The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Mini-Grants Recap: Powershift - Putting a Face to the Environmental Movement

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Powershifters asking for peace

This opportunity was funded by the Rockefeller Mini-Grants Program. For more information, please click here.

Held on from October 18th to the 21st, Powershift put a face to the environmental movement. It's not about saving the polar bears for me anymore, it's about stopping our obsession with consuming fracked fuels that are polluting the lands of Candi and her tribe in North Dakota, making the air unbreathable and the land toxic. It's about the women in Tanzania who spend 50% of their income on fuel for cooking because deforestation has hiked up the prices and they have no alternatives to turn to. 

The environmental movement is a social justice movement wrapped up in sustainability and we have to adapt to lead lives that are both sustainable for the environment and for all humans on earth. That's a huge undertaking so we have to start small. At Powershift I met students from all over the country who where focusing on small movements within their communities. There was the group that was working in a community of color in upstate New York to ameliorate the environmental injustice faced by the community of the huge number of fuel trucks roaring through their town every day. I also attended a session for students in the Northeast focused on the Portland-Montreal pipeline and the actions we could take to prevent the flow reversal of the pipeline to transport raw bitumen from Montreal to Portland. At Powershift, we pieced all of the smaller bits of environmental projects into the larger puzzle of the environmental movement. I felt empowered and amazed at just how real this movement is. Change is happening and it's happening now. 

When we returned to campus we worked with the Office of Sustainability to post a blog to share our story with the greater campus community. We also presented our experience to Green Groups Directorate as well as to several campus clubs including Dartmouth Coalition for Climate Control and Dartmouth Ecovores.

--Rachel Margolese '16, Guest Writer

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