Although Florida is considered to be the “sunshine state,” we are among the worst and most outdated states when it comes to our energy sources. Florida is in fact the home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear power plants in the nation. So we’re thrilled that so many students are getting involved with the University of Miami’s chapter of Greenpeace. Students from every political persuasion, ethnic background, and academic field attended the “Clean Energy Now” kickoff meeting last week. The point of all the activity is to get clean energy (which largely means solar energy in Florida) on the platforms of both gubernatorial candidates. And it is not just an idealistic, whimsical effort. The leaders and organizers of Greenpeace have a many-pronged plan in order to awaken the candidates to the fact that this issue is a critical one, especially for their hopes of election.

First, on Thursday Greenpeace held a “call-in” campaign. This involved getting anyone and everyone who could spare a minute to call the headquarters of Jeb Bush and Bill McBride in an effort to inundate them with concerns about clean energy. If you missed a chance to call, don’t worry; there are plenty of other opportunities.

Among them is a large media campaign. Anyone who feels strongly about the issue is urged to write an editorial or opinion column to any major newspaper in Florida concerning your particular views on why clean energy is so important. Also, Greenpeace will follow Bush and McBride on the campaign trail to Orlando to hold a demonstration at the actual debate.

Of course, the point of the movement is not to immediately shut down every nuclear plant in the state. Instead, Greenpeace seeks to get our government moving along the lines of environmentally safe energy sources. In an era of global warming, dangerously low levels of clean drinking water, and the rapacious depletion of the resources we consider necessary for life, it is high time to start turning the tides. What’s more, we’re in the middle of the war on terrorism. Maybe it would help if we cut some of our ties to the Middle East as far as oil consumption is concerned.

Many people may be scared away by the reputation and traditional political leaning of Greenpeace. However, this fight is exclusively for clean energy. No particular candidate is endorsed. No one will be asked to step in between a harpoon and a whale, or chain themselves to a tree, or any of the other clichEs that some people have perhaps unfairly used to stigmatize Greenpeace. This is an issue that liberals, conservatives, and even those who are apolitical can be involved in because it concerns universal issues.

So all of you students who claim that there is no activism on our campus, breathe a sigh of relief. We finally have something to stand for and work towards. But this puts the burden on us to actually get motivated

For the skeptics, a similar program was attempted in California and was successful, proving that it is very possible for students to influence policy. Although changing these policies on the federal level may still be years away, the nation will not change until the states do. And just maybe we can get Jeb to tell his brother that there are a significant number of Americans who realize that in order for the human race to continue, we might just need a planet to continue upon. To get involved, just look in the breezeway for the Greenpeace table or write to greenpeacefl@yahoo.com.

Through Greenpeace, the University of Miami students can help to change the entire state of Florida.