by Ren Ostry, Ithaca College, Ithaca , NY
This past year, the youth movement has erupted with creativity and power. I’ve had the honor of riding this wave, from marches to sit-ins to banner drops and more. With Google Hangout and Twitter, how could we not spread the love of what I’ve been calling #operationsupport? Now, when I leave the cold, hard confines of the American judicial system, I don’t just get passive-aggressive emails from my Grandpa but dozens of thank you texts, Facebook tags and blog posts all in the name of solidarity.
Right now I’m fortunate enough to be actions coordinator for both the Greenpeace Student Network and the Green Umbrella, so solidarity and creativity is my gig. I get to support fellow activists across the country and throughout New York State as we collectively take on the fossil fuel industry.
In fact, this past week marked a turning point in this collective movement in which the Greenpeace Student Network and Green Umbrella members came together to drive over 1,000 calls in to the Board of Trustees office at Michigan State University pleading that they vote no on a proposed energy plan and get to work shutting down the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation. I know, right? Green Umbrella members alone drove in over 150 of those calls, because we know what #operationsupport is all about.
And we’re taking on our own fossil-fuel giant here in New York. You may have heard of another destructive energy extraction technique called fracking. This community-fracturing failure has been knocking on New York's door, propagating the lie that we must maintain dependency on fossil fuels.
But that’s just not true. New York is ready to switch to a green economy today and I speak for the entire youth movement when I say we’re sick of the perpetuated myth that we need fossil fuels to create jobs and energy. New York and the rest of the world can and must make the switch today; for the sake of our economy, energy, our shared earth, and our collective futures.
We are sick of the injustice. But we’re also sick of fighting. We’re fed up with playing defense, resorting to aggressive (yet nonviolent) tactics. It’s time for a change. It’s time to have fun! This spring, it’s about more than solidarity: it’s about solutions. Let us showcase our power and capacity. When we stop trying to take back our power, we’ll see we’ve had it all along. Building a movement is about highlighting our diverse skills and resources, so let’s put our diversity to work.
Calling all scientists, engineers, organizers, farmers, bicyclists, writers, photographers, chefs, philosophers, and local politicians! We’re here to stand shoulder to shoulder with you. We are through with saying “no” to corporations and corruption, and we’re ready to say “yes” to you.
This April 27-30, join us at Powershift NY as we welcome a spring of solidarity and solutions and showcase the future we’re ready to embrace today. Governor Cuomo: you want to bring fracking to our backyards? We are going to bring the green economy to yours instead.
It’s time to start saying yes. Albany, you don’t know what’s coming.