Friday, May 18, 2007

Moving Beyond Step It Up 2007

Here's some good news. I've just heard of two climate action efforts that will pick up where the Step It Up national mobilization left off. The first is Climate Summer, an environmental activist effort modeled on the Civil Rights movement's student-led 1964 Freedom Summer. The new student-led effort on climate change is being sponsored by the Sierra Student Coalition, Sierra Club, Energy Action Coalition, Student Conservation Voters, and the Carbon Coalition.

The second effort is Focus The Nation, which is coordinating teams of faculty and students at over a thousand colleges, universities and K-12 schools in the United States, to collaboratively engage in a nationwide, interdisciplinary discussion on January 31, 2008 about “Global Warming Solutions for America.”

The opportunities to learn important activist skills by helping organize one or both of these efforts is huge. The Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program and the Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England are already discussing how we can take part in these efforts. I hope students and faculty from many other colleges and universities will also grab this opportunity to become more experienced activists and help build an ever stronger movement to improve our ecological sustainability through climate activism.

As Bill McKibben notes, efforts like Focus the Nation and Climate Summer "are absolutely vital to building a movement strong enough to demand, achieve, and sustain the stabilization of the climate." I also agree with the Climate Summer website that finding creative solutions to global climate change "will create millions of new jobs and lift people out of poverty, help make our nation more secure by ending our addiction to fossil fuel, and allow us to be patriotic about something other than war."