For the last couple of months we've been organizing our communities to make our voices heard and remind President Obama that "It's Game Time." Today the Obama Administration announced that (1) President Obama will be attending the Copenhagen climate negotiations and (2) that they will be hosting a webcasted address and meeting for young leaders in the movement!
On Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 4pm - 7pm EST, senior-level White House officials will meet in Washington DC with leaders from our movement in its first-ever Youth Clean Energy Forum to discuss moving forward to a bold, clean and just energy future.
It's an exciting day for us and proof that taking action works. Our "It's Game Time, Obama!" initiative logged more than 50,000 actions since it launched on Nov. 4 and now we're seeing results. We asked Obama to meet with us, give a national address outlining his strategy, and attend Copenhagen in person. Not only did the President announce this morning that he'll be attending Copenhagen, the Youth Clean Energy Forum will give us a direct opportunity to inform his agenda there and tell his team what kind of leadership we need on climate and energy.
That's two major victories worth celebrating, so maybe have an extra celebratory scoop of cranberries with your tofurkey when you're being thankful this weekend!
The forum will take place only one week from today, and we want to make sure that you have a chance to contribute to the conversation. If you'd like us to ask a question at the meeting on your behalf, just send us a tweet @powershift09 and add the hashtag #ClimateQs.(1)
After an emotional week for the members of the youth climate movement, who have staked so much hope on the promise of passing legislation in congress this year and sealing a binding agreement in Copenhagen, we've had to deal with managing our expectations and reframing how we approach the opportunities that are still ahead of us.
I wrote on Monday that we would adamantly continue to play our unique role as the generation who will bear the brunt of the negative impact every time our leaders choose to delay decisive action on climate and energy. I still believe this is true, but I also believe we have an obligation to step back and celebrate the victories that will ultimately help us achieve our vision. Using the slower pace of the coming holiday weekend to regroup, as frustrating as it may seem to some passionate activists, can allow us to gain perspective that will allow us to continue to be relevant in the dialogue surrounding legislation - even if it winds up happening in April - and make the most of Copenhagen next month.
Foremost, we're lucky that President Obama is our teammate, as opposed to an administration that did not even acknowledge science and reality. The members of the Energy Action Coalition's partner organizations have called on him this month to provide leadership in our basketball-themed, "It's Game Time, Obama!" outreach effort, and I'm pleased to report that members of his administration are hearing us.
Student organizers working with Cascade Climate Network (CCN), Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), and student groups at the University of Oregon hosted Power Shift West ’09, which began Friday, November 6 and went through Sunday, November 8. The three-day event featured educational workshops; special guests including Rep. Jefferson Smith, Rikki Ott, and Pete Sorenson; opportunities for participants to learn more about organizing local groups to advocate sustainable living practices; and a capstone march through the streets of Eugene.
Backbone Campaign brought props from "Procession for the Future" and built model wind turbines with participants at the conference. Participants raised a banner measuring 15' x 30' foot giant banner with helium powered weather balloons as the grand finale.
Over 500 students and youth from Oregon and 13 western states attended to promote four primary goals:
- Pass a strong climate bill and negotiate a strong International Climate Treaty in Copenhagen
- Generate support for a high-speed rail corridor from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C.
- Mobilize local community groups to address sustainable living practices
- Unite regional campuses to advocate plans to move beyond coal usage
Sunday at the Power Shift was just exciting, energizing and informative as the day before. This despite a late night impromptu rally in front of the White House after the Roots concert. Look at the slideshow below to get a taste of Sunday's action.
I've just arrived at Power Shift 2009, the largest gathering of citizens fighting for a clean energy future in United States history. The conference, organized by the Energy Action Coalition, is bringing together nearly 12,000 young people from all over the country to harness resources, make connections and take action to repower and reclaim their futures.
Power Shift 2009 offers a unique look at the normally widely distributed and networked youth climate and clean energy movement, the largest and most well-organized youth movement in decades. I'll be reporting for the Energy Collective and WattHead - Energy News and Commentary throughout this historic gathering of young climate and clean energy activists, which begins today and runs through Monday, March 2nd, but here is a preview of what's ahead: