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Apr 182011

From Green Right Now Reports

Power Shift, the annual training and rally that brings out thousands of college students to push for clean energy and climate action, winds up today in Washington, following rousing weekend speeches by environmentalists Van Jones, former Vice President Al Gore and Bill McKibben.

Van Jones, the former Obama Administration green jobs ‘czar’ and veteran Power Shift speaker, excited the students with a speech that tore to the bones of the debate, telling them that their generation has been “powered by death.” That death comes from the fossil fuels, the remnants of lives lived millions of years ago, which are pulled from the ground and burned, putting “death into the sky” in the form of global warming and into the oceans and into the lungs of people, causing asthma and cancer.

“Let’s stop fueling our economy on death,” Jones told the crowd in the keynote address on Friday, raising cheers from an estimated 10,000 college students and young adults.

After Saturday and Sunday trainings for leaders, facilitators and volunteers in the green movement, Monday’s activities focus on those standing in the way of political change, namely U.S. lawmakers.

Students spent the morning in a march demanding the end of subsidies for Big Oil and will converge on Capitol Hill this afternoon for a lobbying blitz. The theme of these events, “Standing up to Big Polluters,” may be hard sell in a town as greased by oil money as Houston.

But the students have been training for the fight, and have been encouraged words from those long in the trenches, such as Gore, who warned them on Friday that Washington D.C. has four anti-climate lobbyists for each member of Congress, obstructing the path to a greener, clean-power future.

“The answer has to come from you. It has to come from the grassroots, from young people,” Gore said. “And I believe you are up to it.”

Al Gore speaks at Power Shift 2011:

Al Gore speech part two:

Van Jones keynote, excerpt: