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Our Decade: Why Millennials Must Build A Clean Energy Economy

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It's the day after MLK Day, and the eve of Obama's inauguration.

Putting people to work building a clean energy economy has the potential to secure our generation's future, simultaneously solving both our economic and environmental crises. In light of insufficient progress on national policy to spur this sort of development, it's clear that our generation needs to stop and reflect on our path moving forward. What's our role in creating the clean energy economy, and why are we waiting on the Senate? Let's create a vision for the decade on our own terms, absent of the so-called "political realities" in Washington, and move towards building it!

In this decade, the Millennial generation will come to power, becoming the largest voting constituency and entering the workforce. We have the power to define our decade, so how do we want to define it?

We need a generation wide discussion and vision. A vision built from the ground-up with the numbers to stand behind it to make it powerful.

How do we want this decade to be defined? What should our political objectives be to achieve this, and perhaps more importantly what are we -- collectively -- ready to work towards and achieve in the next ten years.

From the beginning we've believed that we could be the power shift that we wanted to see, that power shift wasn't just a name of a campaign, it was a representation of who we are and what we stand for; that by simultaneously working on community empowerment and clean energy development we could bring about a power shift both literally and figuratively.

If we do that, we can define this decade. In fact, perhaps we already have without knowing it. Will we continue to define our decade with action like Southwestern University did when under student urging, it committed to 100% clean energy. Will we continue to define the decade by kicking coal off our campuses, like Cornell University announced it would last week.

Coming off of MLK Day, and on the eve of President Obama's inauguration, this an important time for this reflection and declaration of self (movement)-ambition. In progressive circles around the country, it's becoming clear that we have to dig deeper into how change is actually made. It doesn't start with our political representatives, it starts with us, with the people who elect them. Developing a national vision and hosting a national youth vote (like the Aussies did) could be our first opportunity to go BIG, and put us on the road to going even bigger.

A number of us, members of the Energy Action Coalition, leaders of youth networks across the country, and grassroots activists across the country have been kicking around the discussion about how we would like to define this decade, and how we think we could go about doing it. The conversation has only only begun and we want to open it up to a broader group of people. This Wednesday, January 20th, at 9 ET we'll be hosting a conference call for people to share their thoughts on how they think we should define our decade, and how we can engage the broader movement in this discussion. Join this Facebook event to RSVP and receive call-in info.

In the next couple of weeks, our elected representatives will be making their own efforts to define this decade. This week Senator Murkowski will push forward an initiative to rollback the Clean Air Act, which will threaten our ability to rein in global warming pollution and protect our communities. On the 27th, we'll be listening for President Obama to speak to his commitment to addressing our economic and environmental woes with investment in a new green economy during his State of the Union Address. These are critical moments to have our voices heard and to leverage our power, so let's definitely do that.

And let's do it defiantly and forcefully, so that we aren't distracted from our important work: defining the decade on our own terms, based on our own generation and communities needs and aspirations. Let's not get downtrodden when President Obama doesn't offer us everything we need in his address - let's move forward confidently understanding that change never comes from the top; understanding the political limitations he is under in a system that favors polluters and corporations; and understanding that as a generation we are setting out to do nothing short of re-defining that system to deliver us the change we need.

So hop on the call and become apart of defining our decade - the future needs your inspiration, your passion, and your commitment.

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