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Power Shift 2011

This past Thursday through Sunday I was in D.C. for Power Shift 2011, which is a conference sponsored by the Energy Action Coalition that addresses climate change and other important environmental issues. VLS sent five students, including myself to represent VLS at the conference and to promote our school to interested student activists.  We arrived in Baltimore Thursday night and then headed into D.C. on Friday morning.  During our time on Friday, we talked with students and environmental activists about VLS and met people from all over the U.S.  It was a great way to meet people while spreading the word about our little law school tucked in Vermont.

Friday night, the keynote speakers were Al Gore and Van Jones.  I have always been slightly indifferent towards Al Gore, but his speech really got me fired up and thinking about all the reasons I came to VLS.  Like many of my classmates, I came here to make a difference, whether big or small.  I want to protect the environment, not only for myself, but for everyone I care about.  Also, being around over 10,000 other people with similar goals as mine really got me thinking about how our generation truly has power in numbers. I definitely left the speeches Friday night feeling empowered and happy that I chose VLS as a part of my path towards a career in environmental policy.

Al Gore speaking at Power Shift

Saturday, I attended a workshop on hydrofracturing.  There were tons of workshops, but I really wanted to see how this youth movement was planning on addressing this hot issue.  To my surprise, Josh Fox, the director of the documentary Gasland was there and free to talk about these issues.  Since fracking is an issue that hits so close to home, I felt that this connection between other concerned environmental activists and a big representative for fracking environmental policy really helped to drive the point home that I am doing the right thing.

I also had the opportunity to see some of D.C. while I was there for the weekend.  A couple friends and I rented bikes through Capital Bike Share, which is a program I highly recommend. We just payed with our credit cards and rode our bikes around to all of the federal buildings and national monuments around the National Mall.  It was a beautiful day and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for an afternoon of sightseeing!!

Katie, Paige and I in front of the Supreme Court

Overall, my time in D.C. kept me in check as to why I am pursuing a Masters of Environmental Law and Policy and I would label the trip as one of the highlights of my time at VLS.  Now that I am back in Vermont–a little sun burnt and exhausted–I am ready to finish off this semester with a bang, while keeping in mind all of the motivation I gained while at Power Shift.

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