City of Ithaca Responds to Youth Demands, Becomes First East Coast City to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Press Release- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4/22/13

Contacts:

For Youth Power Summit: Anna Kucher, Ithaca High School, anna.kucher8@gmail.com / 607-342-3564

For City of Ithaca: Julie Conley Holcomb, City Clerk, julieh@cityofithaca.org/ 607-274-6570

CITY OF ITHACA RESPONDS TO YOUTH DEMANDS, BECOMES FIRST EAST COAST CITY TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS

100 Tompkins County middle school, high school and college students converge for Youth Power Summit 2013, Demand Climate Justice from City of Ithaca on Earth Day

Ithaca, NY – This Earth Day the City of Ithaca, NY has become the first east coast city, and second city in the world to agree to divest its financial holdings in fossil fuels. Ithaca follows the City of Seattle, which agreed to divest earlier this year. Ithaca City Mayor, Svante Myrick, joined forces with student organizers of the Youth Power Summit 2013, a climate justice convergence for over 100 young people ages 16-23 from Tompkins County. On Friday, April 19, 2013 Mayor Myrick met with students to discuss divestment, and agreed to issue a statement from the city on Monday, April 22, 2013 Earth Day.

Today Mayor Myrick replied, “The City of Ithaca does not invest in fossil fuels and I can certainly commit, as long as I am Mayor, to not investing City funds in fossil fuels.”  Mayor Myrick has also agreed to write a letter urging the NY State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, who manages the NY state employee pensions, including the City of Ithaca’s, to divest the NY State Pension fund from fossil fuels and re-invest in socially responsible alternatives.

Gabriel Shapiro, a Junior at Lehman Alternative Community School, responded to the City’s statement. “We’re proud that our Mayor is not only willing to listen to young people’s demands, but to actively support our work. Our generation will disproportionately experience the impacts of climate change–as systematically marginalized communities already are–and we’re excited that Mayor Myrick is willing to give us a seat at the table around decisions that affect us.” The City of Ithaca’s campaign is the first in the country led by high school and college students.

Mayor Myrick also explained his support for youth leadership, “I believe that young people have the creativity, energy, and moral authority that is needed in many of our public debates.  A perfect example is the work this group has done. The commitment these young people have shown to safeguarding our environment should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

On Saturday April 20 through Sunday April 21, 2013, over 100 students converged for the Youth Power Summit 2013 at Ithaca College to develop local strategies for youth climate justice leadership. Summit organizer Jane Whiting, Senior at New Roots Charter School, explained, “We took two days to deeply explore the social roots and social impacts of climate change, and to collaborate with our community to re-center our environmental work around social justice. Divestment is one step toward creating a future that puts equity and justice at the center of our solutions to the climate crisis.”

Organizers hope that the City’s decision will influence divestment campaigns at Cornell University and Ithaca College. Reed Steberger, a State Coordinator with the Green Umbrella – NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future, and a Senior at Cornell said, “President Skorton at Cornell, as well as President Rochon at Ithaca College need to recognize that we are in an urgent crisis that demands immediate action. The City of Ithaca is showing true leadership in response to youth demands, and both universities should follow suit.”

Students also cite the increasing use of direct action for climate justice as a source of inspiration in their work. Anna Kucher, a Sophomore at Ithaca High School said “We’ve been inspired by actions taken by our friends and allies, Sandra Steingraber and Tim DeChristopher, and see our work alongside theirs in a growing national movement. Earth Day is an opportunity to recognize that when we act collectively we are stronger than the fossil fuel companies who hold a tyrannical monopoly over our socioeconomic system and perpetuate deeply rooted systems of oppression. We will take back our future.”

Where will you be Earth Day Weekend?

Youth Power Summit Promo - Front

Register Now for the Youth Power Summit 2013! On site registration is also available.

WHEN: Saturday, April 20th 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 21st 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM

WHERE: Ithaca College Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise.

The Youth Power Summit is the Youth Track of the Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference, a major multi-sector regional initiative under the leadership of Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton aimed at making our communities more climate friendly and climate resilient.

