Youth Eco-activists use media to spread their environmental message

Bioneers LogoYesterday, at the Bioneers conference,  a group of teenagers showed that being young doesn’t stop getting the message out about environmental issues.

Five high school students showed how a bit of creativity and using social media can make an impact.

All five are deeply engaged in environmental activism. Moderator Shadia Faye Wood, winner of the 2004 Brower Youth Award from the Earth Island Institute , is the new media director of Fired Up Media! Shadia works with teams of young people around the world as a Climate Change Coordinator, helping in the countdown to the environmental Summit in December.

Shelby Ray and Alberta Nells, both Native Americans, are part of Outta Your Backpack Media, which delivers workshops to  empower and train indigenous people to use video as a means to record and preserve Native stories.

Alec Loorz wrote a Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels by the Youth of America. He’s scheduled to present this to California Senator Barbara Boxer who, after Loorz gets sufficient signatures, will present it to the U.S. Congress. Loorz  is a study in perseverance, after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth, he applied to become a leader of Al Gore’s presentor. Rejected because he was only twelve,  Alec put together his own presentation and began delivering that. Eventually, he met Gore and became the his youngest presenter.

Jordan Howard – active in Green Ambassadors at the Environmental Charter High School in L.A. – directed an award-winning student film called “A Day in the Life”, educating people of all ages about going green, which won an award at the Santa Monica (CA) Teen Film Festival.

All five teens showed inspiring environmental videos they’d created geared towards young people. 

Movies with message are powerful with kids, one said.

People who don’t know, or who don’t want to learn, really connect with these videos, especially after seeing it on YouTube or Facebook, Jordan said.

When asked how they got the video message out there, the answers included:

  • teaching video literacy workshops
    using social media
  • submitting films for competitions
  • giving media interviews

All agreeed that word of mouth was crucial.

Listening to them speak, it was stunning to realize they were all below the age of 20 and had already done amazing things with their lives – some since they were 7 or 8 years old!

Inspiring? Absolutely. They all agreed on one more thing. Don’t wait.

“If you feel passionate about something,” said Alec, do it!”

Good advice.


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