Green Activism: Thousands of Youth Storm Capitol

Power Shift


Youth Call for Green Energy and End to Coal Power

by Jessica Lee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Just blocks away from Capitol Hill, a new conversation is sweeping the streets. Within the crowded sidewalks and cafes along H and 7th Streets, certain words likely will catch your ear: environmental sustainability, green economy, direct action, colonization, coal power plants and capitalism.

All weekend, more than 12,000 college and high school students have traveled across the country for the second Power Shift conference, a meeting-of-the-minds for students serious about taking leadership roles in not only confronting climate change, but also taking on Washington attitudes and business-as-usual.

As a blizzard pounds the East Coast, students are preparing to take the Capitol by storm Monday.

The day begins with scheduled meetings with their elected officials — many of them in their first trip to the Capitol — in what organizers are calling “the largest-ever lobby day on climate change and energy.” More than 350 meetings for youth lobbying have been scheduled within Congress.

And the day might end in jail for the more than 2,500 students have signed-up to put their bodies on the line to shut down a nearby power plant that uses coal to produce nearly 50 percent of its energy. Climate scientists, such as NASA’s James Hansen, warn that the only way to mitigate climate change is to completely stop burning coal to make electricity. Read More.


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