Power to the People

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins | CEO, Green For All It’s time to take power back from the polluters. That was my message at the beginning of Earth Week, as I wrote about my moving experience at Power Shift 2011. I was proud to join thousands of energized and passionate young leaders who have committed themselves to shaping a green future in their own neighborhoods. This week, I’ve traveled all across the country and have seen this commitment in action. It’s been an amazing experience to watch people take back power in their own unique ways. On Wednesday, I witnessed the power of education. I spoke at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies where students are preparing themselves to be transformative environmental advocates. On Thursday, I felt the power of community and volunteerism in Atlanta. Green For All partnered with the Ludacris Foundation, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and local leaders to plant a rain garden and teach elementary school students how to be green at school and at home. And today, I recognize the power of culture to change minds and hearts; tonight marks the end of the Campus Consciousness Tour. Green For All has been proud to work with hip-hop superstar Wiz Khalifa on our “Keep It Fresh” campaign. We’ve traveled from Georgia to Rhode Island, using music and culture to raise awareness and inspire action to address our nation’s water crisis. Even though the tour is over, our work to give power back to people is only just beginning. In the upcoming months, the Environmental Protection Agency will continue to be attacked by those who want to strip the agency of its authority. And, the green movement will remain under siege by those who want to hold us back. Now is the time to say enough is enough. For too long, polluters have put their short-term profits over America’s long-term health. They’ve used their money and connections to place a firm grip over the way government and the business world behaves. On this Earth Day, we say to them give us our power back. And if they don’t? We’re going to take it back because the power belongs to the people.

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