Midwest Power Shift organizers pose for photo in Cleveland, OH
Emerging from a several years of strategic conversation, cross-state collaboration, and the intense growth of the youth climate movement here in the Midwest, a fledgling coalition is rising. Following in the spirit of regional coalitions launched in the Southeast (Southern Energy Network) and Northwest (Cascade Climate Network), the Midwest Youth Climate Coalition seeks to deepen connections between key youth climate organizations and activists across the Midwest and foster a coordinated approach to regional and national challenges and opportunities.
The Midwest Youth Coalition is a grassroots network that seeks to secure a just and ecologically responsible future. By coordinating collaborative campaigns across Midwest campuses and communities, and by providing a space to share skills, resources and ideas, we will bring a solutions-oriented approach to our most difficult environmental challenges.
The Midwest Youth Coalition envisions a shared space for Midwest youth to exchange skills, ideas and models, to encourage and facilitate discussion and to offer guidance and support to statewide coalitions trying to get off the ground. This space will likely take the form of a website that can host various resources, a monthly or bi-monthly conference call to keep state leaders up to date on the going-ons in the rest of the region, and a steering committee that can support regional events and campaigns.
The Coalition has emerged out of several years of informal regional collaboration between leading youth climate organizations based in the Midwest. Will Steger Foundation, Global Exchange, and the Sierra Student Coalition have all been instrumental in growing the seeds for this collaborative. Add the mix the evolution of state networks and transformative national and regional events (National Power Shift and most recently Midwest Power Shift), and the informal network has coalesced into a formal and strategic coalition with a functional youth steering committee made up of representatives from 6 core Midwest states, including MN, IA, WI, MI, IL, OH.
Leading youth climate organizations from 10 Midwest states were engaged in the launch process to help on the outreach front and in selecting the State Rep for their state responsible for communicating to and from their youth climate networks. A Communications Lead was also selected and the Steering Committee Chair position is pending. The Will Steger Foundation will play a key role in preliminary facilitation and logistics as the fledgling coalition formalizes it’s structure, goals, and timeline.
The Coalition will play a critical role in fostering strategic regional collaboration around select issues (i.e. political engagement, challenging dirty polluters, and building the clean energy economy). The core youth climate organizations instrumental in launching the Coalition will continue to be engaged as advisers and sustainers moving forward.
Stay tuned for an introduction to the MW Youth Climate Coalition Steering Committee members and a link to more details on Coalition campaigns, events, and stories from the frontlines of the MW youth climate movement!