Greetings, iMatter Movement: We Want YOU

October 20, 2011 - Leave a Response

Greetings, emerging iMatter Movement! I am Rachel Dawn-a social justice advocate and transformative leader born in Bogotá, Colombia and bred one town over from Bogota, New Jersey: Teaneck.

I am thrilled to have linked up with Alec and the Kids v. Global Warming leadership to help build a lasting youth led movement to focus our collective future.  We will only create serious change in the U.S. by listening to those this future will affect most: our children.

Throughout the past several years I have advised businesses, strategized for government agencies, and built coalitions within communities successfully empowering people in every sector to maximize what time and resources we have at our disposal to do the right thing.

“Why do you do what you do?”  This question was posited to me both by a doctoral student conducting research in sustainability leadership out of the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as my Social Innovation Fellows at our annual summit in D.C. two weekends ago. I will take this entry to begin answering that question.

I started organizing politically after moving in with my grandfather to care for him following my Economics and Spanish studies at Rutgers University.  While managing at a defense litigation law firm, I read, and read, and read, and what I did not find in the mainstream news, I sought to find in my community, the one that produced me.  The Fall of 2004, I attended an open forum for potential candidates for Teaneck’s City Council and found a group loosely affiliated with Democracy for America, Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy.  What started as a small group of concerned citizens, I launched into a national blog on DFA’s website called Global Warming Is Child Abuse (GWICA).  Tying in with my sorority’s philanthropy, Prevent Child Abuse America, we came up with this take notice name to lend credence to the population our ignorance would ultimately unhinge.  Following that rich simultaneous grassroots and private sector managerial experience, I became the first graduate of The New School’s Sustainability Management Master of Science program, where I held various leadership roles empowering that community’s actors to advocate for real change.  I believe students are our best hope toward achieving long term economic, social, political, and environmental sustainability.

Perhaps I feel such a duty to protect and empower children because I still am one.  No matter how many years I acquire, I describe myself first and foremost as a granddaughter.  My grandparents instilled in me from a very young age that every generation should have it better than the one before it and so on.  For 30+ years, which includes my entire life, the refrain my generation has been sold has not changed.  “Fossil fuels, clean coal, mountain top removal, nuclear power, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands, carbon capture and sequestration, etc. are safe and still necessary energy resources.”  Well, clearly that is not true.  Clearly those who stand to profit from these resources are those who promote it.  What’s clear is we require drastic, lasting change.  Thanks to Kids v. Global Warming and the iMatter Movement, children are empowered to lead that charge, carry the torch, and set an example for generations with voting power at the polls and in corporate boardrooms.

It is not enough that we come together to show solidarity with the new evolving global revolution known as #ows.  We the environmental justice movement, the social justice movement, the human rights movement, etc., must all come together as one.  For too long these movements have been segmented within themselves and with relation to each other.  There are so many issues we face that to be successful as we confront and convert key decision making humans, we need to communicate frequently with one another, learn from each other, and listen.  The 1% has money and media outlets, as do the 99%.  Through the use of our unprecedented technological mechanisms, we have opportunities to perfect what attempts movements of the past botched.   Real time transparency has been largely achieved with twitter, Facebook, and blogs but I am interested in what we are doing with this viral muscle.  What’s our work-out plan toward accountability?  How do we turn informational dominance into tangibly successful political and economic action?  I look forward to receiving many answers to these questions as we press onward.

SO-join our facebook page, follow us on twitter, and, if you’re a youth interested in expressing your personal stories, ideas, insights, you matter.  The iMatter Youth Council is mobilizing a network of passionate young advocates to lead the way to a sustainable and just future for all.  Fill out the iMatter Youth Council application survey and please feel free to get in touch with me at RachelDawn@KVGW.org

As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.”  This is ours.

An Open Letter to President Obama: Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

October 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

Dear President Obama:

Next year, I will turn 18 years old, and I will be able to vote for the first time. My family and I have been your supporters from the very beginning, and for the past couple years, I’ve been excited about getting the chance to vote for you in the 2012 election. But I am afraid you are about to make a decision that will force me to alter that enthusiasm.

After the final hearing today, you will decide whether or not to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline. And if you let it pass, if you allow this horrific, destructive pipeline to be built, I will consider it a betrayal against my entire generation, a generation that will be forced to grow up living with the consequences of your decisions, one that includes your own daughters.

