Missouri social justice advocates are calling for communities to transform energy economies into clean, climate-friendly ones. The organization Coal Free Mizzou hosted a panel Tuesday to encourage the use of energy-renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal options, rather than nuclear and fossil fuels.
Panelist Mark Haim is the director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks. He says a National Gallup Poll from March 27 showed that 76-percent of Americans want to put more emphasis on solar-powered energy and 71-percent on wind-powered energy compared to nuclear and fossil fuel use. Haim says with the public on their side, they must push for this clean energy transition in Missouri: “What we need to do is break through the hole of the big energy companies,” he said. “The oil and coal and nuclear and utilities companies have on our elected officials, and that’s a function of addressing the role of money in politics.” Haim says the two keys to a sustainable energy future are efficiency and renewable energy.
Sierra Club Missouri chapter director John Hickey agrees that the best solution was energy efficiency, especially while Missouri is behind in the trend that the rest of the United States seems to be following: “There’s an organization called the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy that rates all 50 states based on their energy efficiency,” said Hickey. “Missouri ranks 43rd out of 50, and 50’s not the best; it’s the worst, so Missouri is a very energy inefficient state.”
Hickey says Missourians can amplify their influence within communities by speaking out through groups such as Peaceworks or the Sierra Club.