Students were called to action against coal-fired power plants on March 6.

Ashley Williams, who is an Indiana organizer with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, came to campus this week to give a workshop about coal-fired power plants in the area and what their effects are locally and globally. She became involved in the campaign after learning about fracking mining that was going to take place in her hometown, Ottawa, Illinois.

After doing more researched about this environmental issue, she found ways to get involved. She started petitions, went to local county meetings, talked with the governor of Illinois, organized rallies and press conferences.

The main problem Williams explained was that, due to a small number of industrial facilities, global warming has become a more urgent issue and they have greatly contributed to pollution. Coal-fired power plants have negative environmental and health benefits to their surrounding areas which is why Williams says it’s critical that students encourage industrial facilities, such as NIPSCO, to transition to other energy sources that won’t cause harm.

After watching a video about “Super Polluters” in Southwest Indiana, the effects were clearly seen.

“About 100 facilities account for one-third of the pollution in the whole country,” the video explained.

The air quality has gotten considerably worse and it has taken a toll on the health of the people living near these industries. There are also climate effects which lead to natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and loss of ice.

Many students attended this workshop because they were concerned about this issue and wanted to learn more about it and how to get involved. For students who want to get involved, they can participate in activities and events that are happening around the area. A potluck meeting took place on March 11 in Michigan City.

Williams challenged students and said that Goshen College should be set as example as an institution that uses renewable energy. It was insightful to have community members be a part of this conversation because they brought their personal experiences and explained how one can get involved locally.

Williams told the students that she has learned much from this experience and being engaged. She realized she actually has a say as well as an influence on issues that affect her way of living. She learned that, even as a young person, she can find ways to get involved in groups and events that share her opinion and points of view. She wants to call attention to the environmental injustices that are taking place in our world during the present time. She has seen victories, no matter how big or small, that will have lasting effects on the environment.

She encouraged the students that they can find ways to become involved and make a change about issues that they see important.