Tar sands provide the dirtiest energy yet discovered. Collection and separation of the oil from these sands can result in as much as five times the carbon emissions of conventional oil production methods. This completely messes up the balance of our atmosphere and threatens the right my generation has to a healthy and thriving planet.

Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climate scientists has said that allowing this pipeline will, by itself, seal our planet’s fate. It will be, in Dr. Hansen’s words, “game over for the climate.”

I simply cannot understand how you could possibly consider allowing this pipeline. Don’t you care about your children? How are you able to look into the eyes of Sasha and Malia knowing that your short-term political gains are more valuable than their survival? How could you betray your own children like that?

Last May, I filed a lawsuit against the heads of all the federal agencies in your cabinet. I sued your government for allowing money and power to be more valuable than our survival. Last week, we filed a Preliminary Injunction to ask the courts to step in and force you to prioritize emission reduction programs for the simple reason that my generation is in imminent danger.  Unless change comes quickly, we will be forced to grow up in a planet drastically different than the one that was passed on by your generation. A planet where hurricanes as big as Katrina are normal; floods, droughts, and wildfires kill millions of people every year; where sea levels rise because of extreme ice melt and cities are swallowed; a planet where hundreds of millions of people are turned into refugees; and an environment where species that we have come to know and love become extinct right before our eyes.

This future is unacceptable. But if you allow this pipeline, it’s sending me and my generation a signal that our future is not as important as Valero Oil’s profits.  Please, Mr. President, stand up for something bigger than political interests.  Show us courage.  BE that “change” you promised three years ago and begin to make decisions with the survival of your children in mind. I don’t know what I will do in my first voting experience if you approve this pipeline.  Please don’t make me wonder.

Respectfully yours,

Alec Loorz

Founder, iMatter Movement

No Auto April!

April 24, 2011 - Leave a Response

Hello, my name is Nathan, I am a high school senior in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the month of April I pledged to not step foot in a car for the entire month (as a passenger or a driver)! The goal of this was to raise awareness about how viable alternative means of transportation are, such as walking, biking, busses, and our local light rail system (TRAX).
I also asked friends and family to pledge money to my cause, and all donations will go to purchasing wind energy offset at the University of Utah’s wind energy program which replaces coal powered energy in our grid with wind powered energy. So far the month has been a huge success! I purchased a local public transportation pass (only $75) and have been riding my bike to and from school every day! My friends and family have pledged a total of over $1,600 as of right now! In coordination with Earth Day I also asked everyone to not step foot in a car for that 1 single day! I hope my story will encourage you to think before you get in your car next time and inspire you to drive less!

-Nathan

Calling All Youth!

April 17, 2011 - One Response

As you may already know, throughout the country starting on May 7th there will be youth led iMatter marches to voice the urgency of the need for climate change to our government. But why is it called “iMatter”? Well the answer is because as a human being with a full life ahead of you, you matter.

Many people commonly think that youth don’t have any input on the decisions that our local, state, and national governments make (especially involving climate change). This is simply not true. March in May and you are giving yourself a chance to let your voice be heard. By marching you can demonstrate that, as a generation with the most time ahead of us to live, we don’t want to inherit a world that is un-inhabitable.

So check out the date for your local march (http://imattermarch.org/) and when your local march comes, get out there and show our government that your youthful, ambitious voice can’t be ignored. Tell your parents and grandparents and the other adults in your life that your future might be dependent on the decisions that they make today. Let’s show the world what a generation like ours can do. It’s our climate, our future, and our revolution!

-Nathan

High Gas Prices=Toned Legs?

April 12, 2011 - Leave a Response

The average price for gas around the country is $3.66 per gallon and rising. You may think of this as bad, but really the rising price of gasoline is in our earth’s best interest. And coincidently what is in our earth’s best interest happens to be in mankind’s best interest.

As gas prices rise, the number of people who choose to drive their cars every day decreases, which in turn reduces the amount of carbon we put into the air each day. Since these people are opting not to drive they instead use other means of transportation such as busses, light rail systems, bikes, and walking!

If more people decide not to drive because of high gas prices then our air will become cleaner, making walking and biking even more enjoyable. Public transportation ridership will also increase, which will in turn result in more frequent and convenient public transit options. So instead of filling up your car with that expensive gas, buy a monthly public transportation pass, break out your bike, or tone those legs and take a walk!

