Bigger than last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference. Bigger than any other citizen powered conference to hit the United States, or perhaps any other country. Bigger than my home town. And it’s all youth. And it’s all about climate change and energy. And it’s all swirling around me as I type.
Power Shift ’09 will officially kick off in 18 minutes when 12,000 youth come together in one conference hall. When 12,000 youth – from every corner of America, as well as young leaders trickling in from neighboring Canada, overseas India, and various corners of the globe – come within inches of each others’ shoulders. When 12,00 youth breath the same air, hear the same words, and feel the same surge of a power shift that has already begun.
The New York Times and interviews with CNN were a nice touch after breakfast for the team here that has clearly put their blood, sweat and tears – and not to mention their hearts, souls and sleepless nights – into creating what is truly a historic national youth summit.
Droves of students piled off buses. The job fair hummed all afternoon. The t-shirt pile slowly but steadily shrunk from towers to table tops. Radios constantly attached to the hips of organizers. Dozens of instances of meeting the once-faceless names that grace email inboxes. Spontaneous cheers echoing through the halls. Infinite embraces of reunion.
12,000 motivated young individuals.
12,000 people who know we have one option of opportunity.