some inspiration from my friends back home.

12 Oct

Ok don’t get me wrong, I’m super stoked to be in Brazil. But I’m missing out on some seriously amazing activism back home. First, the Occupy Wall Street protests in NY and tons of other cities? Thank goodness the left is showing signs of life. I was getting pretty depressed that the Tea Party was able to rally so much energy and passion while we were seemingly doing nothing. I would love to hear your opinions on it as I’ve basically only heard I have seen on Facebook, the Daily Show, and this editorial from the NY Times (both worth watching/reading).

But next came one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard from some of my best friends in Pittsburgh, Eva, Seth, Nikki, and the rest of Free the Planet. I’ll let Eva tell it from her blog post that appeared on tarsandsaction.org, wearepowershift.org, and good ole’ pittsburghsec.org (and has since racked up over 250 “likes” on Facebook). I’m so proud and WISH I could have been there.

This past Friday, the only thing I was worried about was coming up with a good presentation for the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference. While relaxing on my porch after a strenuous week of midterms, our student government president happened to walk by and inform us that the White House had just contacted her about President Obama coming to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. We had been planning to confront the Organizing for America office the following Friday to tell Obama to stop the pipeline, but if Obama was in town, we had to send the message to him directly. I, however, had a midterm during the exact hour that Obama would be coming and resolved to recruit a few friends to greet him.

On Sunday at the AASHE conference, we grabbed Bill McKibben right before his speech and let him know we planned to greet Obama on Tuesday. At the end of his speech to a national conference of hundreds of climate leaders, he said the best thing they could do was attend the rally to meet Obama with a strong message to say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline at 11AM, Tuesday at 313 Oakland Ave. My heart skipped a beat- Bill McKibben, one of my idols, had just announced my house address to a national conference. What’s more- he then told us to stand up so everybody knew who to find. I hesitantly stood up with two of my friends, Nikki Luke and Seth Bush, who looked around nervously.

What happened after was chaos. Within five minutes we were interviewed by the City Paper, the Tribune Review, and asked by dozens more what our plans were. The problem was—we didn’t have a plan. And I had a midterm when Obama was coming. Here’s the thing: if Bill McKibben calls you out at a national conference to organize a rally, you are going to organize a rally, whether you have a midterm or not.

…read more

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