movement building

Note: This piece is a reflection of my own experience and position in the world—as a white, able-bodied, gender//queer, college-educated person that has been doing this work for only 5 years. I wrote this in the spirit of an invitation to collaborate, to ask questions, to imagine new possibilities—not to merely criticize the work of those that have been working in a certain type of structure for years and years.

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We will be taking this program to schools and colleges. Can your organization or your school sponsor a program? I will introduce and screen short films, including two on civil resistence. After between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on how much time is scheduled,  there will be an intermission and then some discussion. Members of the audience who wish to do so will be invited to appear on camera and:

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A Call to Action

September 4, 2011

There is a movement arising. Are you not aware? Do you not care?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are indeed a part of the problem. It does not take much more than a simple search on the nearest social media outlet to realize that there are a number of people who are fighting against the institutions that oppress the common man and rape vast amounts of land. You are not free; you are not living in a world that cares for clean air, water, or soil.Human and life needs are being suffocated in the name of profit. You are shackled to unforgiving laws, silenced by the corporatism of our government and subjected to land grabs that are exacerbating the change of our climate, poisoning the air and water, and killing indigenous peoples that have lived off the land for hundreds of years.

Dumbed down and numbed by TV, industry-driven music, and media controlled by crooks, the powers-that-be have you exactly where they want you. No need to worry about us challenging their power and tired ways; we are too busy making sure we catch the most recent episode of Jersey Shore. But there are indeed a number of us awake, fighting, and hopeful.

To those looking to put your passion, skills and desire to test—THIS IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION.

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This is a follow-up  to Emily Saari's blog post "MSCC - We Create Realty!"

At Power Shift 2011, Maryland students rebuilt the MSCC (Maryland Student Climate Coalition) to keep the spirit of Power Shift alive in Maryland.  At our first in-person planning meeting in late June, I asked the meeting's participants this important question:  "Why do we need a Maryland Power Shift?"  Knowing that the battle against dirty energy cannot be fought alone, I shared them my post-Power Shift story:

On May 5th, I attended a Loyola University alumni networking event in downtown Baltimore, at which Ken DeFontes, CEO of Baltimore Gas & Electric (BG&E) and a Loyola MBA alumnus with 30-40 years' of business experience spoke.  BG&E is a distributor of energy to the general public and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation Energy, which recently merged with Exelon Energy.  BG&E's best work is by far in the area of energy efficiency with its Smart Meters.  Constellation and Exelon are the owners of the energy generation assets.  Constellation does have a few solar and wind projects, some completed and others in the works.  But, it still generates most of its energy from coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power.  DeFontes is a member of the American Gas Association, so I asked him a question about fracking for natural gas, telling him about the extensive contamination of people's water supply that has occurred in Pennsylvania because of it. He immediately said, "as long as the well is sealed, there shouldn't be any problems.  He described that if the waterbed is 200 feet down and the natural gas is trapped in the rocks 9,000 feet down, there shouldn't be any contamination as long as its sealed through the aquifer.  Out of all the questions he faced, mine was by far the toughest.  Very troubling.  Power Shift keynote speaker and former Vice-President Al Gore once said, "There are some things about our world that you know, that older people don't know."  DeFontes' speech perfectly exemplifies Gore's quote.

I did not have time to ask him any other questions, but had some prepared on mountaintop removal, regulation of coal ash wastes, and the dangers of nuclear energy.  I have researched the Maryland Chamber of Commerce's website and have discovered some of its very disturbing postions on energy and environmental bills.  BG&E undoubtedly has some influence on the Maryland Chamber.  It seems that the Maryland Chamber is similar to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, even though it is listed on's "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Doesn't Speak for Me" campaign.  The Maryland Chamber's CEO, Katherine Snyder, says the budget decisions and political positions of the Maryland and U.S. Chambers are separate.  But, the Maryland Chamber has voiced strong opposition to SB861/HB1054, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act.  It supports natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale and opposes Governor Martin O'Malley's efforts to put it on for environmental safety studies.  The most noticeably disturbing position it has taken on a bill is its opposition to SB637/HB759, Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland - Toxic Chemical Identification and Reduction act.  That alone suggests a "profit first, people second" mentality.

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Guest post by Marla Marcum, Director of New England Climate Summer

Climate Summer 2011 kicked off this week, and this blast from the past goes out to all those nervous new members of the Climate Summer crew… 31 young adults who have committed their summers to living their values, even though many of them have never ridden more than a few miles at a time on their bikes!

For those awaiting our arrival in your towns, we’re so excited to work with you!  For those friends and supporters (new and old) who follow us as a matter of course, get ready because Climate Summer 2011 is going to be AMAZING!

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The Most Powerful Organizing Training in History

When was the first time you realized you were part of something bigger and had the power to create change?

I realized it 8 years ago in March 2003 when our government invaded Iraq. Sickened by the lies and violence I knew I had to do something. So I started organizing my fellow students at the University of Kansas, holding demonstrations, debates, and teach-ins. But despite my best efforts I alone couldn't end the war so I vowed to prevent the next one and keep us from sending our nation's youth into harms way to defend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.