Keystone Environmental Youth Coalition

EmPower The Future

About March 21, 2010

Mission Statement and History:

What is KEY Coalition?

In 2009, youth leaders in universities and community organizations throughout the state of Pennsylvania founded Keystone Environmental Youth Coalition (KEY Coalition). Our coalition addresses a broad variety of environmental concerns that include climate change, environmental justice, green jobs, and renewable energy. As an alliance, the KEY Coalition is committed to dismantling oppression and non-violent solutions that are youth and community driven.

KEY Mission Statement

The mission of KEY Coalition is to build a Pennsylvania statewide network to empower our young environmental leaders. Through the connection of environmental and social justice campaigns, we aim to educate and inspire Pennsylvanians of all ages to live sustainably. We will collectively push for policy and take direct action that will make lasting institutional change. We act in solidarity with impacted communities. Our local campaigns support and strengthen the KEY Coalition to continue to raise consciousness and action on campuses and communities across the state. We will share resources and trainings to help accomplish this.

Our Principles:

How we use these principles:

We, the Keystone Environmental Coalition (KEY), are committed to the values below.

We will use these to guide our Coalition in the following ways:

  1. We will use the principles choose KEY Coalition campaigns. We will review each KEY Coalition campaign plan to determine if the proposed plan expresses our values. If the proposed plan does not align with our principles, we will amend the plan to better reflect our values, or we will not jointly run the campaign.
  2. All conferences/events organized in conjunction with the KEY Coalition must reflect the values below.
  3. We will use these principles to help us determine whether a project, campaign, conference, or statement merits our endorsement. We will examine each Sign-On in question, to determine how and if the statement aligns with our collectively held beliefs.
  • If a statement does not align with our beliefs, we will offer constructive feedback or amendments describing how we would edit the statement so that it aligned with our principles.
    • If our feedback does not result in altering the statement so that we could support it, we will not endorse the project. KEY Coalition members or campus/community groups that make up the Coalition can sign on or support the project independently.

      4. We will use the principles to adopt positions on particular issues and pieces of legislation relevant to the campaign and projects we support.

      KEY Coalition Principles:

      1. Promote solidarity in communities – We will stand with impacted communities; supporting community efforts in environmental justice communities. This means taking direction from grassroots community groups and individuals from impacted communities in Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. We will adhere to the Principles of Environmental Justice and the Principles of Working Together.

      2. Support a Green Economy – A Green Economy provides fair and livable wages to workers in all sectors of the economy and does not put the welfare of the environment at odds with the welfare of the people. Green Jobs fall both in and outside of the energy and agriculture sectors; they can and must permeate every sector of our economy. We define Green Jobs as jobs in which the work sustains the environment and in which the worker has a non-toxic, environmentally safe workspace and receives socially and economically just treatment.

      3. Be inclusive – We will use inclusive and democratic processes & leadership models. We value transparency and will use it to hold our members accountable. We will engage non-student youth, as well as college and high school students in order to build an inclusive youth coalition. We welcome individuals from all race, class, & religious backgrounds. We are committed to dismantling oppression and will not tolerate homophobia, sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism, transphobia, ableism, ageism or other oppressions based on social identifiers within our Coalition. Together we will help one another counter unintentionally oppressive behaviors and institutions. We will outreach and connect to social justice groups beyond the climate and environmental justice movements. We will engage community leaders and youth living in environmental justice communities.

      4. KEY Coalition is non-partisan and uses non-violent strategy. We respect and support a diversity of tactics.

      5. Transition to a Clean Energy Economy – We promote a transition away from unsustainable fuels to clean, safe, renewable energy that can support local economies without jeopardizing future generations. We will support projects, campaigns, and legislation that facilitate this transition and will oppose projects and legislation that contradict it. We identify just and renewable energy as ecologically and culturally-sensitively sited wind, solar, geothermal, and small scale hydro projects. We will not support or promote false solutions to the climate crisis.

      6. Energy Education – We will educate ourselves and our movement on energy issues, approaching these issues from various perspectives and assessing the cradle-to-grave impacts of different energy sources.  As new technologies emerge, we will assess the social and environmental impacts and respond accordingly. Our positions may change as new climate science and technologies emerge, and as new environmental justice concerns appear. We will review controversial technologies and fuels on a case by case basis, lending a critical eye to these issues. We recognize false solutions as energy from the following industries: nuclear, natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal (all types, including the ‘clean’ (IGCC) type), and oil.  While we transition our economy, we do not support transition fuels that pose new environmental problems and create new entrenched interests. We will oppose political and legislative efforts that promote polluting industries through subsidies or other means, especially if the infusion of money for dirty energy efforts outweighs the infusion of money into safe, renewable energy industries.

      7. Deep Democracy – We will advocate and agitate for deep democracy, including community input processes and campaign finance reform. We strive for decision-making that prioritizes consent from those who are most directly affected. These efforts will assist us separating dirty energy money from political systems and leaders, making elected officials responsive to constituents and not polluting energy industries.

      8. Precautionary Action – We will take precautionary action. “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” The above statement is drawn from the Wingspread Statement of 1998 and the Rio Earth Summit on 1992 Principle 15.

      9. Climate Justice – We recognize that Pennsylvania is part of a larger world, a world in which the effects of climate change are already being felt. We recognize that climate change and its associated impacts are caused largely by (over)consumption in the global North and felt first by communities in the global South.  As such, we know that the United States and the state Pennsylvania – a state producing 1% of all global greenhouse gases – must take the lead. In order to reverse global climate change and affirm the rights of affected communities to be free from climate change and ecological destruction, we adopt the Bali Principles of Climate Justice 2002. As Pennsylvania residents we strive to contribute positively to the global climate and to re-localize our economies.

      10. Local Economy – We support a localized economy as a way to combine preventing and decreasing our environmental impact while contributing to Pennsylvania’s economic welfare. This includes investing in businesses that buy, sell, and operate locally, use sustainable materials, and those which create Green Jobs within the community.

      11. Sustainable Land Use – Promote the use of land and other finite resources in a way that allows human society and ecosystems to coexist without damaging one another. Supporting principles of smart growth and renewable energy and oppose contamination, resource depletion and sprawl. We will move toward organizing our communities to be walkable and accessible by public transportation and leave room for undeveloped green space.

      For definitions of terms used in these principles, click here.