Students seek to shift the power on climate change
Robin Tress - October 24, 2012
This weekend, more than 65 Dal students will be making the trek to PowerShift, a youth-led climate conference in Ottawa.
“PowerShift is about shifting political and social power from elites and the super-rich back to the everyday people of this country,” says Dalhousie student Hilary Thomson. “The reason we haven’t seen real action on climate change is because the people who are impacted by climate change haven’t had a chance to have their voices heard.”
The conference will include skill-building workshops, discussion panels and a day of action. PowerShift’s goal is to kickstart social movements modeled on successes of the past, with the students involved citing the civil rights movement and the more recent Keystone XL pipeline protests.
Dalhousie students have been working hard to spread the word across campus with class talks, posters, info sessions, and fundraisers. They’re excited that Dal is on its way to taking huge strides towards the school’s sustainability, and want to help take those efforts even further.
The issue of university and college investment in fossil fuels has become the focus of many student and climate change activists’ warnings lately. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, wrote on the subject in Rolling Stone this summer: “[Students'] educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won't have much of a planet on which to make use of their degree.”
While PowerShift is directed at youth, Dalhousie profs are excited by this conference, too. Professor Bob Huish, International Development Studies professor, of will be leading a workshop at PowerShift, and is excited that this youth-led movement could spur a radical change in our country’s government.
“The old guard doesn’t want to sequester power to new generation, but that’s what we need to have new, innovative, and bold ideas to come forward,” he says. “That’s long overdue in this country.”
The 65 Dalhousie students will travel to Ottawa next Friday with more than 20 other Maritimers, and spend the weekend discussing climate issues and impacts with 600 other young people from across the country.
Visit wearepowershift.ca for more information.