Moving Beyond Dirty Energy

Yesterday was truly incredible — starting with the inspring Youth Convergence where 500+ young people gathered to continue building this movement and talk about the incredible work students are doing to push their colleges to divest from fossil fuels and move to 100% clean energy — and ending with the 50,000 strong #ForwardOnClimate rally, the largest rally in US history calling for climate action!

We’d love to hear from those of you who were at the rally or the convergence, so please share your experience on the blog! In the meantime, we wanted to share some of our favorite photos of the day.

500+ young people gather before the #ForwardOnClimate rally — Photo Credit: Energy Action Coalition

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This morning I was arrested in front of the White House.

I sat down and got arrested to show that we are determined to see President Obama take decisive action on climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

As one of the youth leaders participating in this demonstration, today I stood for our generation.

Never before have the stakes been higher to take action on climate change. In 2012, extreme weather events took a harrowing toll on people across the United States and the world. If we fail to take action, millions of people around the world will suffer. There simply is not an option to sit on the sidelines and let this moment pass.

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I'm writing from Charlotte, NC where the Democratic National Convention is in full-swing.

You can feel it in the convention hall, in the streets, and on Facebook--the pressure is mounting for Duke Energy to stop playing dirty politics and dump ALEC for funding voter suppression.

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Marisol Becerra and Crystal Lameman from the Frontline Fellowship program spoke with Caroline Selle and I about their experience at Rio+20. With UN conferences largely failing to produce real solutions, Marisol and Crystal told us about their thoughts on the role of these gatherings in solving the climate crisis.They spoke about the changes they saw on the grassroots level outside the formal negotiations and filled us in on their work at home and in their communities.

We Are Power Shift: What was your major takeaway from the summit?

Crystal: The one thing that I think really sticks with me through this entire process has been how important it is to have delegation, collaborate together and to work together, and how there needs to be a unification of the different organizations. I had a really positive experience with the GGJ and IEN collaboration, the work that they did together throughout that entire week. I think the main takeaway that I received was that the word solidarity, really was everything encompassing the definition of that word.

Marisol: For me the biggest takeaway was that despite the politics and that we didn’t have concrete timelines to achieve the goals proposed is the fact that big conferences like Rio+20 really bring together a lot of people that otherwise would not come together in the same place. And they come together because they have a common goal and a common vision, which is to have a sustainable world. Regardless of what is written on paper, what matters most is the actions and I think that by seeing the grassroots actively involved in the process, that to me is really big, and only seems to increase as we step forward.

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It’s time to escalate our resistance.

This summer young people and community organizations are stepping up the fight against mountaintop removal with a major Mountain Mobilization in West Virginia, July 25 - August 1. Organized by the RAMPS Campaign, the mobilization will bring hundreds together in nonviolent direct action — occupying a strip mine to do what politicians, regulators, and the courts have been unwilling to do: defend the land and the people.

We’re counting on you to help get the word out by joining today’s Mountain Mobilization Day of Social Media Outreach! Please share the call to action on Facebook and Twitter so that we can reach friends, family, coworkers, and beyond.

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Last Thursday marked 2 million public comments to the EPA in support of the Carbon Pollution Standards. Last night, during the last hours for comments, the NAACP held a Twitter Town Hall, where youth environmental and climate justice leaders discussed how communities of color are affected by carbon pollution and offered solutions. 

According to NAACP, “African Americans are twice as likely to die from asthma and more likely to die from lung disease in spite of lower smoking rates.” These facts make it difficult to deny that racism and white privilege are still huge obstacles in the way of creating a safe environment and healthy communities. Much of the conversation last night was centered around strategies and tactics for mobilization. Ideas discussed were expanding on the use of social media, offering scholarships for environmental justice leaders, and working more to take environmental justice conversations onto schools and campuses. One participant suggested that the issue of access to healthy food as a component of environmental justice has a lot of potential to empower low-income communties and communities of color.

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Check out this new video highlighting so much of the work that students and allies are doing to make their endowments more socially and environmentally responsible!

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Blind Woods performs on the Solar Stage

Over the weekend, musicians and activists joined together at Bonnaroo to launch Power Vote, a national campaign to turn out young voters across the country to demand candidates stand up for clean energy and stop taking money from the fossil fuel industry.

Power Vote is more critical than ever this year because big polluters are not only poisoning our communities and our climate, they’re poisoning our democracy with millions of dollars of dirty money. This has to end. There’s only one way to create the clean and just energy future we need, and that’s for our generation to stand up and demand a power shift.

Bands and artists who supported the Power Vote campaign launch by filming videos and spreading the word on social media included: Big Freedia, YUNA, Rubblebucket, Santigold, Childish Gambino, Moon Taxi, Dead Confederate, Soul Rebel, The Blind Woods, and The Futurebirds.

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