powershift recap.

20 Apr

Just a quick repost of my Powershift recap from the PSEC blog.

Just got back from one of the most empowering weekends of my life at Powershift 2011. Being surrounded by 10,000 other young people who were as excited and energized to fight for environmental justice felt awesome.

Highlights:

  1. I think we were all presently surprised at how strong the anti-fracking contingent was. When Lisa Jackson of the EPA mentioned natural gas in her speech, almost the whole room, several thousand people, stood up shouting “NO FRACKING WAY.” Ms. Jackson had to just stand there waiting for us to stop for at least a minute until finally she said, “Okay I hear you guys!!” We definitely got our message across.
  2. My favorite panel was “What to do when the President’s just not that into you” with leading environmentalist Bill McKibbon, gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, and Jane Hamsher, blogger from Firedoglake. The basic message was that we may want to like Obama but we can’t just sit back hoping he’ll make good on his campaign promises eventually. It’s our job to push him. And we need to remind the Democrats that they can’t take the young progressive vote for granted. They know we’re going to vote for them because we’re scared that “Sarah Palin will shoot us like a moose,” but we need to remind them that they still have to work for us if we’re going to support them. Out of this talk (which you really should watch yourself) we got an idea for a campaign we can do along those lines which I’m excited to start.
  3. Our last activity before we had to leave was the state breakout session led by PSEC folks Sasha and Angela, and it totally blew my expectations. We got to meet filmmakers Josh Fox of Gasland and Mark Dixon of YERT and record a video telling Obama not to “pass gas.” Then we got the opportunity to meet other PA activists and network with other people in our region and coordinate a state-wide action. We were excited to see some Pittsburgh high schoolers there so I hope we can start getting the high school community involved. We came up with some new ideas for a summer campaign for PSEC to lead so look out for that at the first summer meeting.

Thanks everyone for a great weekend. It really challenged me to work harder and made me question a lot of what I’m doing… at what point will the global climate crisis become more important than our school and career paths? At this point it feels like spending another 4+ years in grad school to prepare for the fight will send us out too late to make a difference. The point was made that if everyone at Powershift was willing to spend one day tree-sitting in West Virginia, we could have 30 people sitting every day for a year… if it even took that long for the coal companies to break a deal. This energized a lot of us to help out with a mountain top removal tree sit this summer. Can’t wait for school to end, I have a LOT of cool stuff planned including my fracking research.

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3 Responses to “powershift recap.”

  1. Casey April 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Lorraine, I echo your concerns about investing so much time in education or careers when the fight that needs to be fought needed to start yesterday. It’s hard to ‘wait’ to get started. While we all know there is a lot of work to do, we should also recognize that it won’t end two years earlier because it started two years earlier. In fact, the decisions people have historically made in the interest of “quick wins” sure haven’t done a lot of good for the long run. Perhaps your investment in continuing your education will be just what you need to ensure your change will be just as sustainable as the change you want to see in the world.

    • Lorraine April 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

      Thanks for the encouraging words! That’s all very true. I know you’re getting a degree in sustainability, what are you planning on doing?

  2. Beth Ann Locke April 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Great to see you so excited and energized to continue changing the world…

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