Bioneers 2010: Kids Rise Up Against Climate Change


Photo via Mickey van der Stap via Flickr Creative Commons

Bioneers is about everyone taking part in protecting the planet, and that includes the "underaged" members of our community. Young people played a leading role in rallying the participants to political and community activism, including Alec Loorz, a 16-year-old high school student from California who founded Kids vs Climate Change, which empowers young people to be environmental activists, and Jessica Rimington, who founded One World Youth Program to teach communication skills to young people, transforming them into effective global community activists. These two organizations are doing incredible things to prepare the next generation for leading the charge not just when they get old enough to vote, but right now. And recognizing how the next generation works, the movement comes complete with an iPhone app. One World Youth Project
"I'm not sure we're going to make the changes. Not because of lack of awareness or apathy, but because we lack the skill set," said Jessica Rimington. She noted that in the US, 90% of students can't find Afghanistan on a map, that less than 2% of college students study abroad, that at the current rate of loss, in 10 years only 58% of middle schools will offer a foreign language to students. Knowing these things, it's no wonder she felt compelled to create a solution to provide young people with the skills needed to grow up able to communicate well with people across the globe, helping them know how to form lasting relationships that will lead to global progress.

"Thanks to globalization, we're aware of one another's existence, but not necessarily more knowledgeable about one another," she said as she emphasized that globalization and communication skill sets need to be as important as math and science in our elementary, middle and high schools.

This is what the One World Youth Project provides -- it works with schools to create a hub within the campus that provides teachers and students with the materials and space to educate students on global communication, entirely free of charge.

"OWYP provides universities with an opportunity to engage undergraduates in service-learning by becoming facilitators of the OWYP curriculum in local middle/high school classrooms while also establishing collaborative working relationships with university peers abroad in order to guide their mentee middle/high students through effective, cross-cultural exchange. OWYP links middle/high school classrooms in partner-school relationships based on a curriculum that guides students from cultural exchange, to understanding shared global challenges, to local community mapping and finally to taking action through service-learning."

The future world leaders, in training.

OWYP Promo from owyp on Vimeo.


Kids vs Climate Change
There's learning, and there's also doing. Kids vs Climate Change is all about doing. It was founded by a teenager who is illustrating first hand how powerful a kid can be at inciting change. Based on educational presentations that teach about the science behind climate change, community activism projects and leadership training, the non-profit group is making huge strides in rallying kids to understand and take positive action against global climate change.

And of course, there is an iPhone app.

iMatter March & App
Part of the Kids vs Climate Change project is the iMatter March coming up on Mother's Day, 2011. It will pull together 1 million kids (or hopefully more) to march in all 50 states to bring awareness about what climate change means to this upcoming generation -- the one that will be most impacted by global warming.

The iMatter app helps link together participants, get groups organized, and boost awareness of what's happening during marches.


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More on Youth Activism
Youth of the World to Governments: Less Talk, More Action on Climate Change & Eco-Sustainability
10 Ways to Promote Green Campus Activism
Deepa Gupta Talks Climate Change Activism, Youth in India, and More (Interview)

Tags: Activism | Global Climate Change

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