Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence Recap

Tonyisha Harris

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November 30, 2023

Youth-v.-fossil-fuels-convergence-recap_0

Aana Shenai and I were fortunate enough to join almost one hundred young people in Portland, OR for the Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence – a youth-centric organizing space to strategically oppose the fossil fuel industry. As one of the organizers of the convergence, I was blown away by the determination and resilience of the spectrum of young people in attendance. Whether I was escorting a sixteen-year-old from the airport to the hotel or coordinating a mock rapid response action, the experience was invigorating.

a group of young people at the Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence

The Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence allowed us to unite to combat the largest existential crisis of our generation prepared with a list of goals:

  • Organize a national network of youth activists focused on a youth-led campaign to fight fossil fuels. 
  • Provide training in the science and policy undergirding the imperative to keep fossil fuels in the ground, as well as skills for planning campaigns and actions. 
  • Alignment around a shared theory of change targeting executive action.
  • Strategic campaigning to win executive action from the Biden administration to accelerate the end of fossil fuels.
A speaker at the Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence

The Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence Experience

As an organizer, attendee, and moderator, I received the full Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence experience of the convergence coming to fruition. Drawn to engaging panels like Greenwashing, Climate Scams, False Solutions and Strategies to Resist Them, Using Non-Violent Direct Action to End Fossil Fuels, Making Earth Cool: Art in the Movement to End Fossil Fuels, and more grounded in a keynote address and strategy sessions.

I moderated the Leading From Frontlines: Environmental Justice & Indigenous Sovereignty in the Fight to End Fossil Fuels panel with Breena Two Bears of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Josiah Edwards of the Youth on Roots/Sunrise Movement, Alicia Gallegos of Pueblo Action Alliance, and Armon Alex of Gulf of Mexico Youth Climate Summit.

Image shows youth activists holding posters at the Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence.

Convergence Takeaways

The biggest problem at the Youth vs Fossil Fuels Convergence, besides defeating the fossil fuel industry, was deciding which panel or session to attend. The program was intentionally created to provide inspire creative and strategic action against the fossil fuel industry.

The work is continuing on the ground and we’re preparing for a follow up session to discuss mobilization opportunities in 2024.

Tonyyisha Harris

Tonyisha Harris

Associate Director of Youth Media and Partnerships

Tonyisha Harris is ACE's Associate Director of Communications and Partnerships. Having been introduced to the organization via a climate education assembly in high school, it is a full-circle moment for her to be working for the organization that inspired her to be a youth climate and environmental justice advocate. She helps ACE garner earned media opportunities, communicate with partners, and supports its coalition-building efforts. 

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