Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Exciting Semester with the EAG

This piece appeared in the September 7th issue of Broadside in the GMU Environmental Action Group's weekly column, the Mason Ecosphere.

Mason Ecosphere
Jason Von Kundra

From everyone here in the GMU Environmental Action Group (EAG), we welcome you to campus. The EAG is honored to continue writing our weekly column, the Mason Ecosphere in Broadside this semester.

In addition to having more of our usual hikes, movie nights, and famous dance parties, this fall the EAG is running three big campaigns: ending mountaintop removal coal mining, advocating for more sustainable foods on campus, and passing the Patriot Green Fund.

The EAG has worked on ending mountaintop removal for the past two years and will continue to work on the issue until this social and environmental devastation stops. Mountaintop removal is a form of surface mining where coal companies clear-cut forests on mountains, blow up the mountaintops with explosives, and dump the waste containing heavy metals in valleys and streams. This practice is destroying mountains, watersheds, and communities throughout Appalachia. The EAG is organizing a screening of the documentary film Coal Country and a panel of experts on mountaintop removal. Then the EAG will be taking action with thousands of other concerned citizens involved in the struggle by participating in Appalachia Rising, a mass mobilization in the District of Colombia on September 25th through the 27th where people will call for an end to this destructive practice.

Sustainable foods is also an important issue which connects to every student that eats on campus. The EAG is starting a new campaign this semester in which students will advocate for more local, organic, vegetarian, and vegan food options. We are also looking at the entire environmental impact of our dining service including packaging, shipping, and the disposal of food.

Finally, the EAG is campaigning to pass policy through the administration that will provide funding for a green endowment, sustainable capital improvements, and research funding for student projects related to sustainability. The Patriot Green Fund, a proposal currently being considered by the university is expected to be presented to the Board of Visitors in the spring. If passed, students will soon see solar panels and wind turbines on campus that will help Mason to reach its goal of climate neutrality. President Alan Merten committed George Mason to climate neutrality by signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007.

To join the EAG or get more information, check out our website at and make sure to join the Facebook group. We meet every Wednesday at 7:30pm in the Johnson Center Meeting Room A.