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.

By Eliza Sherpa & Sarah Arndt (Skidmore College)

In the following editorial, we attempt to apply the study of whiteness to environmental action. We assert first that American society maintains systems of racism and colonization that center and privilege whiteness while oppressing and marginalizing other identities. As a result, the U.S.-based environmental movement is implicated in a racial system. We believe the movement fails to adequately acknowledge or respond to the racialized nature of the politics and processes with which it engages. This failure manifests at multiple levels, including on our own college campus, Skidmore. While the environmental community on campus has attempted to foster an inclusive space and increase diversity, it has failed to do so largely due to misguided approaches. It is necessary for campus environmental activists to identify, examine, and change the ways in which our actions are influenced by racialized and colonizing economic and political systems. This begins with each of us as individuals learning and actively engaging in the constant process of becoming better allies.

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438 By Julia Ho, Emily Alves, Megan Odenthal, Jamal Sadrud-Din, and Georgia McCandlish

At 11am on Saturday morning, 5 student representatives from the sit-in against Peabody entered a conference room in Brookings Hall to meet with Chancellor Wrighton. Forty-five minutes later, we emerged from the meeting with an increased sense of resolve and passion to a crowd of 50 supporters.

The meeting, which occurred on Day 5 of the sit-in, came just a day after ‘Students Against Peabody’ publicly revealed their demands. In the meeting with Chancellor Wrighton, we articulated our demands: 1. Remove CEO Greg Boyce and Peabody from the Board of Trustees 2. The Chancellor must attend community-organized tours of Peabody extraction zones and issue a public statement about his experiences 3. Increased student voice on the board of trustees.

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I wrote this for my political science class, and I thought some of the info would be helpful to the movement. Some of what is in here will be quite obvious to those of you who are apt to be reading blog posts on or, but I get into a few details that have been overlooked by most people in the climate action movement. Perticularly important, and overlooked, are Nationwide Permit 12 and Executive Order 13604, which will be discussed below.


Why Keystone

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409 Powershift Rally in D.C. Photo by Robert van Waarden.Does the green movement have a Millennial problem? That’s the charge, according to a new Pew Research Center report showing that only 32 percent of people born after 1980 identify as “environmentalists.” So, the thinking must go, environmentalism among tomorrow’s leaders is fading from view faster than your last Snapchat selfie.

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344 Take Back St. Louis Turns in Signatures in July!ST. LOUIS -- Yesterday, Judge Robert Dierker sided with Peabody Coal’s lawyers to grant a temporary restraining order to keep a citizen-driven ballot initiative to end tax breaks to fossil fuel companies off the April 8, 2014 ballot. He set a hearing date on the permanent injunction for March 31, 2014.

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Crossposted with NRDC's Switchboard

Big scary question: What’s your vision for the future of the planet? I think about mine a lot. I come at my work from many different angles, but my primary focus and interest is on building a future that looks like a lot like an ecosystem. In a healthy ecosystem, plants, animals, fungi and other organisms work together and rely on each other for survival regardless of their species or preferred communication style.

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Yesterday, I wrote a post on how 2014 is the defining year of the critical decade to act on climate.  Today, I want to announce a new opportunity to engage in this year's defining climate policy fights: Climate Action Lab.

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334 The USF Power Shift team rallying to being an end to dirty coal! Florida carried the THIRD largest state convergence at PS 2013.

As an National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Campus Ecology Fellow at the University of South Florida in Tampa, my campaign aimed to bring the Divestment/Reinvestment Movement to the “Dirty South” in order to end the expansion of unjust and polluting energy utilities.  As all campaign do, mine grew and developed over time, and I realized that what my campus needed was the sound leadership skills and organizing training necessary for a long term and sustainable Divestment Campaign. I was a senior leader on campus and thought this would be a plausible and useful expenditure of my time.

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“All years are important, but decisions made in 2014 will have a striking impact for decades to come.” –Andrew Steer, President and CEO of World Resources Institute

While celebrating New Year’s Eve in 2009, as the clock ticked down to a new decade I felt a tinge of apprehension.  The Copenhagen climate talks had just failed, yet the evidence was mounting that climate change was becoming more and more threatening.  As the clock struck midnight and 2009 turned into 2010, I sensed that this was the critical decade.  The next ten years, from 2010 to 2020, would largely define the state of the world for rest of the century.  Scientists have repeatedly warned that unless we peak total global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, we won't be able to stabilize the climate below 2 degrees C of warming.  Can we peak global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020?  Can we figure out a viable global agreement to collectively act on climate?  Can the US enact meaningful climate policy?  All of these questions loomed large for me in 2009 as I thought about the years ahead.

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