The Brower Youth Awards 2009: The Cure for Cynicism (Video)


Image credit: Brower Youth Awards

I was looking at an (anonymous) TreeHugger's skype profile the other day, which read "I'd be more optimistic if more people worried." It's easy to feel like that. With climate change, war, famine and resource depletion, it's sometimes scary how oblivious many folks are to the challenges we face. And this isn't just about the "enlightened" activist versus the rest of the world—it can be amazingly easy for even the biggest TreeHugger to put the bigger picture out of our mind as we focus on day-to-day worries. That's why the Brower Youth Awards are so vital - reminding us all that there are folks fighting every day for a better, fairer world. Click below the fold for some videos of inspiring young people that might just renew the optimism in all of us. As Jacob noted in our coverage of the 2008 Brower Youth Awards (see part 2 of the 2008 coverage here), the event was named after David R. Brower, founder of the Sierra Club Foundation, the John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies, Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, and Earth Island Institute, among others. Every year the award celebrates six young activists working for positive environmental change who each receive $3000 in prize money, a trip to San Francisco for the awards, and a week's back country camping. But it's not all about prizes - the awards also give these young worldchangers access to ongoing mentorship and guidance, fostering and nurturing a new generation of environmental leaders.

Anyhow, enough about the awards—on to the awardees. The good people at Current TV and Rickshaw Films were clearly equally inspired. They have put together a collectionprofiles of each of this years' Brower Youth Award winners of . Check them out and be prepared for your pessimism to melt away. But don't just enjoy that warm glow. Get up and do something!


Hai Vo, co-founder of the Real Food Challenge (RFC) at the University of California at Irvine (UCI).


Diana Lopez, environmental justice organizer for the Southwest Workers Union in San Antonio, Texas.


Sierra Murdoch, co-founder of Power Past Coal.


Robin Bryan, outreach coordinator for the Manitoba Wilderness Committee.


Alec Loorz, founder of Kids Versus Global Warming.


Adarsha Shivakumar, co-founder of Project Jatropha.

Tags: Activism | Contests | United States