Over D.C., Into Pittsburgh, Towards a New Country!

As we celebrate a government that is open, let’s take a second to remember that it’s ridiculous that the shutdown even happened. Let’s take a second as well to consider that the government more often than not is working against us even when it’s working. As Power Shift 2013 arrives in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow, let’s remember why we’re here, not D.C.

In 2009, even in 2011, it made sense to be in D.C. There was a climate bill on the table, we mustered the largest single-issue lobby day in history. Hell, Hurricane Sandy hadn’t happened. Fukushima hadn’t been dumping 300 metric tons of radioactive waste per day into the Pacific for two years. Things were looking up!

Then Barack Obama has a press conference saying natural gas is clean energy. Then Keystone XL becomes a bargaining tool in the budget negotiations, as if it is at all negotiable! Then, we hear about TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, referred to as NAFTA on steriods, secretly negotiated by corporations and governments and up for a vote in just a few months.

Yeah, I’m over D.C.

Grand Aspirations as a whole is mobilizing in Pittsburgh with other activists from around the country because we just don’t have time anymore. We just can’t wait any longer for the stodgy and corrupt Congresspeople to start giving a damn about everything from the American indigenous populations to the Gulf of Mexico. We just don’t have time anymore to negotiate sub-par energy bills and pollution standards. We need to STOP. We need to ORGANIZE. We need to DISOBEY. We need to BUILD SOMETHING NEW.

Power Shift is a challenge because it is not the end, it is the means. Many of us organizing the conference have been pouring effort into what will happen there because we want to structure the next steps, not just have a great conference. The Green Economy Working Group, a function of the Energy Action Coalition, has the goal of setting up 100 new Green Economy projects after the concert, and I’m hella pumped to say that these are on the way! The network is in place, the flyers are printed. We’re ready for Pittsburgh.

We’re not going to be lobbying, we’re going to be planning. We’re not going to be marching on a deaf White House with an ambivalent climate traitor inside, we’re going to mobilize against fracking at the heart of its dirty soul. We’re going to Pittsburgh because, to lift a term from undercover climate activist Winnie the Pooh, we could give less than one bother about Congress at this point.

I’ll be at the Green Economy Hub. Let’s hug and congratulate each other on being a part of the most important people’s movement in history: the movement to save our planet and each other from the stained and greedy fingers of corporation and government alike.

See you there!
-Anthony Peregrine Betori

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Voice, Courage, Action

Originally posted, Feb 13, 2013

By Mary Anne Rojas

Summer of Solutions Ithaca is seizing what was once considered to be unimaginable and inaccessible in our time. Reminder, with the histories of revolutions, thus, the ability to see ourselves in mirrors, our generation is doing the imaginable and accessible. This summer, Ithaca will be multiplying this effort for a Sustainable Future. As a generation, we are proving to confront our courage by creating spaces where fear is molded into endurance. In case you are wondering, a Sustainable future is a solution already. Now, what do we do?

As you may have heard, New York State announced yesterday afternoon that the February deadlines will be missed, the reason given being that more time is necessary for the state’s health review. This is a magnificent opportunity to move forward with action and reaching out to more communities to ensure our voices are heard. Today enriches our generations goal by making evident that action asks and promises solution. This morning marks the day when Governor Cuomo was due to release the SGEIS and in doing so move ahead with fracking. Today, communities are sending appreciations to everyone’s courageous commitments and amazing work; we are celebrating all efforts. Though, we are aware of this journeys extended commitment, we are in agreements that this is also a beginning to a beautiful solution. Continue reading

Young People in New York Take on Albany!

It’s been a busy month for Summer of Solutions Ithaca! The hot issue in upstate New York is hydrofracking, and January has been a crucial period for legislative decisions around fracking. As you may know, New York has had a tenuous moratorium for the last 4 years, though Governor Cuomo has nearly given the go-ahead several times. We’ve been fighting our hardest to make sure that doesn’t happen!Image

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Solutionaries at Work in Ithaca

We’ve been playing around with this idea for more than a year, but we are finally on the ground organizing a Summer of Solutions Ithaca! We are thrilled to engage with the community in a new way and it could not come at a more perfect time — Ithaca is undergoing a transformation and our vision of a sustainable future for the area seems closer than ever.

A little background first: Ithaca is a progressive city situated in rural upstate New York and home to two fantastic universities, Cornell and Ithaca College. We have a history of enacting the world we would like to live in. For instance, Ithacans successfully kept Wal-Mart at bay from 1992 until 2005, concentrating on small business development aided by our own currency, “Ithaca Hours”, which are to be used as payment for hours of work. Ithaca and Tompkins County are replete with organic farms, which are often youth led. We’ve seen widespread energy efficiency campaigns and the development of numerous local renewable energy sources. Last year, we elected a 24-year-old Cornell graduate as mayor of the city. Ithaca is home to countless celebrations commemorating this special, beautiful place we call home.

We recognize that Ithaca still has problems. We haven’t transitioned substantially to renewable energy sources. We do not yet have a viable local food system. Race, class and gender injustice persist. Many residents are painfully aware of the natural gas industry’s intention to drill in the Marcellus Shale that lies under Ithaca and surrounding counties in New York.

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The Green Umbrella – NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future members protesting fracking at Powershift New York, April 2012

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