Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cascade POWER SHIFT Summit Wraps Up Two Weeks of Intense Northwest Climate Action!

Cascade POWER SHIFT 2008, the Northwest's largest youth climate summit, ended on February 11th, wrapping up two weeks of intense climate action across the Northwest that also included nearly 50 Focus the Nation events across the region on January 31st, a giant rally in Oregon's Capitol to oppose new liquefied natural gas importation on February 6th, and Oregon and Washington's first-ever youth global warming lobby days in both Salem and Olympia on February 11th.

That's a lot of climate ass-kicking! No wonder I'm exhausted today...



Cascade POWER SHIFT registrationCascade Power Shift: Mobilizing Youth for Climate Justice took place February 8-10th at the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, and brought together over 200 young people from more than 20 colleges, universities and high schools across Oregon and Washington. The weekend summit was followed by a Citizen Action Lobby Day on Feb. 11th in both Salem and Olympia brought dozens of students and youth to their state capitols to amp up both youth political engagement as well as politicians’ response.

Entirely volunteer-driven and youth-organized, the weekend was sponsored by the Cascade Climate Network, the new network of Northwest youth climate activists, and pulled together people from across the region for a blow-out event aimed at training, engaging and activating hundreds of youth in the region to take on the most important challenge and opportunity of our generation: climate change.

Cascade POWER SHIFT workshopA great line-up of keynote speakers and panels introduced summit attendees to important climate change issues in the region, such as the prospect of green jobs and social justice opportunities as well as false solutions like proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal plants. Experienced students and community activists also provided dozens of skill-building trainings and facilitated campaign kick-off sessions for new regional campaigns, including efforts to win state climate victories, rise to the climate challenge on campuses, seize opportunities to create new green jobs and fight off false solutions like LNG.

Cascade POWER SHIFT partyWe learned, we met new friends, we were energized by our fellow activists. Oh ya, and of course, we partied!

“The amount of passion and energy popping-up in so many communities throughout the Cascade Region is powerful and hopeful,” said Jesse Hough, summit organizer and OSPIRG student leader at the University of Oregon. “Creative, thoughtful and inspired youth are stepping-up, and it’s especially exciting to work with people who have never thought of themselves as activists before.”

On Monday, Cascade Climate Network members followed up the Cascade POWER SHIFT summit with youth global warming Citizen Action Days in Olympia and Salem, taking their energy and passion directly to the statehouse. We fanned out throughout both state capitols on Monday to meet with our elected officials, testify in committee hearings and support state climate solutions (download the archived audio here to listen to the passionate testimony of three CCN members in Oregon's House Energy and Environment Committee! Fast forward to about 39 minutes in to the hearing...)

In Oregon, we began our lobby day with a press event, featuring Cascade Climate Network members, and a fun game of "Dirty Energy Dodgeball" on the steps of the Capitol! Not willing to stick to the boring old script for press events, CCN Citizen Action Day in Oregon began with lobby day participants “taking a shot at global warming,” lobbing dodge balls at a human-sized dirty energy target as other CCN-members dressed dirty energy “lobbyists” defended. Now THAT'S how you kick-off a lobby day!

Cascade POWER SHIFT Lobby Day - Dirty Energy Dodge Ball

Judging from the feedback from the weekend, attendees came out of the weekend jazzed and energized with new connections, friends and allies and plenty of new ideas for action. At least several minds were blown! Mission accomplished for the now-exhausted Cascade POWER SHIFT organizers...

I've been simply stunned by the amazing individuals I've met since about twenty of us came together to form the Cascade Climate Network just last October. We are getting connected, getting engaged and getting active, and I cannot wait to see what the next four months has in store for Northwest youth climate activism. Here's to building a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all!

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The Cascade Climate Network is a group of college students and recent graduates working toward climate change solutions. We are completely volunteer-driven and are active at over 20 college and university campuses in Washington and Oregon.

For more information, go to www.CascadeClimate.org

1 comment:

David B. Benson said...

Hot diggity dog!