Letters to the EditorOpinion

Powershift: Make climate history



According to the top climate scientists at the United Nations, by the year 2015, the human race must stabilize emissions of greenhouse gases and begin to rapidly reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The switch to clean, renewable sources of energy is absolutely necessary to achieve that deadline, and students here at the University, along with students from hundreds of schools across the country, are uniting in recognition of that cause.

PowerShift West is one of 12 regional conferences to promote real solutions to climate change while creating a new, clean energy economy and millions of new jobs. More than 500 young people are expected this evening for a weekend of action, workshops and learning about clean energy solutions. In addition, attendees will hear from inspiring speakers, listen to live music and network with peers from eight western states. These student leaders will be learning about topics ranging from international and national policy solutions to local energy efficiency projects.

Right now, special interests from the oil and coal industry are dominating the debate on energy in Washington, D.C. As young people, it is our responsibility to make our voices heard in the halls of power. Our future is at stake — and if we don’t act now to begin reducing our dangerous levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, our lives will be defined by resource wars, unstable food and water supplies and runaway climate change.

In the 2008 election, more young people voted and volunteered than ever before. Now ­— exactly one year after we volunteered with campaigns, filled polling booth lines and rocked the political establishment — we must unite again. We must remind our representatives of the promises they made when we helped elect them. Nothing can silence the voices of an entire generation. You are part of the movement that is going to solve climate change and create a sustainable and just future.

This moment in history is pivotal for the climate change policy. Students are taking responsibility for their futures and making their voices heard as we approach the United Nations climate treaty negotiations in December. To make those negotiations a success, we need to let our elected officials know where we stand.

It’s time for us to organize ourselves! Students have been at the front of almost every social and political movement in this country, and this movement is no exception. PowerShift West will inspire and train hundreds of students this weekend, but one element is missing: you. To solve the largest problem the human species has ever faced, every single creative, passionate person is needed. This conference will change your life — if you let it. You must join the students gathering at the University and step up as a leader in the most important movement that our generation is a part of.

PowerShift West starts tonight at 7 p.m. and ends Sunday with a march. University students can register for a discounted rate of $15 at the door or $10 online at psw09.org. This is our moment and we will make it unforgettable.

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