I. Information about their location and community
Ithaca is a progressive city situated in rural upstate New York and home to two fantastic universities, Cornell and Ithaca College. We have a history of enacting the world we would like to live in. For instance, Ithacans successfully kept Wal-Mart at bay from 1992 until 2005, concentrating on small business development aided by our own currency, “Ithaca Hours”, which are to be used as payment for hours of work. Ithaca and Tompkins County are replete with organic farms, which are often youth led. We’ve seen widespread energy efficiency campaigns and the development of numerous local renewable energy sources. Last year, we elected a 24-year-old Cornell graduate as mayor of the city. Ithaca is home to countless celebrations commemorating this special, beautiful place we call home.
We recognize that Ithaca still has problems. We haven’t transitioned substantially to renewable energy sources. We do not yet have a viable local food system. Race, class and gender injustice persist. Many residents are painfully aware of the natural gas industry’s intention to drill in the Marcellus Shale that lies under Ithaca and surrounding counties in New York.
Individuals and organizations in Ithaca and Tompkins County have taken on these issues with enthusiasm and gravitas. The number of different solutionary efforts currently on the ground in Ithaca is overwhelming. Fortunately, as young people, we have prioritized working with these community members over the last several years and have created an important space for our voice to be heard. In spring of 2011, three of us made a pitch to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI), a multi-sector collaboration between all the big players in the Ithaca economy who are concerned about the climate crisis. We asked for a youth seat on the steering committee, and not only were we unanimously granted one, but the chair of the Tompkins County Legislature told us we have the “moral authority” to be decision makers.
II. Information about their vision, project work, and potential partners
Summer of Solutions Ithaca envisions a program of praxis where young people of all backgrounds from across New York come together in Ithaca, Tompkins County and Southern Tier to build a community of climate justice from the grassroots up. Climate justice is a vision for genuine systematic transformation led by frontline communities that puts freedom from discrimination and equal access to decision making at the center of all solutions to the climate crisis. Frontline communities are directly impacted groups that collectively name a source of injustice they face and take action to overcome it. As young people, we represent a frontline because we recognize that we will be disproportionately affected by climate change over our lifetimes and that we hold the moral authority to demand a seat at the decision making table.
Summer of Solutions Ithaca will place young people in the position to lead grassroots, anti-oppressive and transformative climate justice organizing in the unique context of Ithaca, Tompkins County and the Southern Tier. Our work in Ithaca will align us with other frontline communities working on energy efficiency, food justice, anti-racism, and other critical projects to build our collective power in the creation of a just and sustainable world. As students and young people across New York join the national fossil fuel divestment campaign, Summer of Solutions Ithaca will provide a vision and practical examples of the new, just green economy that will replace the outdated fossil fuel economy.
Summer of Solutions Ithaca is a project of the Green Umbrella. The Green Umbrella – NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future is a network of young people in New York State that is working to harness our collective power to solve the climate crisis by building thriving, just, and sustainable communities. We are redefining the borders between our campuses and communities and are committed to mobilizing young people to protect New York State from hydrofracking and to demand 100% clean energy and a green economy that works for everyone. We strive to empower and train young people to become leaders in the climate justice movement and change agents in their communities.
III. Information about their program leader team
Hi all, my name’s Aubree Keurajian and I’m a student at Cornell University studying Science of Natural and Environmental Systems. I was born in Connecticut, where I was very involved in local politics and green energy, but am currently living in Ithaca, where I have been engaging in youth organizing on the campus, community, and state levels for the past year and a half around anti-fracking and other environmental issues.
Hi everyone! I’m Ariana Shapiro and I’m a student at Yale University, where I will probably major in American Studies or Environmental Studies. I grew up in Ithaca, NY where I was engaged in work around food justice and energy efficiency. Since early 2011, I have been involved in the youth climate movement, and have collaborated with community members and college students locally to resist hydrofracking and take pragmatic steps toward a sustainable future. At Yale, I’m involved in a campaign calling on the university to divest from fossil fuels.
Hey Y’all! My name is Reed Steberger, and I’m a senior at Cornell University studying nature/culture discourse performativity in the hydraulic fracturing resistance movement in New York. Since the spring of 2011, I’ve been working with the youth climate justice movement and have served as a state coordinator for the Green Umbrella – New York Youth for a Just and Sustainable future to organize youth resistance to hydraulic fracturing and support for a just, clean energy economy in NY. In 2012, I helped bottomline organizing for Don’t Frack New York, a grassroots led, mass anti-fracking mobilization in Albany that helped delay drilling in the state. I believe that hope is an axe, organizing cools the planet, and that strong people don’t need strong leaders.
VI. How to donate, volunteer, or otherwise support
Our program depends on your support! With it we can make our goals a reality and create a space for generative, solutionary, youth-led work in the Ithaca area. To donate, please visit this site: www.indiegogo.com/sosithaca. If you would like to support through in kind donations or volunteering, please email us at email@example.com.