Tired of the Same Old Climate Conversation?

Originally published at http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/tired-same-old-climate-conversation

By Claire Martini, Uplift Coordinator

Ready to innovate? Join a community of young conservationists building a platform to advocate for solutions on the Colorado Plateau.  We’re recruiting for the leadership team to plan the 2016 Uplift Climate Conference—apply now!

Here’s the backstory: last April, a group of young (or young-at-heart) activists and conservationists gathered outside Flagstaff to talk about the future of the environmental movement. About 90 people participated in discussions and workshops on a wide range of subjects, from direct action to writing and native plant propagation.

We called ourselves Uplift, after the geologic phenomenon that defines the Colorado Plateau.  For us, home lies within the elevated contours and aridity that define this broad sweep of high desert.

We grew up in the San Juans, or on the reservations; in Las Vegas, Portland, or Salt Lake City.  Our families hail from within a stone’s throw of Four Corners, New York City, and back East.  We were born as far away as Trinidad, Florida, and Santiago, Chile. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest but fell in love with the redrock canyons and sagebrush steppes I found here in the Southwest. I wanted more. Shortly after starting an AmeriCorps position coordinating citizen science volunteers at the Grand Canyon Trust, I was asked to help plan the gathering that would become Uplift…and I jumped at the chance.

Our diverse leadership team for Uplift 2015 included farm girls who grew up to be scientists and fossil fuel “divestistas” who’d worked with 350.org in college, to advocates for wilderness, community organizers and community gardeners. For months, we dreamed, planned, and schemed what the inaugural gathering would look like. From our various offices, homes and colleges, we kept in touch with email and weekly conference calls. “What are we doing?” Someone would invariably moan. “This is too big! Too much. Too ambitious,” another would complain. Someone else would invariably provide encouragement, and, lo and behold, we crafted a mission, recruited young folks and workshop leaders, and made it happen.

In 2015, Uplift began a dialogue. Looking forward to 2016, we’re continuing the conversation and building a community of young conservationists to focus on climate change and the Colorado Plateau. Through this year’s planning process, we’ll structure the weekend (slated for August 2016) around meaningful outcomes and actions. We aim to change the way we talk about conservation and to use this platform to voice concerns of young activists and environmentalists to listening environmental organizations.

We’re looking for the dreamers, the wild ones, the folks who aren’t afraid to make a change.  Have an idea to bring to the table? Join the Uplift leadership team and help direct the conversation. It’s time to address climate head-on.