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Power Shifting

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Author: the Inkslinger

Recently Capital Hill was taken over by students from around the country who don’t want to inherit a world crippled by climate change. Change-It ’06 alumni Jackie Sargent was there and she’s sent us this dispatch from the front lines…

From Nov 2-5, nearly 6,000 students from every state in the nation attended Powershift, the largest national youth summit on global warming, which was held at the University of Maryland, College Park. Students attended workshops and panels and learned all about environmental initiatives and how to make their campus/city/state/nation a more sustainable one.

There were speakers such as Ralph Nader and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. On the last day, students went to the Capitol for a rally and more than eleven hundred students visited their local state representatives to talk about what matters most to them – the environment, social justice, and a better world for all.

Alright, that's the background. Now for my story…

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Change It 2007 VIDEO!

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Author: Lara Petersen

I know it's only just October, but it seems like ages since I was in DC this summer with Greenpeace and 200 inspired students who were fighting for their beliefs and for this precious earth that we all share.

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Climate Change: The Sins of Our Fathers

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Author: the Inkslinger

This dispatch arrived last night from our good friend and 2006 Change It participant, Joseph Kaifala, who wanted to share some of his thoughts on what’s happening in Africa.

As I was listening to BBC Network Africa this morning I heard of the increasing rainfalls that are currently devastating certain regions in Africa. According to the report, at least 17 countries have been hit in West, Central and East Africa by some of the worst rains in living memory. It also reported that at least 500,000 people have been affected by the floods in just twelve countries. An approximated 400,000 people have been affected in Uganda alone by what the BBC refers to as the country’s heaviest rainfall in 35 years.

At this point you might be thinking exactly what I thought: Climate Change. Well, you are right to think it because scientists have predicted such effects on Africa several times within the past four years. But of course, like everything else that concerns Africa, could anyone ever listen?

Earlier this year it was revealed by scientific investigation that Africa is 0.5 C warmer than it was a century ago, but that Africa is simply bearing the brunt of problems created in the rich industrial countries. The report, (Climate Change and Africa) in May 2007 aired on both BBC Focus and Network Africa reports stated that food production in countries in the Horn and the Sahel regions is always at the mercy of the climate, and the rising temperatures are putting those arid areas in an even more precarious position. Recently, a renewed study by the economist William Cline quantified drastic reductions in agricultural productivity in many of Africa’s poorest countries by the 2080s if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. Such declines are expected to be severe in places like Sudan and Senegal where agricultural production is predicted to fall by more than half, while other African countries will experience a reduction by 30-40 percent. I swear we don’t deserve this one.

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Change It: You're on the Hot Seat Campaign

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Today the Change It program ran their "You're on the hot Seat" Global Warming campaign in Washington DC at

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Accidents Happen

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Author: Lara Petersen

Here's my latest cross-post from the Change It blog :

"A truck hit the pole with the internet connection for the whole neighborhood. - kfj"

This is the message I got earlier today from Katie Flynn-Jambeck (my Greenpeace counterpart at Change It, also known as “the whirlwind in the red skirt”).

So apparently campus is sans webnet. That means no interweb for students to do any final research before the big event on Capitol Hill tomorrow. No magic box for them to confirm the contact info for their local media, so they can follow up on the pitching done about the direct communication that will be happening. And worse yet - no way to blog!!!

So all you've got now is me, again. And I'd like to take this moment to say how excited I am to be here for a second year. Seeing the culmination of the simulation known as "Sweet River" today, and how much everyone learned and took away from the last few days... I'm just so grateful.

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Changing It With Larry Bell

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Here’s a cross-post from the Change It blog from 2007 participant Alicia Kowsky, a junior at the State University of New York at Geneseo

Yesterday we had a speaker from the National Coalition Building Institute. Larry Bell has worked with the coalition in the DC area for many years. He opened up his presentation with a story about himself. He explained how he grew up in DC thinking that people didn't respect him because of his race. His mom use to tell him not to go into the nice neighborhoods because the police would ask him to leave. Larry explained that he never bought into the prejudice story and as long as he didn't give into assumptions about racism he was able to live free of oppression.

