly despicable to spend more money on bicycles and Pachanga (which are already very well funded), when we could rally to save the livelihood of a Brandeis worker. Shame on SEA for prioritizing politics over people.

I also think this is an unfair way of pushing an agenda. All clubs have the same pool of resources to draw from, yet SEA is greedily attempting to squeeze more money out of students. Yes, I know, I know, Mr. Waizer, they’re not the ones on the board, and it’s independent. But it’s their proposal. In fact, the official summary linked to above bears ONLY the names of SEA members. And we all know what club’s members will have the best qualifications for a seat on the new board. It’s independent on paper, sure, but the entire proposal is being created and lobbied for by SEA, and serves their club’s purposes.

$7.50 may not seem like a vast amount, but it’s hardly negligible, and if other factions pick up on this method (as they should, if it works!), we might see a deluge of new fee plans. And why should the Environmentalists get money and the Labor people not? Why shouldn’t we have a special fund for the anti-genocide people or the AIDS groups or the Zionists? We can’t allow proponents of various causes to start levying their own fees on students, else we will erode the entire purpose of a communal fund. We really must get everyone out in force to vote NO on Monday. The fee should be optional or should not exist at all.