Last weekend, Jumpstart Ford Organizers, Nile Malloy and Mike Hudema facilitated two non-violent direct action (NVDA) and corporate campaign strategy trainings at The Midwest Student Clean Energy Conference. The conference was sponsored by Energy Action, Global Exchange, Student PIRGS, Sierra Student Coalition and the Apollo Alliance, and brought together over 300 students from across the region to talk about energy issues, oil impacts on affected communities, threats posed by global warming, organizing skills, and how we can all take action for a clean energy future today.
Speaking of taking action, the trainings had over 150 attendees and at least 40 college and high school students who will be joining us for our April 1st Fossil Fools Day Actions. We got great feedback from our role-playing, chants, historical reflection and other activities during the NVDA training and equally got a great response from our corporate campaigning strategy that featured great tactics that college students can take on campus. Mike and I offered some stories about our activist experiences, political theatre and organizing lessons and learned a lot about the power of the creative spirit in the youth clean energy movement.
Besides all the amazing trainings their were three keynote speakers: Sowore Omeyele, a Nigerian Activist, offered a critical analysis of human rights and environmental impacts in the Niger Delta; Steve Kretzman, Executive Director of Oil Change International, discussed the chain of oil destruction and political work behind the Separation of Oil and State; and Joel Rogers co-founder of the Apollo Alliance highlighted the coalition efforts of the Apollo plan to create millions of green jobs. The combination of each of the speeches and all of the trainings shows me that there is hope among some alliances that are coming together as we work for a more ecological and socially just world. How do you think non-violent direct action can be a useful tool to make an ecological change for the health of the planet?