Define Our Decade: Events Across the Country Kick-off Efforts to Define It With Clean Energy

March 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

By Ethan Nuss, Co-campaign director of the Energy Action Coalition.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a national conference of young Jesuit’s gathered in West Virginia as part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s national Teach-in on Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Inspired by the powerful history of social justice work of the Jesuit community I spoke to them about the importance of Environmental Justice, the Energy Action Coalition, the need for urgent action, and of our latest campaign: Define our Decade. During the Q&A one question really stood out: “What’s so special about THIS decade? Why focus on defining the next ten years?” After pausing to reflect, I simply said: “Because we have to.”

At first the student questioner probably thought my answer sounded like a mother answering her seven year old on why she couldn’t eat the cookie for breakfast, “Because I said so.” But really, it’s true that we have to make this decade one of the most transformative in American history. Period. Anything short of that is morally inexcusable. Over the next 10 years our generation will unleash the full power of the clean and just energy revolution and secure our climate from the duel threats of the economic and climate crisis. Why? Because we have to. This is not just a campaign slogan but the reality that we have inherited an insane global emergency and failure to rise to the challenge will result in the suffering of millions of our fellow human beings. We cannot continue to live under the corporate polluter domination that is poisoning our communities and disproportionally affecting communities of color the world over. I for one can’t live with it. And I keep going because I know that everyday there is a movement of people out there that feel the same way. Let us now let us speak with a unified vision for Our Decade.

Let’s face it Americans tend to think in terms of decades. What defined the decades in the last century, 50’s, 60, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. etc? What images does this bring to mind? Poodle skirts, Woodstock, disco, big hair bands and Reaganomics. These are forever burned in our collective consciousness. (Plus, we are constantly reminded with cheesy VH1 flashback specials.) But seriously, what image will our grandchildren see when they look back on this decade? The image of healthy, sustainable communities powered by wind turbines? It’s ours for the making! Let them see that this was the turning point in American history when a generation said; “we can’t live like this” and summoned the moral courage to restore our nation to the promise of our most hallowed values. We have 10 years to turn this thing around and it’s up to us.

Starting today and over the next two weeks young people across the country are hosting gatherings and events to vote on our collective vision and commitment for Our Decade. There is incredible stuff planned all over the country (Find an event near you or host your own) check out some of the highlights:

  • Today, voting booths are set-up at tables at Florida International University, University of South Caroline-Aiken, George Mason University, Central Michigan University and more!
  • College and HS students from across Missouri are gathering at the “Show Me Sustainability” conference at Mizzou and will all take part in the Define Our Decade vote together!
  • The Beyond Coal Campaign at Pennsylvania State University is constructing a big art installation of the “Foundations of Our Future” to emphasize the need for Penn State University to move beyond coal!
  • Michigan State University students are following up on a coal plant hearing that they held, to have a community forum on how to move the campus to 100% clean electricity by 2020.

As part of these events, organizers will be asking their peers, and their communities how they want to define theirdecade, and will be asking them to take part in a national youth vote where we gauge how ambitious young people are for this decade.  Take a minute right now to add your vote and vision for reclaiming our future. And tell a friend!

Let’s make the next 10 years some of the most active and promising in American history. Our collective survival depends on it.

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