The world is running out of time to summon the political will necessary to solve the climate crisis.
2015 looms large as a critical year when we must act swiftly and strongly if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees C, let alone get back to the 350 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 that scientists say is necessary.
The Rio+20 Earth Summit in June of 2012 was meant to be the starting point for a three year push to 2015, but the summit ended in a whimper rather than a bang. 2015 will come and go with only a whimper as well, unless the international climate movement can generate an unprecedented level of political pressure for climate action.
We need a massive and sustained show of force that disrupts the status quo and captures the public imagination. This ambitious goal is within reach. With a loose collection of organizations, activists, and networks in nearly every country on earth, the climate movement has the necessary potential to facilitate this sort of global groundswell. Now it’s time for us to realize this potential.
Global Power Shift (GPS) began with an international climate leaders summit of mostly young people in Istanbul, Turkey, June 24-30, 2013. The week-long summit was the chance for us to refine skills, create personal bonds and community, share a global vision for change, and strategize how to organize different actions and similar summits back home. Then, in country after country the summit attendees organized national or regional summits.
Depending on the size of the host country, the summits brought together anywhere between hundreds or thousands of activists and partners. The national summits were opportunities to build on or launch national climate campaigns and to empower participants from around the country to return home equipped to lead local action groups. Local groups in turn educated the public about the realities and solutions to climate change, implement solutions projects and campaigns, and recruit for mass global action leading into 2014 and 2015.
History of Power Shift
National Power Shifts and similar summits by different names are already scaling up the climate movement in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, across Europe, Africa, India, Japan, and South Asia. The first ever Power Shift, organized by the Energy Action Coalition, was held in the United States in 2007. It brought together nearly 6,000 young people from around the country for trainings and included a lobby day on capitol hill. The second US summit was held in 2009, and by 2011 over 10,000 activists came together for the third. For more information or to get involved, visit wearepowershift.org. Meanwhile the idea began to spark internationally in 2009 as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition led their own Power Shift and were soon followed by the Badlaav conference in India led by the Indian Youth Climate Network, UK Power Shift led by the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition, and Canada Power Shift led by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. By 2010, Power Shift also began to spread across more of Europe as European youth coordinated themselves to support ongoing national efforts across the region: http://powershifteurope.eu. In 2012, the momentum continues with Power Shifts in Sweden, Ukraine, Canada, Belgium, and New Zealand. GPS in 2013 was an unprecedented chance for us to all come together, learn, share, strategize, bond, celebrate, and collectively take the movement to the next level all around the globe.
About the Team
Global Power Shift was initiated and is being led by 350.org, a youth-led network co-founded by environmental writer Bill McKibben. We teamed up with a wide range of friends and allies (listed below) from across the international youth climate movement and climate movement more broadly to prepare for the global kickoff event in Istanbul, Turkey in June of 2013, and also to spark rolling national Power Shift events and new campaign mobilizations around the world throughout 2013 and 2014.
Friends and allies