You know how some days you just get so wrapped up with those new Facebook apps that you barely notice when columnists in the nation’s newspaper of note are talking shit about you behind your back? Earlier this month, Tom Friedman wrote:
America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage … of Generation Q [for “Quiet”]. That’s what twentysomethings are for — to light a fire under the country. But they can’t email it in, and an online petition or a mouse click for carbon neutrality won’t cut it …
Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall.
Big numbers? Washington Mall? Why haven’t students thought of this before? Oh, wait:
This weekend, some 5,000 young people from every state in the nation will be convening at the University of Maryland at College Park for the first national youth summit on climate change. The summit will bring together the diverse leaders of a generation that is voting in greater numbers in every election, volunteering more than any generation in history, and leading campuses to the clean energy economy of tomorrow by getting schools to purchase renewable energy and go climate neutral.
The event, sponsored by the Energy Action Coalition, is called "Power Shift 2007" to signify a shift in how we produce and use energy, as well as a shift in power from entrenched interests like Big Oil to a generation that believes that the problems that confront humanity — like AIDS, global poverty, and climate change — can be solved if we are ready to act boldly.
And since the campus at College Park is only a short subway ride from D.C., the young people behind Power Shift will also be convening there on Monday, Nov. 5. This could be the largest group of people ever — young or old — to flood Capitol Hill and press Congress for action on climate change and clean energy.
If you, too, think this sounds like a good idea — and especially if you’re a member of "Generation Q" — it’s not too late to sign out of MySpace, step away from the blogosphere, and make plans to come to Power Shift.
Get Grist in your inbox