There are massive differences between how young people in the United States and around the world have organized in response to the climate crisis and the traditional environmental and political organizations focused on energy and environmental challenges. These include the elevation of unity as a goal, as well as a means to accomplishing political action on climate. The Energy Action Coalition is a testament to this mentality, with 50 organizations ranging from traditional environmental youth groups to environmental justice groups to political empowerment organizations all banding together in a joint campaign – including joint fundraising and targeting. This is something that no-one is expecting from any of the major environmental organizations, to submit to a consensus based, joint funding effort with all organizations from all political angles pitching in together.
Online, It’s Getting Hot in Here is another testament to the diversity of the youth climate movement, bringing together voices from all across the political spectrum, from radical direct action activists who don’t really like infrastructure, to young policy wonks able to bring expertise to exact provisions of the 1,400+ Waxman-Markey Bill. This blog features youth leaders from organizations even further flung, including the Indian Youth Climate Network, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and newer organizations like Grand Aspirations or the Alliance for Climate Education. We together pool our opinions, our voices, our analysis through one outlet, this site, to reach our audience – the youth climate movement. We don’t agree with each other, a lot, but we work together because together we are the largest youth blog on any social issue in the world. That is our strength. It may also be our weakness, or at least Joe Romm thinks so.
Joe Romm is a blogger that Rolling Stone called “America’s fiercest climate-change activist-blogger“. He writes the largest climate blog in the world and he is a sharp analyst that has written posts that have been invaluable to me as I desperately try and track the legislation, studies, and incessant lobbying that swirls around the climate policy world. However, he just wrote a piece attacking our “otherwise fine blog” as serving as a platform for The Breakthrough Institute’s anti-climate disinformation. Particularly, he singled out Jesse Jenkins, one of our most prolific bloggers and contributing editors.
Joe Romm is involved in a public feud with Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute, a feud that has its origins in media grandstanding, antagonistic policy analysis, and rapid fire barrage of critical blog posts. Generally, I use Joe’s numbers and analysis more frequently than I use Breakthrough’s, but it has gotten so bitter that he accuses them of being anti-action on climate and bad actors pretending to be on the side of climate solutions. Over a year ago, I wrote an article “Give Me A Break“, about how our role is creating solutions, not just arguing over policy and that we can be climate solutions in transformative ways. Well, as young people, we do things differently.
I don’t always agree with Jesse’s analysis, but I know to my bones that he is dedicated to climate solutions and so is every one of the Breakthrough Generation fellows at the Breakthrough institute that are actually providing the intellectual heft. Shellenberger may advocate for overly weak solutions, but so does Waxman-Markey and it is the simple but damning truth. It isn’t enough and we all know it. What interests me are the ideas and solutions developed by the young climate leaders at all the organizations across the country. So, I say, keep ‘em coming and lets make this bill stronger. We got a bigger planet to keep from frying.