July 12Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

The Industry:

progressive politics

The Attendees:

1,000 young idealists working to change the world before taking soul-sucking jobs to pay off student loans

The Issues:

Inspiring Words: In one session, attendees learned that “moving progressive ideas requires moving words—words that are timely, factual, in-depth, and that inspire readers to challenge their beliefs and to act.” During a subsequent panel discussion about using hip-hop to illuminate political issues instead of perpetuating stereotypes, two words—“bitches” and “‘hos”—scored panelist/rapper Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena print in the Washington Post and across the blogosphere.

Data Is Not Enough: To counter skeptics and deniers, a “War on Science” panelist emphasized that scientists must learn how to talk without putting people to sleep.

Think Inside the Box (or, Get Your Oil Light On): Kick the Oil Habit Campaign workers rallied support for E85, a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Five million U.S. cars are already equipped to run on this renewable fuel, but only about 600 of the nation’s 170,000 gas stations offer it. When asked why the campaign didn’t present other alternatives like public transportation, bicycle commuting, or driving less, a representative stressed the need to “be realistic.”

—Rob Tierney