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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:

Nov 092009

Green Right Now Reports

Rallying for a clean energy bill in Massachussetts, noted climatologist Dr. James Hansen told students this weekend that they must take the future in their hands.

Massachusetts Sleep Out (Photo: Ian McClellan)

Massachusetts Sleep Out (Photo: Ian McClellan)

“Our universe is incredibly unjust and inequitable for young people and future generations. ” Dr. Hansen said.  “Unless someone can change the direction, young people are really in trouble.  Our governments are not taking actions or planning actions that will achieve this.”

Dr. Hansen, known for sounding the alarm about climate change to Congress 20 years ago, appeared in Boston to support students and environmentalists who have been sleeping out to press Massachusetts lawmakers to commit to 100 percent clean energy for the state by 2020.

After sleeping out with the students encamped on Boston Common, Dr. Hansen joined them in lobbying lawmakers today. He testified before an informational hearing sponsored by the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. (And being cited for trespassing by Boston police.)

Others testifying included:  Dominique McCadden, Northeastern University student and participant in The Leadership Campaign; the Rt. Rev. Roy Cederholm, Jr., Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Mass.; Frank Ackerman, Senior Economist at the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Earlier at the Sunday rally, several other supporters spoke, including:

Marla Marcum of the Massachusetts Council of Churches; Linnea Palmer Paton, a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Alex Propp, a student at Amherst College; Steve MacAusland, co-founder of the National Interfaith Power & Light Movement; Ken Ward of the JP Greenhouse; State Representative Will Brownsberger, vice-chair of House Global Warming and Climate Change Committee; and Craig Altemose, a Harvard graduate student and coordinator of The Leadership Campaign.

The Leadership Campaign, which is run by Students for a Just and Stable Future, is coordinating the protests.