Larry related this story by telling us that a large part of oppression is caused by internalizing it. Someone will say something to make us feel guilty about some part of our personality and if we choose to brew over it instead of move on from the unkind words, then we let them have the power to control our emotions. He conducted an activity to make us appreciate others' differences. He moved past the boundaries of professionalism to help us bond as a network. The activity consisted of him naming a category, maybe different nationalities, religions, or hometowns. If we identified with one of the categories, he had us stand up. Everyone in the room would cheer and clap for us to set the tone of appreciation and approval. When you were standing you could nothing but smile because everyone was cheering you on. There was such a great amount of energy in the room that many people were moved enough to share really intimate details about themselves and feel accepted for them.

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Speechless in DC

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Author: Lara Petersen

Here's the first of the week's cross-posts from the Change It blog.

It’s here! It’s happening! And suddenly I’m at a loss for words – I’m not sure how to best share the Change It experience with those of you who aren’t with us in DC this week.

I so badly want to paint a picture with my words, so that the people who are not with us can almost imagine that they are. So that you can all feel the inspiration, become engaged by the teachings and dialog, lift your spirit with a new found hope, and maybe make some new friends along the way.

But then I realized, I’m not the one who should be telling this story! I’m just a lucky bystander. Who am I to recount to you what the 200 Change It 07 students are experiencing?

And so, instead, you’ll be getting the students’ stories. We have some great blogs already from enthusiastic Change It participants who sent us their entries before we were even ready to post them!

I’ll still be checking in of course, but for now it occurs to me – why paint a picture with words when you can just snap one? And so for this first “week-of” blog, I give you some photos from the first few days of Change It. I think that, for now, we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Changing It Even As We Speak

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So this is the big week for our Change It program. 200 participants are gathered in Washington to hear from some leading voices in the progressive community and learn how to organize, advocate, and agitate. For those of you unfamiliar with Change It, it’s an idea we cooked up with Greenpeace to help send ripples of action out into the world and plant seeds of change in cities and towns all over the country. Here’s how we described the whole thing on the Change It web site:

The Change It program is an all-expenses-paid week of grassroots educational training in Washington, D.C., July 20 to 26, led by the experts from Greenpeace and other progressive organizations. Building on last year's success, the program will teach 200 dedicated full- and part-time students, ages 18 to 24, how to take on the toughest global challenges of our time.

Change It provides an opportunity for student leaders already committed to protecting the environment, leading social change and taking action to learn the skills and tools they need to become effective leaders. Students will emerge from the program ready to engage in the efforts necessary to prevent global warming and address the most critical issues facing their generation.

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Change It Speakers Announced!

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Author: Lara Petersen

Here's a new cross-post from the Change It blog.

You heard it here first! Well, that is, unless you were checking the Change It Participant Info page earlier today. The speaker list for Change It 2007 has been posted!

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Change It '07 Participants Announced!

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Author: Lara Petersen

Cross-posted from the Change It blog...

If you’re one of the faithful visitors to the Change It web site then by now you’ve noticed new profiles appearing on the Participant page. I’m so excited to finally share with you more names, pictures and Change It statements from the students who have committed to joining us in DC for a week of tough activism training July 20th to the 26th.

I’ve said it a million times by now, but I wish we were posting all 1,260 of the applicants up there – if only because I would love to meet and work with every one of them towards creating a movement of change. But that’s just me being selfish, because they’re already doing that! Read their statements to see how, and then tell us how YOU will change it.

You can also click on individual participant profiles and send a note of encouragement or a question to one of the 200 students (still being added). Already I see that Angel has asked Luis if they’re on the same flight to DC!

Congrats to all Participants – and many many thanks to ALL the applicants who have shown us that real change is already taking place on campuses everywhere!

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