The YPS has partnered with the internationally recognized New Economics Institute to bring in keynotes Juliet Schor, author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth; Lilian Molina, inaugural director of the Environmental Justice Program at the Energy Action Coalition, the hub of the US Youth Climate Justice Movement; and Esteban Kelly, co-founder of the national worker co-op, the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA).

The summit will explore millennials’ leadership in the growing field of “New Economics” and in locally focused, sustainable and anti-oppressive projects in Ithaca and Upstate New York.

Join us on Saturday April 20st from 9:30am – 7:30pm and Sunday April 21st from 9:30am -2:30pm for the Youth Power Summit at the Park Center at Ithaca College! People of all ages interested in the program and/or local youth empowerment are encouraged to attend!

Our Mission:

The Youth Power Summit 2013 is a youth-led project to create a space where young people, students, community members, faculty, and community business leaders will converge to explore the intersectionality of economic, social, and climate justice issues and develop the tools, organizing strategies, and collective frameworks to actively pursue a vision for a just, sustainable, and prosperous community.

We believe that realizing this vision demands genuine systematic transformation that puts freedom from discrimination and equal access to decision-making at the center of equitable and resilient social, economic, and cultural institutions. At the Youth Power Summit, we’re investigating the strategies we need to build this vision in practice through open dialogue, cultivating new connections in our community, and empowering young people to reframe the conversation around climate change so that climate justice is one strategy among many that seek broader and deeper justice in the creation of a sustainable and peaceful world.

 

Ithaca, NY April 20 – 21

REGISTRATION IS LIVE

Register Now for the Youth Power Summit 2013! On site registration is also available.

WHEN: Saturday, April 20th 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 21st 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM

WHERE: Ithaca College Park School of Business.

KEYNOTES ANNOUNCED!

The Youth Power Summit 2013 is excited to announce that we’ve confirmed three incredible speakers for our Saturday morning Keynotes:

Juliet Schor is the Co-Founder and Director of the Center for the New American Dream and is the author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need.

Lilian Molina is a Mestiza Environmental Justice Advocate, youth development expert and community organizer born in Honduras and raised in Chicago. Lilian served as the Inaugural Environmental Justice Director at the Energy Action Coalition.

Esteban Kelly is a co-op organizer, food justice activist, and radical geographer from West Philadelphia who co-founded the worker co-op AORTA – the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance. Esteban also serves on the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability’s Food Policy Advisory Council.

More info at our Keynotes Page!

Youth Power Summit 2013

We are a generation of solutionaries–visionaries, organizers, artists, thinkers, rabble-rousers and regular folks–who are tapping our collective power to create a just and sustainable future that works for everyone. Our generation, the Millennials, is the largest American generation since the baby boomers. And globally, half the world’s population is under 25. We’ve got the numbers, and we’ve got the power to change the world.

That’s why we’re using our power to organize a 2-day summit in Ithaca, NY where we’ll bring together folks from across the region and around NY State to say–our future is here, and we’re not waiting for change. Check out our mission statement, drafted with the input of 30+ young leaders (high school students, college students, non-student youth, and adult allies) from Tompkins and Cortland Counties, NY:

The Youth Power Summit 2013 is a youth-led project to create a space where young people, students, community members, faculty, and community business leaders will converge to explore the intersectionality of economic, social, and climate justice issues and develop the tools, organizing strategies, and collective frameworks to actively pursue a vision for a just, sustainable, and prosperous community.

We believe that realizing this vision demands genuine systematic transformation that puts freedom from discrimination and equal access to decision making at the center of equitable and resilient social, economic, and cultural institutions. At the Youth Power Summit, we’re investigating the strategies we need to build this vision in practice through open dialogue, cultivating new connections in our community, and empowering young people to reframe the conversation around climate change so that climate justice is one strategy among many that seek broader and deeper justice in the creation of a sustainable and peaceful world.

Get signed up for the summit here, on our registration page.

And, follow us on Facebook for the latest on how young people are building solutionary power to change the world.