This is a guest blog post by William Burnett from Boston Latin School. You can read more about William here.
Will, along with 70 of his peer leaders from around the country, made the choice to apply for a full scholarship to PowerShift 2013, the largest convergence of climate-focused youth on the planet. These leaders, fresh out of PowerShift with new skills and ideas for action, are launching and leading climate campaigns in cities around the nation.
In addition to leading a school-based food justice campaign, Will will work with 15 other PowerShift attendees from New England to launch and support a flurry of regional campaigns in 2013-2014 to weatherize homes, cut energy use, and install solar energy.
How Are You Bringing PowerShift Back to Your Region?
Hey ACE Blog-goers! My name is William Burnett and I’m here today to share my experience at PowerShift 2013. First off I want to say that PowerShift is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to go (*cue round of applause for ACE), (I’m not sucking up to them at all psh naw I’m being courteous ok), (but PowerShift 2015 would be really cool to go to), (*hint*).
I was really inspired to go to PowerShift by past experiences with ACE. In 2011 ACE came to my school and gave their signature ACE Presentation, which was amazing and if you haven’t seen it well let me tell you, you’re missing out. I had also been in contact with ACE Leaders through my school’s Climate Action Network BLSYouthCAN. I was even given the opportunity to do a video blog about World Ocean’s Day. However, these small experiences catapulted me straight into PowerShift, which I looked into because I really wanted to dive deeper (oh look Will made a World Ocean’s day pun) and educate myself further on climate change.
At PowerShift there were so many amazing workshops and sessions, all of which gave us something serious to think about. One of my favorite workshops was a workshop on Food Justice where I was able to speak to college students and adults about getting some decent, healthy food into cafeterias like mine. It was really cool to actually meet with people whose ambitions were to come into schools and give them healthier food to eat. Also it was nice to share with them what it was like being on the other side of things and talking to them about what changes really needed to be made in school cafeterias. Also, I attended an amazing workshop on the school to prison pipeline. As a high school student this topic is very close to home for me. I don’t want to see any of my classmates sent to a prison with resources that won’t support them, for doing or saying something off-hand that they don’t really mean, or making a serious mistake that will affect their life later on when they can’t get a job or get into a good college. Both of these workshops were so enlightening and this is only a glimpse of what goes on within the workshops and sessions at PowerShift. I want to take experiences such as these straight back to my community where I can go to adults and officials and use my knowledge to get my people heard and make the world a better place for my generation and generations to follow.
Specifically I would like to go back to my school and community and get us some healthier lunches that taste like real food and look like real food (talk about mystery meat surprise on a bun yeesh). I would also like to go back to my peers and spread the knowledge. My school’s Youth Climate Action Network works hard to give information to our student body about issues such as recycling and lowering our gas emissions by taking public transport, but there are so many more issues to be talked about and being able to give information about these issues to my network and my school is priceless.
In conclusion, PowerShift was one of the most indescribable experiences I have ever had. Sure I can use words like “amazing” and “awe-inspiring” to describe PowerShift but really there are no words for something like PowerShift 2013 (actually awe-inspiring is pretty good yeah I’m gonna go with awe-inspiring). But seriously, PowerShift gave me the chance as a minority in the world of Climate Change to get my voice heard, get my generation’s voice heard, and teach my generation how to use this knowledge to impact our generation and generations to come. Personally, I believe that if you want to open your eyes to the world of Climate Change, PowerShift can give you that opportunity to start thinking, but most importantly start changing.