SustainUS Inc.

SustainUS is a youth-led organization advancing justice and sustainability by empowering young people to engage with policy at the international and domestic levels. Our vision is a sustainable world free from systemic injustice.
Apr 29, 2016

SustainUS April 2016 Newsletter

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Hi friends,

April was another amazing month for SustainUS. We supported the Democracy Spring protests in DC, lobbied the State Department, challenged the World Bank on continued funding of fossil fuels projects, launched our COP22 creative challenge, and received a $20,000 leadership development grant from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation. 

Now, we're gearing up to join #BreakFree actions - bold mobilizations across the globe to stop fossil fuel projects - and are planning an extended strategy retreat in Vermont.

If you know any young people that want to get more involved in SustainUS, the easiest way for them to plug-in and hear about what is happening across the organization's teams is to join our SustainUS Community Call on Tuesday May 3 at 9:00 pm ET. Please encourage the young advocates and activists you know to join!

Onwards,
Arielle Clynes
SustainUS Coordinating Body

 

Upcoming SustainUS Opportunities

Our Community Call is TUESDAY May 3 at 9:00 pm ET! Join the call to meet otherSustainUS leaders and learn how to join an existing team or create a new one. Click here to register for the call.Register for the Community Call!

SustainUS is hiring! With support from Friends of the Earth, we have funding for a 3-month paid fellow to support the #StopTPP campaign and other climate advocacy. Click here to view the job description.Apply for the Fellowship.

Our COP22 Creative Challenge is live. Watch the webinar recordings, then write and submit your movement story of self! The first challenge entry is due May 1. Click here to submit an entry.Sub

mit an entry for the challenge.

UNFCCC Team: Meeting with State Department on Loss & Damage

During the last two months, I lived in a group house with twenty other organizers working together to organize the Democracy Spring mass mobilization. During this week of sustained sit-ins at the US Capitol, more than 1,400 people were arrested, demanding Congress take immediate action to end corruption and voter suppression. Sign up here to learn what comes next in the movement!

  

UNFCCC Team: Meeting with State Department on Loss & Damage

In addition to launching the COP22 Creative Challenge, the UNFCCC team met with the State Department's Loss & Damage Negotiator, Shereen D'souza, to discuss streams for the UNFCCC Loss & Damage mechanism. We also discussed youth participation in the Warsaw International Mechanism and the importance of the 1.5 degree C target to minimize the suffering of climate-vulnerable countries.

  

Climate Finance Team: Objecting to further funding for fossil fuels

During the spring meetings of the World Bank, we worked with Oil Change International to challenge the Bank on why it continues to fund fossil fuel projects even after the Paris Agreement. Among other interventions, we directly asked the World Bank Executive Directors why the Bank still funds fossil fuel exploration.

  

Amazing Member Update: Becky Chung's journey to Antarctica

In late March I joined the 2041 Foundation for a two-week expedition to Antarctica. I spent months fundraising for the trip with the support of SustainUS. From lectures on the Paris Agreement, to lesson on the history of Antarctic exploration, to the actual exploration of Antarctica - there was never a dull moment. My next adventure is a trip to the Himalayas to help provide villages there with clean energy.

Dec 28, 2015

COP21 is done, but the real work lies ahead

COP21 is over. We now have a universal climate agreement. But it is nowhere near enough to ensure a just and stable future. While COP21 is historic, it is at best a beginning.

I will tell you this: after spending two weeks Paris with our COP21 delegation, I'm convinced that they are some of the most amazing young people in the country. Our SustainUS team led three effective advocacy campaigns that contributed to a stronger COP21 outcome. We made front-page news, published over 30 pieces, hosted press conferences, lobbied top State Department officials, and reached over 17 million people on Twitter. We also forged deep relationships across countries and supported one another through the joys and sorrows of the COP process.

Our team managed to stay joyful throughout the intense two weeks of COP21.

Our SustainUS mission is “to advance justice and sustainability by empowering young people to engage in advocacy.” I wholeheartedly believe our COP21 delegation fulfilled this mission. I'm incredibly proud of the 21 delegates and the delegation leaders, Maria Langholz and Dyanna Jaye, for all of their work this past year.

Here’s a summary of how we did:

  • #ZeroBy2050: Through creative actions and an international social media campaign, our team kept the pressure up inside the negotiations. The final Paris agreement signals long-term goal to phase out of greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century. The World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change told me personally that our campaign increased the pressure on negotiators.
  • Climate Impacts: Our team collaborated with a coalition of experts to push for a strong "Loss and Damage" mechanism to address irreversible climate impacts. We organized demonstrations and met regularly with the U.S. negotiators. Our advocacy efforts helped win language that creates a new UN task force to address human migration caused by climate change.
  • Intergenerational Equity: A historic first for an international agreement, we helped secure the words “intergenerational equity” in multiple spaces of the Paris Agreement. This is a testament to an entirely youth-driven, multi-year lobbying effort to situate the well-being of future generations as a core principle of climate policy.

Now, the bad news. COP21 set an ambitious target of "well-below 2 degrees C" of warming, with a strong intention to stay below 1.5 C. The existing commitments made by countries are nowhere close to reaching this target. According to Climate Interactive, pledged policies put us on a path for 3.5 degrees by 2100, a hellish scenario for most people on Earth.

The Paris agreement also does not increase climate finance for the least developed countries from what was pledged in 2009. It weakens the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” enshrined in the UNFCCC. Furthermore, it prohibits countries suffering from the worst impacts of climate disasters to seek compensation by holding polluters liable. We must demand better and hold our leaders accountable.

We staged several actions in solidarity with the Climate Vulnerable Forum to push for #ZeroBy2050.

We knew going into Paris that the agreement would not solve the climate crisis. At the very best, COP21 signals a "beginning of the end of the fossil fuel industry." But it's up to us to make the switch to clean energy happen much faster than planned, and in a way that is just for workers and for impacted communities.

The transition to a just economy and a stable climate will be long and hard. And frankly, we still don't have great odds at avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. But after Paris, I have renewed hope. Not because of the agreement. I have hope because of the amazing young people who are part of SustainUS. These leaders are committed to this movement for the long-haul. And because of them, we have a fighting chance.

Links:

Oct 1, 2015

Growing Youth Power for COP21 & Beyond

Hi amazing COP21 Delegation supporters --

We wanted to give you a quick update on our progress. A couple weekends ago, our COP21 delegation held a weekend-long joint training with delegations from Sierra Student Coalition, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Swarthmore College. 

We had passionate discussions about the human impacts of climate change, and what kind of support developed countries should provide to developing countries to compensate for livelihood and cultural loss. We strategized around ways to push the COP agreement towards a strong mitigation target to signal that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. We practiced interviews, honed our messaging, and established working groups to carry our collaboration forward.

Over the next few months, we'll be blogging, soliciting traditional earned media, and working with the Climate Action Network to advocate for better outcomes in the Paris agreement. We're also building out a domestic team, which will focus on how we can build energy and momentum around COP21 that's needed for success at Paris and beyond. If you know anyone who would be interested in joing the domestic team (or want to join yourself), use this this interest form get involved.

Thank you again for your support. We (quite literally) couldn't get to Paris to do this work without you.

With gratitutude,

Dyanna, Maria, Adam and the whole COP21 team

Links:

 

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