This Thanksgiving, leaders in the youth climate movement have much more to celebrate than our tofurkey dinners. On the heels of the President's encouraging announcement that he will attend the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen on Dec. 9, dozens of us also received an invitation to the Obama Administration's first-ever Youth Clean Energy Forum.
The event will be hosted at the White House on Wednesday from 4 - 7pm EST, and will also be webcast to young people across the country at: www.whitehouse.gov/live.
The membership of the Energy Action Coalition's partner organizations are honored that President Obama and his team have heard our actions loud and clear this year in the creation of this forum. We're excited to embrace this opportunity as a dialogue that can yield substantial, bold results in a timely manner.
The forum will take place in less than one week, and we want to make sure that you have a chance to contribute to the conversation. If you'd like us to ask a question at the meeting on your behalf, just send us a tweet @powershift09 and add the hashtag #ClimateQs. We will do our best to incorporate your perspectives into the day's events. (New to Twitter hashtags? Here's a great article explaining how it works.)
This meeting and Obama's presence in Copenhagen won't guarantee all the solutions we need, but these announcements do show that the power and voices of young people are being heard inside the walls of the White House. Our work - our phone calls, texts, tweets and social media updates to the White House for the "It's Game Time, Obama!" initiative, our meetings with Senators, our days of action and Power Shift summits in DC and around the nation - is paying off.
This is a tremendous position in which to begin a new era, a new decade in 2010 in which the young people who will bear the brunt of the decisions we make right now can be a part of shaping our own destiny. We need the vision and hope that inspired us as we went to the voting booths last November. It was the same ambition that put a man on the moon and the dedication that drove the Civil Rights Movement. We need a binding international treaty with clear, science-based targets that will not only immediately and dramatically reduce global warming emissions, but usher in a new, prosperous and innovative clean energy economy.
Fortunately, we know we have that kind of leadership available to us because we've seen it in action. As our barrier-breaking President taught us so aptly: It's within ourselves.
Follow Jessy Tolkan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessytolkan