Live From Power Shift 2011: Young Eco-Activists Converge on DC

from Wildlife Promise

0 4/28/2011 // By Alex Costakis

This past weekend over 10,000 young leaders from all across the US converged on Washington DC for Power Shift 2011 to continue the fight for our planet, our health, and a more sustainable future.

Power Shift 2011 had so many different, truly inspiring speakers, actions, trainings and workshops jammed packed into just four days that it’s hard to keep track. Talk with any attendee of the conference and they’ll each give you a different, yet amazingly powerful story. It’s absolutely impossible to include all this in one blog post, so here are some of the biggest highlights of the weekend.

Meeting the President

The power and dedication of this enormous youth contingent did not go unnoticed, attracting coverage by CNN, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post and even the Glenn Beck show.

By far, the most impressive attention came directly from the president of the United States himself.  Friday afternoon, President Obama dropped in on a meeting being held between eleven Power Shift 2011 leaders and white house staff. For almost a half an hour these young leaders expressed their displeasure with Obama’s energy plan and pushed him to do better asking that he take a stand against big polluters and help move clean energy initiatives forward at a faster pace.

The Largest Grassroots Training in History

This year, the Power Shift conference hoped to not only inspire and energize attendees but took on the challenge of hosting the largest grassroots training of all time which gave the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to organize any grassroots movement.  Students learned how to strategize, organize tactics and creatively use their resources to make real change in their communities and on a national level.

Rally and March

Early Monday morning, thousands of Power Shift 2011 attendees gathered in front of the White House to stand together in their fight for a clean energy future. Several speakers, including one individual named Cherri Foytlin who walked 1,243 miles to get to Power Shift, gave inspiring speeches regarding their plight and their sincere hope that BP Gulf Coast oil spill wouldn’t happen again somewhere else.

When those in the crowd couldn’t contain themselves anymore, the rally split into two separate marches. One march ended at the Capitol where over 200 lobby meetings were set up with representatives across the country.  The other march first walked to BP’s headquarters then ended at the Department of the Interior in protest of their recent decision to lease over 7 thousand acres of land in the Powder River Basin area of Wyoming for the mining of 2.3 billion tons of coal.