For the last few months, as a fellow at the Energy Action Coalition, I’ve been working with partners, state networks and youth leaders to collaboratively design campaigns. As someone active with the Sierra Student Coalition and previously involved with state networks, I know how powerful it can be to put young, energetic leaders in the drivers seat.
Define Our Decade came as a result of these discussions with leaders all across the country. In the wake of Copenhagen, and in light of a lack of ambition in Congress, we asked ourselves what could we do together. Through conference calls, chat rooms and surveys it became clear that what we needed to do was define our decade on our own terms and use the great work happening on campuses and communities across the country to demonstrate solutions and get our leaders to follow suit: what we wound up with was hundreds of communities articulating their vision for the decade, and thousands more rallying around a nationwide call for 100% clean electricity by 2020, and in just this week their will be over 25 meetings with elected leaders to declare this vision.
Building off of this, and with anticipation building around the midterm elections, it’s time to build an electoral campaign in the same way. A campaign that is empowering to all its participants; a campaign that builds power behind local issues and solutions that can make real change, demonstrates to our leaders the possibilities of a clean energy economy, and that the Millennial generation is determined to make those possibilities a reality.
We all know that elections are crucial opportunities to make change, especially for young people; it’s our opportunity to demonstrate our political power, project our voices into the political discussion and broadcast our vision as a generation. We also know that elections are only one stage in the political cycle and social change process, and that the day after election day we’ll have to get to work holding our elected leaders accountable and continuing to make change.
So how can we do this? In the next couple of weeks we’ll have hundreds of “one-on-ones” together, discuss how to engage in the elections as state networks and organizations, and then report-back to one another on our discussions so that we can determine the best ways to coordinate and support one another. Already some of these discussions have been happening, and it’s exciting to see the results. Young people in Vermont are going to use the elections to advance their Race to Replace Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant with 100% Clean Energy and the Ohio Student Network is already running an election campaign to Make Green a Primary Color. I’m excited to participate in the Maryland Student Climate Coalition planning session next week, and create bold plans to move our state forward as a leader in the clean energy future.
But let’s not wait to get the discussion going. Comment on this post with what you think is critical for a successful electoral campaign – don’t be afraid to think BIG.
- What issues or campaigns are you excited to bring into the electoral discussion this fall?
- Why do you think state networks are important to this discussion (I’ll be writing more on my thoughts shortly and would love to include yours)?
- What electoral campaigns have you seen as most successful? How could we follow their lead?
Do you have a State Network call scheduled to discuss this? Leave a comment and let people know about it, and we’ll add it to this page. Also on this page is some guiding questions and a feedback form that you can submit so that you can be apart of building this campaign.