 

-Nathan

 

Affordable Solar

April 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

In 1961, President Kennedy issued a “Moon Shot” pledge: to put a man
on the moon, despite the public opinion that it was impossible. He
succeeded.

In that same spirit, the Department of Energy is launching a program
known as SunShot – a monumental effort to make solar as affordable as
coal. The biggest hurtle to realizing alternative energy has been the
price, and the DoE has a goal: to get solar down to $1/watt in the
next six years.

Today, it’s not unusual for solar to hit $10 per watt, and if you’re
lucky enough to find a company that has $1/watt rates, installation
will double the cost.

The DoE is using innovative science to accomplish its goal, such as
flexible solar panels, “black” silicon, and “1366 Technology’s effort
to grow pure silicon wafers directly rather than hewing them from long
ingots of the material” or “build[ing] thin-film solar cells from
semiconducting materials that are neither toxic nor rare”, according
to an article in Scientific American.

The director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, Arun
Majumdar, summed up the plan in a summit address: “The future is still
up for grabs. How do we win the future? Invent affordable clean
technology. Make them locally, sell them globally.”

To read more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sunshot-lowering-price-of-solar-electricity

-Akilah

Readers We Need Your Help!!

April 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

Hey Readers!  We appreciate you visiting the blog, we hope it has raised your awareness about global climate change and actions you can take to combat it.  We want you to help us improve our blog by giving us some feedback and new ideas!  So share your voice and comment on this post with answers to the following questions!!  This is your blog too, so lets all work on making it better together!

What is your age group?

Is this blog unique in climate change media/awareness raising?

What do we do well? What could we do better?

 

Taking it to Court

April 10, 2011 - Leave a Response

Everyone here at the iMatter Blog is excited about the upcoming iMatter March. We think it’s about time we took to the streets and made our voices and our stories heard. But we won’t just raise our voices in the streets; we’ll also raise them in the courts.

More than just demanding our leaders and governments to live as if our future matters, we’re filing suit to make sure they do. Lawsuits will be taking place in states across the country, and will coincide with some really cool upcoming campaigns.

The idea behind the lawsuits is that by allowing corporations to pollute our atmosphere, the government is failing to protect a public trust. A public trust is a resource which doesn’t belong to anyone (like water, and in most states and countries the government is required to protect public trusts. The atmosphere is one such trust, it belongs to all of us and we need our government to protect it!

You can help with this effort by signing on as a friend of the court [imattermarch.org/lawsuit]. Write a paragraph about how you are or will be affected by climate change and the lawyers will weave your story into the cases on behalf of youth.

Get involved and sign up to march at http://www.imattermarch.org!

-Alex

Don’t Be Trashy

April 7, 2011 - Leave a Response

People often ask me why littering is so bad. Sure, it doesn’t look great, and one piece of trash on the side of the road certainly makes it seem okay for others to let that pile get bigger, but what really happens when you make an animal’s home your landfill?

 

Take this beautiful red fox, for example, who was found tangled in twine while trying to jump over a fence, and left dangling for a whole night in 20 degree weather. When she was found, she was nearly dead from the cold.
Every year thousands of animals die from injuries or strangulation by trash. If the Greenwood team hadn’t found her, she would end up just another statistic.

 

She has since been released back into the wild in pristine health, but next time someone asks you about littering, be sure to let them know what’s up.
 

And just look at that face!

-Gracie

What did Earth Hour Do?

April 5, 2011 - Leave a Response

Earth Hour was a huge success nation-wide proving that many people on Earth are ready and willing to work on climate change! Everywhere from the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower to small businesses to people’s houses, lights were turned off! People all around the world saw the effect of 60 minutes of no lights. People everywhere celebrated festivals, gatherings and pledges to live more environmentally friendly.

Powerstream Inc. (a energy company for York Region in Ontario, Canada) calculated a 10% decrease in energy for the area during Earth Hour! In British Colombia they reported a double increase in participation from last year. Yay!

Way to go all of you who participated! I had to work that night but I got my work to turn off the lights for the hour! Leave a comment on how YOU are going beyond the hour!

<3, Chelsea

 

Sydney, Australia before and during Earth Hour

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