Matthew Petty and students headed to Power Shift ’09

Later this month, youth leaders from around the world are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the Power Shift ’09 conference to “demand that the President and Congress rebuild our economy and reclaim our future by passing bold, just climate and energy policy that prioritizes renewable energy and green jobs.”

Fayetteville Alderman Matthew Petty is attending and he’s taking two local students with him.

“I’m putting my action where my mouth is, and I’m taking two students from Fayetteville High School and their service learning instructor with me,” states Petty on his website.

Petty is asking for donations to help raise the money needed to fully fund the trip.

We asked Matthew to give us a quick write-up to further explain:

It’s time for a power shift.

by: Matthew Petty

I’ve been a full-time advocate for progressive initiatives for two years now. My focus primarily has been on clean energy and green jobs, but I dabble in other things, too. Usually advocacy work is exhilarating but very frustrating; that’s changing. Never have I been more excited, and never have I been able to say this before…

We. are. winning.

But! Knowing that is only half the battle.

Our perspective

The world is changing, and we’re seeing a shift take place that is unlike anything that has come before. It’s easy to see this shift from many different perspectives. Take technology: my generation – people in their 20’s and 30’s – are so accustomed to being connected, we think having a slow internet connection is a bad day. We think to ourselves, “Why look for something when Google has already found it?” But we can still remember a time when we didn’t have that connectivity (going back to the Nintendo and Atari days), we can still remember when things were “normal.” That’s not the case for the youngest of us; they will never experience a society that isn’t so connected.

This leads to some interesting results. Kids these days don’t do research for results or for homework (indeed, real research is rarely taught in public schools), we do research for fun. This has made us more aware than ever of the rest of the world, and we identify more with our peers from around the globe than we do with older people from our own countries. When it comes to money, we are more concerned with doing the right thing than we are with short-term profits, precisely because our awareness has grown and we acknowledge our responsibility as global citizens to protect others, including future generations.

We’re tuning in, turning on, and taking over. There are 96 million American young people in my generation, and that’s 20 million more than the baby boomers! Thankfully, we are inspired to serve, and we aren’t letting entrenched interests get in our way. It makes for righteous times, and the paradigm shift we have all been waiting for is finally happening.

Act locally

But it’s just getting started, and there is a lot of work left to do. The effort to complete this shift will be carried out by local leaders, and it’s important to realize they will leverage their connectivity in a collaborative effort, making life better for everyone.

And that’s why I need your help.

I’m traveling to Washington DC next week, but instead of just going to a conference and coming back to tell everyone how cool it was, I’m putting my action where my mouth is. I’m taking two students from Fayetteville High School and a service learning instructor with me.

The conference is called Powershift, and it is going to be historic. For three days, our group will explore the social ramifications – and solutions – of climate change. For three days, our group will receive organizing and lobbying training from the best minds in the biz. We will spend time on the Hill lobbying Arkansas Congressmen and Senators, rallying in the Lawn, and we might even throw in some civil disobedience at the capitol coal plant on the last day.

And after three days? We’ll bring it all back with us to Fayetteville. We’ve seen successful climate action here before, but nothing like the action we’ve been brainstorming for the next year when we get back.

And this is just the beginning.

We need you to help create this power shift. Specifically, we still need to raise $550 to fully fund our trip. Will you help by donating $100 (or more, or less)? It’s tax-deductible. You can use the link on the right-hand side of this page, or use my contact form to get more information.

For more information, contact Matthew Petty at matt(at)matthewpetty(dot)org or call 479 871 9212.