Two weeks ago, a state-wide nonprofit group called Environment California tabled at different locations across campus to get stu- dents in opposition of Proposition 23, one of California’s statutes on the ballot this November.
According to its opponents, it is also known as the “Dirty Energy Prop,” and it aims to suspend the California Global Warming Act of 2006, also known as AB32, and as a result is projected to create more jobs in California (supporters name it the “California Jobs Initiative”).
AB 32 has served as California’s landmark clean air legislation; this act set high standards for energy, with the hopes of reducing CO2 emissions and caused a large shifting of energy to renewable sources by public utilities across the state. It was passed by California State Legislature and signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.
For hours on end, Environment California tabled in the entrance of Market Café and Harney Plaza. The tables had information on Prop 23, pledges and voter registration. USF professors and students have been getting involved in the campaign.
“For all of its faults, California is a great place and there has been a greater acceptance here from the beginning,” Professor Stephen Zavestoski, associate professor and chair of sociology and environmental studies, said.
Zavestoski was so moved by the proposition that he contacted Environment California to come to USF. Environment California helped pass AB 32 in 2006 and are one of the guiding forces in the campaign against Prop 23.
Zavestoski believes that Prop 23 is not the right answer.
“If there’s a place for green living to come into existence,” he said, “it would be California to do it and push the envelope. Whatever position people hold on climate change is irrelevant because there is not much petroleum left, so we must move to renewable sources.”
Sean Carol, a field organizer for Environment California, worked the tables last week. Carol has worked with the group since he graduated from college five years ago.
“The reason I got involved is because I was mad at politicians and their legislation, but I stayed involved because of what we have done as a group,” he said.
Environment California has been at 45 different college campuses across California to get students involved in the campaign against Prop 23. The nonprofit group is funded by citizens and is working in a coalition with other groups in California to get 35,000 students to vote no on Prop 23.
Their largest goal is to educate and contact students face to face across the state in the hopes that 160,000 students will sign pledge cards.
In addition to tabling, the non- profit organization also hosted informational speeches in USF classes and recruited students to volunteer.
Freshman Shannon Lynch was introduced to Environment California when they came into her politics class. Lynch decided she wanted to volunteer her time to the cause.
“I am going to vote no on Prop 23 because the wording of prop 23 made it out as a temporary thing but it is actually taking away the law that protects emissions, setting a low bar for the rest of the country,”shesaid.“Iwasinspiredto volunteer because I want to make a difference and spread the word at USF.”
Other USF students like Lynch have been volunteering their time by working at tables around campus and going dorm to dorm to have students sign pledges. By the end of the first week, 550 students had signed pledges to vote no on Prop 23, over half of the 1,000-count goal.
Students who are from out of state can also vote in November and can sign up at the Environ- ment California tables. Environment California will continue tabling with information, pledges and voter registration until the elections in November.
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