December 30, 2016

What Our Movement Accomplished In 2016

875 Power Shift 2016 Southeast in Orlando, Florida (photo: Jahfre Colbert, Post Creative Group)

What a year. Between the primaries, the election, and the post-election absurdity we’ve been witnessing for the past six weeks, I know many of us are ready to say goodbye to this year. But believe it or not: despite all of this, I’m still calling 2016 a success for the Power Shift Network.

Here’s why I think 2016 was such a success. In just 12 months, our network:

  • Hosted 4 regional Power Shift convergences in Philadelphia, Detroit, Orlando and Berkeley, CA that brought together over 1,000 young people, who learned critical skills and knowledge and built lasting relationships with other activists in their regions.

  • Took part in one of the largest direct actions in the country’s history: Democracy Spring, where more than 1300 people were arrested on the steps of the US Capitol to demand a democracy that works for the people, not billionaire polluters.

  • Coordinated 12 #SpringForward State Strategy Summits with some of the top young climate leaders in key states across the country.

  • Facilitated 12 Pipeline Resistance Digital Townhalls in support of our comrades at Standing Rock and the many fossil fuel pipeline resistance efforts around the country.

  • Launched a new chapter of our organization when Energy Action Coalition became the Power Shift Network: a decentralized, accessible support system for all young people working to achieve climate justice in the US.

I almost can’t believe it.

2016 was a hard year, but our movement still built an incredible amount of power.

Most of this work this year was focused on building young organizers’ power at the state and regional levels. That turned out to be excellent preparation for the tough reality we’re facing in 2017.

In 2017, we will have to work hard to protect the progress we’ve made through hard-fought victories like the Paris agreement, and Obama’s bans on oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic—and we won’t be able to count on our next President to help us.

But if our movement builds enough power, we can move state and local elected officials to do their part to defend our communities from climate disaster. We’ll be fighting for key steps like local bans on new pipelines and coal plants, or support for community-owned renewable energy projects.

876 Power Shift 2016 Midwest in Detroit (Photo: Zac Clark, Clark/Camera/Cinema)

The Power Shift Network launched this summer—and we’re still just getting started. We have already welcomed many new partners into the network this year, and we’ve helped train and organize hundreds of young leaders.

When I think about 2017, I imagine a network with hundreds of member organizations—both student groups and established nonprofits alike—and hundreds of thousands of young people leading campaigns on their campuses and in their communities, with supported by connections and resources from other activists and groups all over the country.

We are in an excellent position to kick off 2017. The power we have built is carrying over—and with your support, we will propel it to the next level.


Young people fighting for climate justice need all the resources we can get in order to fight back and win in 2017. Before 2016 is over, can you support the Power Shift Network’s critical organizing work with a $5 donation?

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