Don’t Just Sit There……

By Megan Gavin

Have you ever seen someone littering and you think to yourself….say something!…but you don’t? How many of us know that switching your light bulbs to CFL type blubs save energy but haven’t gotten around to making the switch? Recently, I heard about a 15-year-old boy from California who saw the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” back when he was 12. Something hit home and he wanted to tell everyone he knew about what he learned. Unfortunately he was too young to be one of Al Gore’s climate change spokespeople. But instead of doing nothing – Alec Loorz decided to do something. He designed his own climate change presentations aimed at youth. Alec said that something just “clicked” when watching the film and he felt a calling to stop global warming. Wow! You don’t hear a lot about the feeling of being called upon to do something and here’s a kid who has done exactly that!

With his mom’s support, Alec ended up creating Kids vs Global Warming, a non-profit organization committed to creating opportunities for youth to learn about the science and solutions of climate change and then take action. Not only did this teen start a non-profit but he created a website highlighting his speeches and projects.

Listening to his speeches on his web site, I was drawn in to his message, youth are smart NOW, creative NOW, involved NOW. He repeatedly says that youth need to be taken seriously, their voices matter, they are motivated and inspired, they just need a push with direction, support and mentoring. Could you give that push to a young person? Do you know someone who can?

I wasn’t surprised to learn Alec went beyond giving presentations on climate change, he created a lot of different projects such as: Sea Level Awareness campaign, a Declaration of Independence from fossil fuels and a California Youth Climate Council. His message must be getting out; he’s been on national news programs, won a variety of awards and inspired kids nationwide. Alec’s latest project is the iMatter March with a goal of one million youth standing up for the planet. I can’t wait to see what kids like Alec will do next.

About the author: Megan Gavin currently works as the environmental education coordinator in the Chicago office of EPA.

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