Pittsburgh used to be one of the dirtiest cities in the world. With its coal-burning steel plants and petroleum refineries, the air in Pittsburgh was so dirty the street lights often ran during the day! Now, Pittsburgh is changing its reputation. A city once dominated by fossil fuels is now among the leaders in green technologies. Companies formerly dependent on mining and burning coal for energy are now switching to wind and solar power. They still have a way to go, but the results, both environmentally and economically, are starting to show.
Because of its history and its ties to energy (both clean and dirty), Pittsburgh was the site of this year’s Power Shift conference. Ten thousand youth leaders all focused on taking action against global climate change, fracking, Keystone XL and more gathered to hear speeches from Bill McKibben of 350.org, Gasland director/writer Josh Fox, and Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, among others. They also attended seminars, received leadership training and networked with like-minded activists.
The Great March for Climate Action’s own youth leader, Marcher Director Zach Heffernen and a team of hard-working volunteers, recruited 60 new marchers while participating in the conference!
This changes the roster and profile of marchers significantly. Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C. are now represented along with three foreign countries. California was the state with the second most marchers, now they’re in fifth. The bulk of the marchers are now in their twenties.
So our marcher community is now, perhaps, much like Pittsburgh: growing, changing and developing for the better.
-Dave Murphy, Communications Director