Mutual Aid ‘tween OSEC and Ohio Sierra Club: how to build alliances and get funded for Powershift

Yo yo yo! I pledge to thee, OSEC, by the fierce joy that rays out glittering from all of our eyes: I am your devoted comrade in excelling in our homeplace activism, until food forests and bikeways have overgrown the coal plants and urban sprawl. To that end I have a story for you, and a call to action. I hope you will find it useful and inspiring.

Ohio Sierra Club is giving us money to send a bunch of us (100+) to Powershift for free; they potentially want to give us more $$$, and partner with us on our new campaigns, because they are inspired by our work.

This happened in response to a request by students. A few of my SSC/OU Beyond Coal colleagues and I went to the Sierra Club Ohio strategy retreat, and gave personal testimonial to the passionate, effective work that we student activists are doing. They asked how they could help us; we responded with “financial solidarity”. The four of us jotted off this little ditty, and they APPROVED IT BY CONSENSUS!!!!!:

“Though we have common goals and strategy, Ohio students and Sierra Club have not gotten to work together as closely and effectively as we would like. In order to build support and participation in the Sierra Club’s mission <Explore, Enjoy and Protect Nature>, we propose that the Ex-Com of Ohio allocate funds to send students to Washington D.C. for the Powershift 2011 conference. It is expected to be 12,000 students learning how to put into practice effective environmental community organizing. It costs 65 dollars to register per person. Ohio has a goal of sending 500 students. We propose that you underwrite 100 Ohio environmental student coalition members in exchange for reporting back to the regional groups. That way a relationship of furious joy and developing strategy and mutual support on issues that Sierra Club and the student activists both care about will be established.”

So their goal in funding our Powershift registration is to win us as allies on the basis of continually supporting our development as environmental activists. The ball is rolling for cooperation with us, wouldn’t you agree? Not only is their state group paying for many of us to go to Powershift- there’re 7 regional groups considering giving us more Powershift funding, if only we would reach out to them and plug some of our energy coming out of Powershift into joint campaigns. Looking at their website, you’ll see that they’re already working on a lot of what we care about. Consider how they could be staunch allies: as we move against coal and fracking, supporting convivial human transportation, and wind turbines on Lake Erie. They could come out to our events, write letters, call politicians, exert their influence in our communities on behalf of our work. They will invite us to speak, and perhaps we will all go hiking together.

BTW, if you read the bios of the staff people, you’ll see there are outstanding people who like our Janina, are working full-time on these things. Nachy Kanfer has been a solid ally and friend to OU’s Beyond Coal campaign for more than a year. And Jennifer Miller- their super-cool advocate in the state house- wants to organize a lobby day with us. Elisa Young, the rockstar who took us on the Meigs County tour last retreat- has alerted me that in a couple of weeks, there will be an important day for lobbying the Ohio State Legislature on Coal Ash regulation. I will pass that word along as soon as I get it. Anyway…..

Here’ my pitch to you, dear OSECer who is reading this: 1) find out who your local SC chapter’s point person is, and send a delegation to one of their next meetings. 2) arrive and listen to what they’re working on, find out where it overlaps with our campaigns, talk with them about what you and OSEC are working on, and ask them for more money if you feel like working with them in the future.

If you go to this website:

at the bottom right of the page is a regional group map, to find your local leaders. Currently, we in Athens are working with Lorraine McCosker of the SE chapter and David Donofrio at Central to find where OSEC, with our new campaigns, can work with SC on them- and how more financial solidarity can be directed to flow our way for Powershfit.

Alternatively, you don’t have to do that work, becuase YOU ARE INVITED to a meeting coming up that’s already been planned and is ready for our participation!!! Ideally, a representative from each of our working groups could attend this next meeting in Columbus, to speak for the goals of the group and explore partnership possibilities. Below are the details from David. Please call me if you want to converse on these topics: 859-801-3137.

Yours in agape ~ Badger Johnson

“Know it’s early, but wanted to confirm that our March ExCom meeting is 6:45pm at the Upper Arlington Library. For those visiting it is at 2800 Tremont Road in Upper Arlington, OH (our old location). Karl Rd. is not available in March or April and neither are similar locations like Worthington so we will need to come up with another plan or just stay at UA. I have UA reserved for April as well just as a backup if we don’t change locations.
As a heads up on the agenda, we’re going to have CJ George from our Chapter staff to discuss partnerships including the possibility of a public home energy audit in the area to see what we all think. We will be confirming the quarterly programs. AND we are going to be focusing on 2011 Goal #2 for the heart of the meeting… pulling in colleges and young people. Badger Johnson, a leader at the OU Sierra Student Coalition, will be visiting us, and Yang is calling college environmental clubs in our counties to invite them to attend as well. Hopefully we get a good turnout from them so that Badger can inspire them the way he did for us at the Chapter retreat! I also have an update from PrintPro about the membership surveys we will be sending, and Dave R. if you can get me that sample survey, PrintPro only needs a 48 hour turnaround time to get us a mockup which I’d like to have for this meeting for approval.
Finally, I’m inviting Jose (our Outings leader) who couldn’t make it last month, and Neile Edens, another ally for the ConsCom like Alicia, who we met last month. Hopefully you guys can make it!”

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