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Global Power Shift Aims at Creating a Global Youth Climate Movement
After a historic conference in Istanbul, the campaign enters Phase 2
Five hundred young climate activists from more than 130 countries gathered in Istanbul, Turkey this past June for the first ever Global Power Shift summit, a historic week-long conference dedicated to building a global youth movement to solve the climate crisis.
Convened by the international climate campaign 350.org, Global Power Shift trained participants in a variety of skills that would help them create change at home, including online organizing, campaign planning, and communications. Throughout the week, activists gathered in national and regional groups to set ambitious organizing plans for the months to come.
Now, those plans are beginning to come to fruition.
Plans are already underway for major Power Shift summits and mobilizations in countries like the United States, Poland, Indonesia and Australia. In dozens more countries, activists are busy preparing for actions, protests, and campaigns that will continue over the coming months. 350.org is offering a set of free web tools designed to support country teams around the world as they work towards empowering the global climate movement.
It is the first time that young people have coordinated an ongoing environmental campaign on such a global scale. While 350.org has organized multiple days of events in the past — CNN called the organization’s 2009 mobilization “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history” — it has never helped coordinate such a sophisticated project.
Organizers are anticipating powerful results. As climate politics heat up in key countries like the United States and the United Nations climate talks look to finalize a new global climate deal in 2015, young people are positioning themselves to play an active role in driving change.
Global Power Shift Climate Summit Begins in Istanbul, Turkey
Over 500 young activists from 134 countries have come together to discuss how to build a global movement to solve the climate crisis
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres will address Global Power Shift on Thursday, June 27
ISTANBUL, June 25th 2013 — Five hundred young people from 134 countries around the world arrived in Istanbul, Turkey today for the first ever Global Power Shift, a summit dedicated to building a global movement to solve the climate crisis.
Global Power Shift is being convened by 350.org, an international climate campaign that has organized over 20,000 climate demonstrations worldwide, and a coalition of partners including Avaaz, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, Jubilee South, numerous youth climate groups, and many more. The conference is being hosted at Istanbul Technical University, who generously provided space for the events.
“We’re here to build the political will necessary to secure the type of bold, international climate action the world so desperately needs,” said May Boeve, the 29-year old Executive Director of 350.org. “When they leave Global Power Shift, the 500 young people who attended this summit will be heading home with the skills, tools, and connections necessary to inspire millions more to join this movement.”
The Global Power Shift summit comes at a time when climate change is increasingly back in the international spotlight. This Tuesday, President Obama will deliver a major climate speech in Washington, DC to call for more national and global action to address the climate crisis. On Thursday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, will address the Global Power Shift summit in Istanbul and highlight the critical role young people can play in securing an international climate agreement.
“We are fast approaching 2015, the year in which governments have to reach a new climate change agreement that guides the longer-term international response to climate change,” said Secretary Figueres in advance of her address. “This longer-term response will affect generations to come, which is why it is critical for the voice of youth to be heard now. The Global Power Shift movement must spread across the globe, helping build momentum for the decisions that will protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change, generate a strong green economy and safeguard the planet we have borrowed from our children.”
Many of the attendees at Global Power Shift are already leaders of youth movements in their home countries. Participants include activists fighting coal plants in the Philippines, islanders raising awareness about sea-level rise in the Pacific, Kenyan youth working for sustainable development across Africa, and student activists leading a new, fossil fuel divestment movement in the United States.
“This is the first time in my life that I have attended such a global, international and multicultural conference,” said Gunay Sadikhov, a 23-year old activist from Azerbaijan. “Global Power Shift gives us a chance to talk, work and move all together. That is a real power.”
The workshops at Global Power Shift will train participants in campaign strategy, online organizing, communications, and public mobilization. The workshops are being led by seasoned activists behind some of the past decade’s most successful environmental and social justice campaigns.
“We’re here to catalyze, build something new together, something bigger, bolder and stronger than anything that any of us has done before,” said Navina Khanna an activist from the United States who is helping coordinate Global Power Shift.
Global Power Shift was inspired by a series of national Power Shift summits that have taken place over the last five years in the United States, Europe, and Australia. After this week’s summit in Istanbul, participants will head home to organize their own national Power Shift summits, mobilizations, and campaigns around the world. Plans are already underway for 10,000 person U.S. Power Shift in Pittsburgh this October.
350.org is named after what scientists believe is the safe atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, 350 parts per million. Earlier this spring, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere past 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years. 350.org works with grassroots groups in over 189 countries to build a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Over the past four years, the campaign has coordinated over 20,000 climate demonstrations around the world. 350.org founder Bill McKibben is a well-known U.S. writer and environmentalist.
Global Power Shift Participants
For a full list of Global Power Shift participants from individual countries, please contact 350.org staff. Participants include young leaders like:
- Thiago Mundano is a 27-year old street artist from São Paulo, working with waste pickers, with his Pimp my Carroça Project. His critical work questioning Brazilian environmental and social policies can be seen in Brazilian cities.
- Gaby Kabue is a lawyer and environmental activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is working with grassroots communities and local networks on forests and human rights issues.
- Christina Ora is a 19-year old climate activist from the Solomon Islands who addressed the UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen on behalf of world youth in 2009.