Thursday, December 4, 2008

My blog post for SustainUS

This blog post is crosslisted on check out blogging updates from all of the SustainUS crew throughout COP-14

Tonight at COP-14 the International Youth Delegation will have its first official UNFCC side event. The event will be used to highlight some actions international youth are taking at home. So in the spirit of that I'd like to talk about how where I'm from has much to do about why I'm in Poznan.

On my first conference call with SustainUS, I was pretty intimidated by the international experience and incredible work of my fellow Agents of Change in SustainUS, especially considering this is my first time out of the states. This is only to highlight how world-class my fellow organizers are and how global their reach.

I'm from Oklahoma. Which as of November 4th, is the reddest, most conservative state in the US (take that Utah!). It's the home of Senator James Inhofe who has called climate change “the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people” and has likened a re energized environmental movement to the Third Reich. Like other areas in the US, organizing in Oklahoma at times feels like a very lonely island.

But its also home to one of the only (if not THE only, correct me if I'm wrong) successful US campaigns to stop a nuclear power plant (Blackfoot Nuclear Power Plant outside Inola, OK) and a recent successful campaign to stop a coal-fired power plant that resulted in a decision by a big Oklahoma electricity provider to quadruple their wind development in the state. It boasts a food co-op that has become a national model and a sustainability network involving communities from over 10 of Oklahoma's largest communities (founded by Emily McCauley former leader in the Sierra Student Coalition).

Building a youth movement and network in Oklahoma is underway. In November, over 40 high school students gathered for ReEnergize Oklahoma to start this process. In addition, planning is underway for major lobbying efforts during the legislative session. An energetic and inspiring base of students is leading the charge.

The hope, energy, positive actions and solidarity that can be found in Oklahoma and other incredible local, state, regional and national networks is with us here in Poznan. I realize how much of an opportunity it is to be here and I feel responsible to all of the amazing people I've met through organizing to represent a re energized America at COP-14. SustianUS is working diligently to ensure that the actual US domestic position on climate change and clean energy is felt by the world in Poland, not a dead-duck administration's.

The election in November showed the power of youth in America and our ability to create real change. Know that your US youth delegation is here in Poznan working proudly and tirelessly to represent your efforts to create a just, equitable, and sustainable world to this beautiful global community. Thanks for this opportunity!

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