Powershift '09 As Experienced Via Crowded Metro Train
So there's this youth climate change conference in DC this weekend, Power Shift '09, and it's a big deal. Scratch those images of church basements: there are more than 10,000 people (mostly college and high school students) at the DC Convention Center, making it easily "the largest gathering of citizens fighting for a clean energy future in United States history."
You can follow it all on the conference's blog, of course. They've got some big insider names appearing -- Lisa Jackson, Ken Salazar and Nancy Pelosi -- which makes me a bit worried on the co-optation front; I hope they know what they're doing.
But looking through the full list of participants and activities makes me optimistic that they do have a more radical understanding. A large demonstrations and civil disobedience action on Monday, for example, will target a local coal power plant in the middle of DC. And the Energy Action Coalition, the umbrella group that has been built in the last few years and is sponsoring the conference, has the support and participation of some more radical groups.
I got a taste of the conference last night, riding the Metro home from Farragut; the train was packed with folks who were clearly conference people. Well, many of them were, at least.
Me: Hey, did you go to the conference?! How is it?
Guy with big backpack: Yeah, it's great!
Me: You went to the conference too?!
Guy with nice pants and buttoned-down shirt: Yeah!
Me: So it went all day until 10:30pm?
Guy with nice pants and buttoned-down shirt: Well, it depends which banquets you went to.
Me, starting to be a bit confused about 'banquets' at the conference: Ahh.
Guy with nice pants and buttoned-down shirt: Yeah, and Limbaugh is speaking tomorrow!
Doh! He was going to the other conference, CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).
Luckily, conservative dude got off at the next stop, revealing that none other than my cousin was standing just a few feet beyond him. And then, waving through the window from the next car was the friend and conference attendee who was going to be crashing at my place. Ahh, it was the Metro train with everyone and their mothers. Minus the mothers.