Power Shift is a project of the energy action coalition dedicated to combating climate change by advocating clean energy on a political level.
In the winter of 2009, Power Shift delivered a message of change to the nation’s elected officials while enhancing the climate and clean energy movement.
In the middle of the Obama administration’s first 100 days in office, 12,000 American youths gathered in Washington D.C. as part of Power Shift ‘09. They were there to demand that politicians listen to what the planet is telling them through climate change, and pass the energy and climate policies the world needs.
As part of this campaign last March, people gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol Building and then entered the halls of Congress to engage with elected officials face-to-face. This represents the largest lobby day on climate and energy in our nation’s history.
According to senior Marcella Bunge, who attended the conference as a junior last year, “It was a lot of fun, and you learned a lot.”
Power Shift ’09 continued this fall with 11 regional summits that were held across the nation.
The Pennsylvania Power Shift Summit was held at Penn State University on the weekend of October 23rd. Four Mercyhurst students – myself, senior Zoey Alderman-Tuttle, senior Sherette Almandoz and junior Emily Monahan – embarked on the four-hour drive to Penn State to take part in the event.
We arrived at the college just in time to take part in the 350 Days of Action picture. After the picture was taken, everyone dispersed into groups to either partake in workshops and training or to listen to a panel on environmental justice.
After hearing what some of the leaders of the clean energy movement had to say about topics including coal, green jobs and environmental justice, it was time for Pennsylvania’s college students to talk to each other.
During the day’s “breakout sessions,” students got to discuss what their schools were doing to be sustainable, how they felt about environmental issues and what they could do to become more sustainable themselves. While the regional summit left something to be desired in the way of organization, it was still a great experience.
“I am glad I went, and am definitely becoming more involved,” Monahan said about her experience at the summit.
Sunday was filled with even more panels, workshops and trainings, including topics such as food sustainability and campaign planning, followed by more breakouts.
During the return trip to Mercyhurst, the car was filled with the sharing of newly learned information, talk of new ideas and plans to enact change.
For the four of us who attended the Pennsylvania Power Shift Summit, it was certainly an exhilarating learning experience, and for those who did not, hopefully the next Power Shift will see them in attendance.
More information about Power Shift can be found at www.powershift09.org.