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03/12/2009

'No' Is Not an Option

First, I want to thank two dozen or so leaders who joined my first Open House/Conference Call on March 10.

We talked about the Club’s financial situation, the process of recruiting a new executive director to replace Carl -- I also reminded everyone that Carl is not going away, he is moving from executive director to chairman -- and how the Board of Directors will act to fill its vacancy so that the new director can be seated by the May meeting.

Participants asked several excellent questions that we will work to get better answers for in the coming weeks:

  • How do we get more support for chapter-level fundraising?
  • How do we build on the good relationship we now have with the executive branch of government, especially in light of Carl stepping down as executive director?
  • How do we revive and renew our environmental education work?
  • How do we mobilize more resources to oppose attempts by the nuclear industry to frame nuclear as clean and green?
    (I understand that already this week the Activist Network Support Team is facilitating a call with nuclear issue leaders this week about how to proceed on this front.)

I'll be hosting calls again on April 7 and May 5.


A Generation That Can't Afford to Take 'No' for an Answer

Speaking of mobilizing power, I want to recognize our very own Sierra Student Coalition. A youth climate movement three years in the making came of age at Powershift 2009, Feb 28 to March 2 in Washington, D.C. -- an event focused on mobilizing the growing power of young people to solve the climate (and economic) crisis.

Here's a report I've distilled from several SSC contributors -- Kim Teplitzky, Allison Curtis, Danielle Hurley, and Tamara Evans:

We had more than 12,000 people from every state and more than a dozen countries making it the first major youth mobilization since the election and the largest lobby day on any issue in U.S. history. The Sierra Student Coalition played a leading role in the success of the event. We  recruited one-fifth of the conference attendees, and supplied more than 150 trainers for panels and workshops. SSC Executive Committee member Timothy Den-Herder-Thomas testified before Congress, and SSC student leaders were featured in NPR, Telemundo, the Washington Post, and hundreds of other national and local media outlets.

Below are several clips and photos.

The Hill: Students Hold Mother of All Lobbying Days
Washington Post: Young People to Swarm Capitol With Green Agenda
New York Times: Student Activists Hit Washington to Push for Climate Bill

(For more, see the Powershift Newsroom.)

Powershift-1
Powershift-2
Powershift-3


After weekend of workshops and training, Powershift participants fanned out around the Capitol on Monday, attending more than 300 meetings, and calling on their members of Congress to pass bold, just climate legislation this year. Some lobby meetings had hundreds of participants and had to be moved to street corners or the steps of the Capitol. Powershift ‘09 participants returned to their campuses and communities re-energized and inspired to continue to engage with their representatives until strong legislation is passed.

It's working. Our hard work is paying off. Students have been organizing on this issue for years and should be proud of their amazing successes and tremendous potential. Our generation is going to be a leader in the fight to curb carbon, end our dependence on coal and invest in renewable energy and green jobs. Students are leading the way.

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David Scott

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