Keep it Wild Party to Benefit Arctic Wildlife Refuge

To the Editors:

Amidst the recent turmoil, tears and fears, inspiration, organization and calls for peace over war, or war over peace, I’ve sometimes felt strange continuing my work on environmental issues. But despite the difficulty, I know that now, more than ever, we must work to protect our environmental laws and victories from rollback. A couple of legislators have already tried to take advantage of the recent tragedies to push their own agendas, such as opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the name of “national defense.”
First, Senator Murkowski (R) from Alaska tried to tack an amendment onto the National Defense Budget Bill, which called for immediate opening of the Refuge, but denied it soon after immediate national uproar. Then Senator Inhofe (R) from Oklahoma tried the same thing, except this time attaching the entire controversial Bush energy plan. After an even greater uproar — 50 handwritten letters were generated in one day in Oberlin alone — he too has begun to flip-flop, and though the amendment currently stands, its passage faces decent bi-partisan opposition.
Don’t let this fool you. With the attention of the nation turned towards going to war or averting it, Bush’s energy “plan,” which, on top of opening the Refuge, involves increased subsidies of nuclear and coal power, rolling back the clean air act, and drilling in national monuments, has a better chance than ever of passing. For this reason, among others, 5,000 students from all across the country will be assembling in Washington D.C. for Econference2001. Happening on the first weekend of Oberlin’s Fall Break, Oct. 19-21, Econference2001 will feature lots of great speakers, such as Ralph Nader and Lois Gibbs, issue briefings, trainings and workshops, followed by a day of lobbying our Representatives and Senators from home and school. The lobbying will be coordinated with a marching picket on K street, home to the most powerful industry lobbyists, and a meeting with them. All of this will be happening right before the Senate energy votes.
Many Oberlin organizations hope to send a total of 60 students to Econference2001. To do this, we’ve been fundraising to pay for registration, transportation, lodging and food. This Saturday, we’ll be holding Oberlin’s first Keep It Wild Party to raise money for Econference2001 and public comments regarding important environmental issues such as protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the 60 million acres of National Forest previously protected by the Clinton administration.
The Keep It Wild Party will feature Freeform Technotic, the tightest band on campus. They will be playing live improvised techno dance grooves at Fairkid Co-op on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for your dancing and political action needs. There will hopefully be free food and hot drinks. We’ll be suggesting a $3 donation at the door, with $1 off by writing a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, urging them to protect our National Forests. Who says saving the world can’t be fun?

–Ben Newhouse
College sophomore

October 5
October 12

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