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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Youth Environmental Conference Comes to Pittsburgh

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

An expected 10,000 young activists from around the U.S. will visit Pittsburgh this weekend for this biannual gathering on environmental and social justice.

Power Shift is organized by the Energy Action Coalition, which consists of the youth arms of some 30 organizations, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

“Youth” means college age and younger, but everyone is welcome to attend the four-day slate http://www.wearepowershift.org/program/agenda of talks — by prominent folks like Bill McKibben, of 350.org, and Gasland director Josh Fox — plus workshops, activist training and even night-time concerts by nationally known musicians.

The conference runs Friday through Monday, when it closes with a rally and march.

It's the first time Power Shift has taken place outside Washington, D.C. EAC's Whit Jones says Pittsburgh was considered ideal partly because of its proximity to so many destructive energy practices, including fracking for natural gas and mountaintop-removal coal mining.

Registration is $80 for youth and students, $100 for “young professionals” and $150 for “movement supporters,” but full and partial scholarships are available. Online registration is closed, but you can register on-site at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The conference covers a range of environmental issues, including fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline and divestment, but is heavily concerned with issues relating to climate change.

Other speakers include Sierra Club director Mike Brune; Kim Wasserman, who successfully worked to retire two dirty coal plants in Chicago; Kandi Mossett, a Tribal Campus Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network; youth immigration activist Hareth Andrade; and Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bill Peduto.

Performers include Big K.R.I.T., Idle Warship (Talib Kweli and Res), Spank Rock, Nosaj Thing and Ninjasonik. For a complete list, see here.

The concluding March for a Green Economy stars at 10 a.m. Monday with a rally at Allegheny Landing Park, located on the Allegheny River between the Sixth and Seventh Street bridges, on the North Side.

The Energy Action Coalition's Jones tells CP that the march, which begins at 11 a.m., will proceed to Oakland, stopping along the way at sites of corporations who support especially destructive fossil-fuel extraction (including PNC, for its backing of mountaintop-removal coal mining) and other peaceful-protest targets.

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