Launching Summer Projects: We’re Getting Dirty to Go Clean

Guest post from Matt Kazinka, leader with the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions. Cross posted from WeArePowerShift.org

Sometimes the quickest way to a clean energy economy is to get a little dirty. That’s right, it’s time to get our hands in the dirt and physically build the clean and just energy economy we want. And that’s exactly what young people across the country are doing this summer. We’re stepping up to get our hands dirty creating local clean energy solutions like community gardens, home weatherizations, and clean energy cooperatives.

This summer, youth leaders across the country are launching a host of community-based projects that will revitalize our economy in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner. These projects range widely from building community gardens in Oakland to stopping the construction of a dirty coal plant in Georgia. But they all have one thing in common: DIY. Young people aren’t waiting for the government to act. We are stepping up to show our elected officials that we have the power in our own communities to create what we want and demand that they put dirty politics aside and follow our lead.

Changing the way our policies system works means changing our relationship with our communities. Through these projects, young people are working in partnership with diverse local organizations and coalitions to build the green economy from the ground up. With creativity, collaboration, and hard work, they are demonstrating that there is endless potential for prosperity at our fingertips. This summer, we will pilot ground-breaking strategies for energy efficiency, urban agriculture, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, waste reduction, and green industry.

We want a clean energy economy that supports everyone in a way the dirty energy economy never could. The era of segregated neighborhoods, polluted politics and economic apartheid has been played out. We have inherited deep-seated problems – climate change, political turmoil, social inequities, and economic disparities of mass proportions. Nothing about these challenges is simple, but nothing about them is inevitable, either. We have the power and are creating change.

Young people have a critical role to play in each of our communities. Rather than accepting the worn path into a broken, dirty energy economy, we can carve a new path into a clean energy economy. We can show that true prosperity is found in healthy communities that have thriving ecosystems, equitable relationships, and resilient economies. When we’ve begun to shift the power in all our communities across the country, the national Power Shift will be unstoppable.

It is up to us to prove that the green economy is not only vital, it’s absolutely viable. Join us as we build our future together – starting with this summer, and continuing for the rest of our lives.

Throughout the summer check back at WeArePowerShift.org to hear from the leaders making it happen. There’s already some great video’s from the GELT Project in Detroit and the Summer of Solutions Project in Oakland. Each week, we will feature a profile from each project, community members affected by each project, and a project’s special events or actions. Plus, you’ll get to hear the collective efforts of the effective local, community-based clean economy projects that are willing to get a little dirty to create a clean, just energy future.

Check out the 17 projects happening across the country:

2 Responses to “Launching Summer Projects: We’re Getting Dirty to Go Clean”


  1. 1 Frank Talk Jun 3rd, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Wow – to think it was right in front of us all time. We can end racism, class warfare, and all social ills just by transitioning to a ‘clean energy economy’ – whatever that is. Welcome to Fantasy Island.

  1. 1 Instrumental Groove The Jams! | Voice In The Dark Trackback on Jun 8th, 2011 at 9:16 pm
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About Ethan


Ethan organizes in Houston, Texas with t.e.j.a.s. and Tar Sands Blockade. He is the former Field Director for the Energy Action Coalition and organized in Maryland with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). His strong dedication to nonviolence drives him to oppose the violent impacts of catastrophic climate change on our human communities.

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