How One Kid is Combating Climate Change

sharon smith young activists guide photo

Photo credit: Sharon Smith
This guest post was written by Sharon Smith, author of The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement.

Alec Loorz first saw Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth when he was twelve years old. Inspired by the message, Alec applied to be a presenter with Gore's The Climate Project, but was turned down due to his age. Undeterred, Alec created his own presentation and gave it more than thirty times to youth and adult audiences in California before Gore took notice.Eventually Gore invited Alec to his next training session and Alec became the youngest speaker with The Climate Project, giving more than one hundred talks to some twenty thousand people. Later, he founded his own organization, Kids vs. Global Warming, a project of Earth Island Institute, with the mission of educating youth on the science of climate change and empowering them to take action.

Through multimedia presentations to schools, keynote and panel presentations at conferences, videos, and social media, Alec translated the complex science of climate change into terms that motivate youth to get involved with creating solutions.

INTERVIEW: Sharon Smith, Author of The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement

Alec expressed his bold vision--"to end global warming in my lifetime"--during each and every talk. Of course he knows he can't do it alone, and his ambitious rallying call serves to draw other people to his group.

"Youth have a unique sense of moral authority on this issue," Alec says, "it's our planet now, and we are going to have to grow up and face the consequences of what the world does, or fails to do."

Guess what? Alec didn't start out as a master public speaker. I met him when he was thirteen, and he struck me as a shy teen, though smart and committed. He eventually grew into an enormously captivating speaker through practice. Lots of it. Even if you have glossophobia (fear of public speaking), don't worry--you can beat it.

This chapter will teach you how to be a good storyteller--one of the most important skills you need to be a strong recruiter for your campaign. Once you've got your messaging down, I'll outline a number of the best methods to spread your message with clarity and passion, from film screenings to classroom presentations and green tours of your community.

Currently, Alec is planning a global march. Participate in the iMatter March on May 8, 2011.
This guest post was written by Sharon Smith, author of The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement.
Read more about Alec Loorz:
Bioneers 2010: Kids Rise Up Against Climate Change
The Brower Youth Awards 2009: The Cure for Cynicism (Video)
Treehugger Interview: Sharon Smith, Author of "The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World"

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