Building Political Power

We're the Ones We've Been Waiting For

Day in and day out the energy at Power Shift HQ is growing. Deadlines are coming and going faster than we can imagine and, every time we look up, another day has come to an end and we're one step closer to Power Shift 2011. Each and every one of us is reeling with excitement about what's about to happen in just 21 days as we take part in the largest environmental organizing training in history.

It's amazing to see that this energy isn't just in our offices. Power Shift attendees are finding incredibly creative ways to share their stories, take action in their communities, and… to simply get here.

At last weekend's regional training events in the Northeast and California, organizers shared their stories about how they got involved in environmental activism.

I’m not one to talk about the science of climate change. I assume that at this point everyone has decided to lean into the reality of climate science - or has chosen to disengage and hope that things get better on their own. But as a recap of what we know: climate change is happening now; it’s driven by our consumptive, wasteful lifestyles, and an addiction to fossil fuels; and, the fossil fuel industry has a both an incredible amount of power and an economic interest in our world holding on to our fossil fuel dependence.

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721 VA > Fossil Fuels. VA BOV (Board of Visitors), Who's Side Are You On?

The youth of Virginia are ready to turn up. They are ready to bring it squarely to the jaw of the fossil fuel polluters. I know this because 350 students showed up in Fredericksburg, Virginia last weekend for Virginia Power Shift 2015. They chose to spend their Valentine’s Day weekend rallying for Global Divestment Day & building a loving movement, and that is why I know we will win.

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Adapted from a Community Power blog post drafted by Lee Samelson with content by John Farrell.

For the last three years, Community Power has been working to secure community control over our energy utilities. In October 2014, we took a big step in the right direction by forming the nation's first clean energy partnership, giving our city direct decision-making power in our relationship with our monopoly energy utilities. The partnership met for the first time last Wednesday. Our community coalition, including neighborhood groups, environmental justice organizations, local economy think-tanks, and youth climate organizations, including Grand Aspirations, an Energy Action Coalition partner, are now working to form a robust community stakeholder group to hold the process accountable and are advancing a 10-point work plan for what we can achieve in Minneapolis in the next 2 years.

How did it happen and can it happen elsewhere, too?

Watch this You Tube Video of John Farrell with Institute for Local Self-Reliance taking part in a panel "What the City of Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership Represents" Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at the MnSEIA conference in Bloomington, MN.

Click here to read more.

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The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC) just celebrated its first birthday. It was a raucous celebration where 60 students from across Virginia converged in Richmond to plan a future free of fossil fuels and make their voices heard in the halls of the Virginia’s capital. Their voices made it all the way to the Governor’s office.

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696 Today I had to choose between going to vote or $20 and to be honest, I hesitated.

Technically speaking my choice was actually between a mandatory event at my campus or going to vote, as both fall into my only 2 hour span of free time, but only one is going to charge me for lack of attendance.

I can practically feel your judgement leaking through the computer screen, so before you think too poorly of me rest assured that my desire for representation outweighed my desire for extra grocery money.

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Crossposted from Greenpeace.

Here's a nice, shot, submitted to Democracy Now! by an anonymous pilot of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV - a.k.a. "drone").

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The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition is gearing up for the 2014-2015 school year, and it’s shaping up to be as strong as ever. In a few weeks, we are hosting our Fall Summit, which will be a great opportunity for Kentucky youth to learn about our work and get plugged in. Plus, we'll be camping, eatin good food, and having lots of fun. Until then, here's a recap of our already busy semester!

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As youth delegates from SustainUS, we work to represent the youth of the US climate justice movement within the United Nations' debates on climate change. In this capacity, we travel to the UN climate change negotiations every year. There, we aim to make change both in the outcome text of the negotiations and in the media narrative surrounding international climate policy. This December, we will attend COP20 in Lima, Peru, and we’re already full of ideas for what we’d like to see. Ask any one of us and we can tell you what we’re hoping for on a personal level.

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Over at Energy Action Coalition, we’ve had tremendous fun with bringing together “Storyteller Teams” at big events. What’s a storyteller team, you ask? It’s a grassroots team of people who are dedicated to using the power of social media to share and promote movement stories from a conference or event. We’ve had kick-ass Storyteller Teams at Power Shift ‘13 and the SF Divestment Convergence, and together, these teams have reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people.

Storyteller Teams don’t just happen on their own - they require some planning and recruiting and training and good old cat herding. Below are 9 tips (or rather, lessons we’ve learned) for recruiting and unleashing completely all-star storyteller teams.

Post by Mary Schellentrager and Joe Solomon, Energy Action Coalition

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