- Student Environmental Action Coalition
The Student Environmental Action Coalition or SEAC (pronounced, "seek") is a student and youth run national network of progressive organizations and individuals based in the
SEAC, "working together to protect our planet and our future," defines the environment as including the physical, economic, political and cultural conditions in which we live. By challenging the power structure that threatens these environmental conditions, SEAC works to create progressive social change on both the local and global level.
SEAC was started in 1988 by students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It differs from other student environmental organizations by its broad definition of the environment that includes racism, sexism, militarism, heterosexism, economic justice, and animal rights.
Although, sometimes disruptive and willing to break the law, members of the Student Environmental Action Coalition or SEACers (as they call themselves) are prepared to do what it takes to get their message received. SEAC has a bottom-up approach where the headquarters takes direction from the individual chapters around the country. Union of Myanmar (Burma), England and Hong Kong, China, for example, participated in the 1995 SEAC Conference. They are, also, included in numerous websites dedicated to networking environmentalists such as www.campusactivism.org and www.climatechallenge.org.1, 2
History and Past Accomplishments
In early 1988, students from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill contacted Greenpeace Magazine to place an ad about networking with other young environmentalists. One of the first accomplishments was their first national student environmental conference called Threshold. Now the name Threshold is their national magazine and blog. Late October 1989, more than 1700 students from 225 schools in 43 states congregated in Chapel Hill to discuss, among other things, saving old-growth forest and reorganization of the U.S. Forest Service. The next time SEACers met in Champaign, IL they were 7000 strong from every U.S. state, plus others from 11 countries.
Since 1989, American (and Canadian) students from junior to college level have come together with a common goal of creating of more than 200 recycling programs at schools across the country. Prior to Earth Summit 1992, SEAC worked together with others in order to give a voice at that summit. Below are the SEAC accomplishments: 1
"January 1991"- As SEACers protested the war in Iraq and at the same time launched the Energy Independence Campaign. Only 100 attended the rally in Washington, D.C. in support of SEAC. However, the idea of Energy Independence Campaigns has some resistant. Energyindependencenow.org is a California not-for-profit organization striving for cleaner energy resources, but some believe this goal with drive prices up and people out of work. 1, 3
"1992" - The New York chapter brought together 120 schools to protest the Hydro-Québec II dam in Canada. This dam would have flooded an area 1000 kilometers and damaged land of the indigenous Cree tribe. SEAC and the Cree challenged the two billion dollar Rupert River hydroelectric project again in 2005. Originally, the Cree had agreed on payment for this over 50 years summing $70 million at the hand of Grand Chieft Ted Moses. However, Matthew Mukash is the person now challenging it. In August 2005, “federal and provincial environmental review panels said Hydro-Québec's impact study was deeply flawed and sent the provincial utility back to the drawing board.” 1,4
"1994" - Pitt & Michigan State removed themselves from the Mt. Graham Telescope project in Arizona which was endangering red squirrel habitat and sacred Apache land. Judge Alfredo Marquez oversaw the case in court stated the "risks of irreparable injury to the endangered red squirrels which live on the site" violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. 1, 5, 6
At a University of Wisconsin, Madison Greens, Madison’s own annual Earth Day was created. Frances Moore Lappe (social change activist and one of Earth Days founders), Dana Lyons (environmentalist), and Road Rage (anti-GMO road show) visited the celebration. Part of the event was also a protest against the Agracetus Campus, a subsidiary Monsanto known for its genetically engineered Roundup© as well as transgenic corn, cotton and soy. Roundup, a pesticide applied to crops, has glyphosates, which had varying results regarding carcinogens. 1, 7, 8
"Miami Dade, FL" - A Student Organization for Animal Rights from the Miami-Dade Community College successfully pushed a bill through its General assembly regarding the situation of factory-farmed pigs. This was a first nationwide.
"Late 2002" – Berea, Kentucky – a joint effort observed a leap forward when the Pentagon released a information stating “neutralization and
supercritical water oxidation-- not incineration -- is its preferred recommended technology for destruction of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.”
"November 2002" - After a 2 year campaign, SEAC successfully convinced office supply company Staples, to stop offering products that came from endangered forests and start offering recycled paper products.
"Shepardstown, WV" - A student won an election on the town council which was “a huge role in fighting gentrification as well as signing the town onto the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement”
" “No Coal Days of Action”" exposed Citibank and Bank of America’s support of destructive coal companies when SEACers performed a “die-in” and effectively shut down Washington DC Citibank branch. 1,9
"March 2007" - Students protested mountaintop coal removal at “Mountain Justice Spring Break”, West Virginia.
"October 2007" – “No War No Warming,” a war and global warming protest congregated at Capitol Hill on Independence Avenue.
1. Fight environmental degradation.
2. Recognize the impact of the environment on human individuals and communities.
3. Support human rights.
4. Support animal rights.
5. Demand corporate responsibility.
6. Fight class inequalities.
7. Fight racism.
8. Fight sexism.
9. Fight homophobia and heterosexism.
10. Fight imperialism and militarism.
11. Have a diverse membership.
12. Develop an activist rather than a volunteer approach.
13. Link our issues to local, community concerns.
14. SEAC National exists to empower the grassroots through training and education. We view national campaigns as one of the tools to accomplish these goals.
Currently, SEAC has 1 national campaign, Campus Climate Challenge, and 3 initiatives: Tampaction, Militarism and the Environment, and Mountain Justice.
Campus Climate Challenge
SEAC is one of 30 organizations from the United States and Canada that is a part of Campus Climate Challenge, their primary campaign. Climatechallenge.org is a partner in fighting global warming.1, 10
Those participating in Tampaction believe that tampons and menstrual pads oppress sexually mature women. The products themselves are thought to be detrimental to the environment. The companies that make the products are suspected of dumping toxins into the ecosystem. Participants of Tampaction want to embrace their body and all that that implies and return to a more natural mindset, like herbal for example.
Militarism and the Environment
SEAC also fights military conflicts. Since in military conflicts, bombs are dropped and/or chemicals used from napalm to hydrogen bombs. SEAC believes no war considered a good war. “No War No Warming” is still an active project due to this concern. SEAC, also, aims for complete nuclear disarming and dismantling.
Mountain Justice Spring Break
Mountain Justice Spring Break is also a continuing project supported by SEAC. Mountaintop mining are thought to employs fewer people, contribute to erosion, and therefore, flooding. When the blasts ignite, dust particulates of materials in the soil are airborne potentially affecting human health. In addition, if the blast sites are to close to residential areas, the structural stability may be affected.
Schools with SEAC Chapters (by State and alphabetized)
San Francisco Bay (CA)
University of Colorado, Boulder (CO)
Bradley University (IL)
Illinois State University (IL)
Southern Illinois University at (IL)
Indiana University (IN)
Central Carolina Community College(NC)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (NC)
Wake Forest University (NC)
Warren Wilson College (NC)
Stuyvesan High School (NY)
Syracuse University (NY)
University of New York, Syracuse (NY)
Hiram University (OH)
Shippensburg University (PA)
Temple University (PA)
Clemson University (SC)
Winthrop University (SC)
The College of William and Mary (VA)
James Madison University (VA)
Tennessee Technological University (TN)
Shepard University (WV)
Glenville State College (WV)
Fairmont State University (WV)
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (WI) 1
* [http://www.seac.org SEAC website]
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