The Skywriter

Meet your 1Sky organizers: Lauren in NY

4
Feb

Meet your 1Sky organizers: Lauren in NY

The following comes to us from Lauren Shuster, a 1Sky organizer in NY. -- Luis

My name is Lauren Schuster and I am the 1Sky organizer and environmental campaign coordinator with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). NYPIRG is New York State’s largest social justice organization with offices at 21 college campuses across the state. We have a long history of working on environmental issues at the City and State level and we’re very excited to partner with 1Sky and join the fight against global warming on the federal level.

We are a student-directed organization, so we have our finger on the pulse of the next generation of activists. They understand that our future is theirs to protect and they have made it clear that they want global warming solutions today. With a keen understanding of the historic role that young people played in the presidential election, our students have a sense of political empowerment that is driving them to demand more from their government. They are ready to cash in on campaign promises and use their newly found political power to demand a new, green economy.

The concept of a “green economy” is new for a lot people; they don’t necessarily understand the connection between climate solutions and the economy. A lot of the people I talk to think of global warming as a “luxury” issue. They reason that with the flailing economy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that global warming and the environment can wait until we work everything else out. 1Sky has become the vehicle to deliver the message that the environment, national security, foreign policy, and the economy are not mutually exclusive. 1Sky and its allies send a resounding message that saving the planet from global warming will ensure that we are safer, more globally competitive, and more stable economically.

NYPIRG is really excited about becoming a part of the coalition! Our first event, the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions, will be held on Thursday (tomorrow), February 5. NYPIRG is hosting the teach-in at 18 of its college campus chapters located across New York State. As some of you may already know, the teach-in is part of a nationwide initiative that will bring together millions of students from hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to engage in an intergenerational dialogue with faculty, community leaders, and elected officials on the need for immediate federal global warming solutions.

NYPIRG is using the teach-in as an opportunity to formally introduce the 1Sky campaign to its chapter members and the general public. Leading up to the teach-in, we’ve been tabling at all of our campuses to recruit citizen activists and climate precinct captains. In true NYPIRG form, our campuses have gone all out for the event; some have even recruited students to dress up as polar bears in military uniforms -- think polar bears fight back -- to hype up the event. We anticipate a huge turnout and lots of fun. We plan on wrapping up by working with the students to develop a massive letter-writing campaign. We’re going to focus on New York State senators and urge them to green the stimulus package. Also, we’re recording our teach-ins, so as soon as we get copies, I’ll be sure to post links to them.

After the teach-in, our students have their sights set on Power Shift 2009. The excitement on campus surrounding Power Shift is palpable and many students have already expressed a desire to attend. Our campus staff is working tirelessly to help students organize and coordinate to share costs wherever possible. We hope to have a strong NYPIRG presence at Power Shift!

NYPIRG’s student-activists will inherit our success. There is no greater motivator for us than that. With them in mind, NYPIRG will build a NY network as robust, relentless, and diverse as is the City of New York.

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