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Crowdfunding Against Big Coal

In the age-old David vs. Goliath battle archetype, 2013′s David has a new tool: crowdfunding. This fall a small organization dedicated to engaging young people in politics, New Era Colorado, is making headlines by wielding a familiar tool on a new frontier: crowdfunding a campaign to outplay a major player in the coal industry that’s attempting to buy (another) election in the small city of Boulder, Colorado. New Era decided to up David’s chances, using a crowdfunding platform to raise resources that will allow the grassroots organization to go head to head against Goliath, which in this case is a multi-billion dollar utility giant. For years, Boulder residents pressured Xcel Energy to provide the city with cleaner power. In November 2011, even after Xcel spent $1 million trying to influence the election, the city’s voters approved two ballot measures to begin the process of “municipalizing” their energy utility, effectively taking control from Xcel and paving the way for local control of an electric utility that would provide cleaner energy. It was a historic campaign; very few cities have taken control of their energy supply in this manner, and never in American history has it been done with the explicit purpose […]

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