|Eco Hero Alec Loorz Proves Age Is No Barrier to Climate Action|
|Friday, 09 April 2010 00:00 | Written by Dawn Marshallsay | Article|
Who better to spur youth into action against climate change than youngsters themselves? Talk about positive peer pressure: Inspired by Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, 12-year-old Alec Loorz of Ventura, California, set up Kids vs. Global Warming, “a group of kids who educate other kids about the science of global warming and empower them to take action.”
It’s easy to dismiss someone for being too young to make a difference, as Alec found out when he applied to be a presenter for Gore’s Climate Project, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that spreads public awareness of climate change. This didn’t stop the boy from delivering 30 of his own climate-crisis presentations, after which Gore invited Alec to train for the project in October 2008, making him the youngest member.
Global warming will affect everyone, no matter their age, but—in Gore’s words—the young are “going to live with the consequences of what we do or fail to do.” If youngsters can’t depend on adults to lead in fighting global warming, Alec has proved that our young can set their own examples.
Alec, now 15, has achieved much since he first cofounded the Kids vs. Global Warming NGO with his mother Victoria. As a part of their first initiative, the Sea Level Awareness Project (SLAP), youth groups installed more than 100 poles across Ventura in 2008 to demonstrate the future rise of sea levels. The SLAP project won Alec third place in Action for Nature’s 2008 International Young Eco-Hero Awards, and has now expanded throughout California and as far afield as New York state and the District of Columbia.
New youth groups who join Kids vs. Global Warming are encouraged to plant trees at their schools, and the organization is collecting children’s signatures for its Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels. Kids vs. Global Warming has also partnered with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), to help teach high school students about climate change through presentations involving rap and animation.
Alec’s future plans include the launch of a California Climate Council of Youth (C3Y), which will pool youngsters’ ideas on fighting global warming, and the iMatter March: One Million Kids Stand Up for Their Planet, a youth march on 22 April 2010, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. It will echo Gore’s call for the US to vote on the climate bill on this day. The iMatter page of the Kids vs. Global Warming’s website offers solutions that children can carry out individually to fight climate change, such as iBike (cycling to school) and iPlant (growing food).
The impact of Alec’s work has been recognized by eight awards, including the Earth Charter Award for Youth Activism in 2008. His achievements show how one person can make a difference, especially if he inspires others to join him. And the energy-saving actions suggested on Kids vs. Global Warming’s iMatter webpage show how each of us can make a difference, whatever our age. There are no excuses: we all live on this planet and contribute to global warming, so we all need to make an effort to save the planet we share.
[If you know someone who is deserving of an Eco Hero profile on EcoHearth.com, please contact us. – Ed.]