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Sunday, March 08, 2009

What the Press Didn’t Tell You About the Largest Youth Movement in Decades (Introduction)

An Introduction: Beyond the Numbers (and the Irony)

On February 27th-March 1st, 12,000 young leaders from all fifty states, every Canadian province, and about a dozen other nations convened at the Washington D.C. Convention Center for Power Shift 2009, the largest ever gathering of climate and clean energy activists in U.S. history. On Monday, March 2nd, fueled by a fiery passion no snowstorm could chill, thousands stormed Capitol Hill, braving subfreezing temperatures to rally, lobby and even risk arrest in their efforts to ignite a clean and just energy future.

Image credit: Shadia Fayne Wood

If you read the mainstream media’s accounts of this historic weekend, that’s about the extent of the story you likely read. The focus of most coverage was the numbers – 12,000 students, 2,500 protesters, 350 lobby visits – or the supposed irony of a climate rally held amidst a few inches of snow. But beyond the numbers and ironic headlines, there’s a far deeper story on display at Power Shift 2009 – if only the press knew where to look.

I’ve been close to this movement for three years, as both a participant and as a writer and editor chronicling its progress at, where voices from across the movement share their stories. Rather than wait for the mainstream media to write an in-depth expose on this dynamic and growing movement, I’ll take you behind the scenes to uncover the stories behind the numbers in this three part series.
  • Part One focuses on the history of the maturing movement on display at Power Shift 2009

  • Part Two takes a look at the diversity of tactics and cutting edge activism employed by the movement

  • Part Three looks at how the movement has grown into an expansive effort to build a more sustainable, just and prosperous future and on the challenging road ahead for these young leaders

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