Join REC at PowerShift 2011: Register Now!

by Brett Vetterlein, Community Investment Campaign Organizer



This Sunday is the final day to register for PowerShift 2011, a conference sponsored by the Energy Action Coalition (a partner group of REC), dedicated to furthering the youth climate movement. The conference has taken place every other year since 2007. At the inaugural PowerShift, political leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Van Jones addressed the crowd of over 6,000 promoting economic and environmental justice with the creation of millions of “green jobs.” Students left the conference and began organizing politically around green-collar jobs and clean energy, looking toward the 2008 elections. However, the momentum did not stop there. In 2009, a group of 12,000 members of the movement got together in Washington, DC to discuss, learn, and create campaigns to bring back to their communities. Here, thousands of students engaged in the Capitol Climate Action, successfully shutting down Washington DC’s coal-fired power plant.

This year students, organizers, entrepreneurs, workers, youth from all walks of life reconvene once again. This time the goal is to create a comprehensive strategy that will be able to be implemented by attendees across the country. The focus will be much more centered on movement building than ever before, working on three main campaigns: “Catalyzing the Clean Energy Economy,” “Campus Climate Challenge 2.0,” and “Beyond Dirty Energy.” Attendees will attend workshops to gain the skills necessary for launching these campaigns on their campuses and in their communities.

The Responsible Endowments Coalition is just one of 50 partner organizations involved with the Energy Action Coalition (EAC), promoting social, economic, and environmental justice. However, most of these organizations are more traditional environmental groups, organizing campaigns around clean energy on campus or creation of green jobs, REC has a slightly different and complimentary approach. While the work of the EAC on the ground is vastly important to the success of the youth climate movement, REC likes to hit people where it hurts: their wallets. REC campaigns on university campuses have the potential to shift large millions of dollars away from destructive environmental practices and towards alternative energy. Institutional investors have successfully filed resolutions to work towards a cleaner future with banks and companies including JP Morgan Chase, XTO Energy, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips. Universities are institutional investors and can have the same power when filing a resolution to promote alternative energy. Most notably, in 2010 Loyola University of Chicago filed a resolution with JP Morgan Chase concerning financing of mountain top removal, an extremely environmentally hazardous form of coal mining in Appalachia.

Climate change is a real problem that can only be stopped by us. We need people on the ground demanding for green jobs, reduced carbon emissions, and clean air and water for all. But we also need people on campuses pressuring their universities to take a stand with their money, using their considerable wealth to say to the corporations practicing mountain top removal and offshore drilling, pumping our air full of dangerous carbon emissions that they need to give us something better. So join REC and the EAC at PowerShift 2011, This could very well be the 11th hour.

For more information and to register for PowerShift 2011 visit http://www.powershift2011.org.

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