Flower power

This weekend, students from the College of William and Mary traveled to northern Virginia for the regional Power Shift Conference. It provides workshops and networking opportunities for developing activists. It is targeted to college environmental groups, and it is organized by the Energy Action Coalition (EAC) and Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).

Power Shift focuses on clean energy and jobs through petitioning, lobbying and other forms of direct political action. Whatever you believe about climate change, it is clear that summits like Power Shift are important to empower and inform activists interested in starting and maintaining grassroots campaigns.

This year Virginia Power Shift was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Several other regions also hold their own Power Shift conferences.

Virginia Power Shift speakers this year were Mike Tidwell, director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Jessy Tolkan, executive director of Energy Action Coalition; Matthew Petty, a grassroots activist from Arkansas; and Gillian Caldwell, a filmmaker and attorney focusing social justice issues.

There were 16 workshops, including one by the College’s own Grace Sherman ’10. She lead “Case Study: Surry County,” about the experiences of the College’s Surry Justice League. This group opposes the proposed coal plant in Surry County, Virginia just across the James River.

Other breakout sessions were entitled “Working Toward Environmental Justice in Virginia,” “Petrol Free Gypsy Carnival Tour,” and “International Climate Negotiations: How to Engage Your Campus.”

Students from the College have attended the conference for the last two years, and they always return with enthusiasm and fresh ideas for campus environmental groups. If you’re interested for next year, register through the link on the website. The cost is $20, and you’re sure to have plenty of company from the College.

Speaking of those volunteers, they’re still gone tonight and unavailable for interviews, but let’s hope they put up pictures here.

The national page also has a petition you can sign asking you discourage Congress from supporting dirty energy lobbyists. It’s also pretty fun to read comments on the petition. One that I liked: “As I understand it, good planets are hard to find,” said Benjamin Lascelle. Check it out!

Peace & love until next time!


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