In 2007, the first National Youth Climate Summit started at the University of Maryland. Power Shift 2007 encouraged over 6,000 young people to gather together for a weekend of training, action and inspiration. Together these students organized and trained to bring social justice to environmental and clean energy movements. Two years later, the amount of young people multiplied at Power Shift 2009. There were 10,000 people who came together in Washington D.C. and went to Capitol Hill for the largest lobby day in history. They were successful in shutting down the Capitol’s coal-fired power plant.
Together we can make a change; that’s what Power Shift 2011 is all about. This strive of passion to make a change brought 12,000 young people from 700 schools, hundreds of communities and all 50 states to gather in Washington, D.C. This year’s Power Shift started on April 15 and ended on April 18. Once I heard about the event, I immediately went to the website to register and was among the six Rider students who attended this year. It was the experience of a lifetime.
On April 15, the start of Power Shift 2011 began in the Washington Convention Center. Keynote speakers, such as Al Gore and Van Jones, motivated the 10,000-person crowd of people. They inspired and encouraged us that the environmental action movement is a key solution in making our future a better place to live, and we are the people that can make that change.
Saturday, April 16 was the beginning of training day. Movement Building Sessions began early in the morning. These sessions allowed people from all over the U.S. to meet one another, share stories and ideas and plan collective efforts. The session continued with fundamental organizing that would build the foundation for campaigning.
Panels, workshops, and sustainability training were held later on in the day. These sessions enabled you to learn about more issues and campaigns from leaders across the movement. The point of these sessions was to help inform future campaigns and action of activists. The next day, Sunday, continued with more Movement Building Sessions throughout the day. There was also Lobby Day Training to prepare for Monday, April 18, the last day of Power Shift 2011, ended with numerous people gathered together at Capitol Hill demanding for a clean energy future and marching to make big polluters pay.
You might ask, what’s the point? Today our generation has the power and intelligence to make a change for the future. We envision a better and cleaner future for our children, and our children’s children. Together we can create the future we want to see. Power Shift allows our youth to let their voices be heard by higher authorities. The time has come, according to Van Jones, to “shift the power.”
– Katelyn White