There is nothing like the pure fire, motivation and passion that can strike a child, especially an adolescent. You’ve seen it before–for Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, video games, and TV shows.
What about when this passion is turned to protecting the environment? When teenagers want to make an impact that presses adults to take action and make the world healthier and safer for everyone?
Here are 3 inspiring young clean air heros:
1. Meet Alec Loorz, who sued the federal government to declare our atmosphere a public trust, to say they have no right to let energy companies pollute it. Talk about plucky and using your resources!
This boy begs the question: How can companies be allowed to pollute something that isn’t theirs, but is all of ours?
Good point! Especially for someone not yet old enough to vote. He says, rather eloquently:
“Today, I and other fellow young people are sueing the government, for handing over our future to unjust fossil fuel industries, and ignoring the right of our children to inherit the planet that has sustained all of civilization. I will join with youth and attorneys in every state in the US to demand that our leaders to live and govern as if our future matters.”
Alec started this campaign called, iMatter March: Kids vs. Global Warming. It gives me hope for the future of our battle to reverse devastating climate change.
2. How great is the effort led by teens against the toxic sea of fumes that are promoted by Abercrombie and Fitch? We know that the chemicals in perfumes are linked to cancer, asthma, and reproductive system problems. A group of teens took their message to the streets instead of taking all that sexed up advertising to heart to buy A&F’s products.
Why target Abercrombie? According to this post from Treehugger, it turned out one of those sexy marketing methods included spraying their signature 14-chemical cocktail scent all over the clothes, the store, and employees.
Not only are they selling a product with toxic ingredients, but spraying it all over the store impacts shoppers and workers. This might lead to health problems.
A group of teens, righteously called, Teens turning Green, protested by taking a letter in support of the Safe Chemicals Act to store managers in San Francisco, along with a protest with informational signs outside the store. I bet many folks took notice of this inspired group of teenagers!
3. Teenager, Eamon Umphress joined the effort to claim the atmosphere as part of the public trust, similar to Alec’s plight. He makes the point that no one has ever acted upon the idea of public trust in regards to the atmosphere. Turns out, even in his conservative state, Texas, a judge agreed with him. The judge stated that natural resources should include the air we breathe.
“It really showed me that if you want something to happen, and you step up and make the effort, it just might. A lot of kids my age feel like there isn’t much they can do to make a difference on an individual scale. But I did. So you can too.” ~ Eamon Umphress
Amen to that. And now to quote one of my favorite musicians, Dar Williams:
“Teenagers kick our butts. Tell us what the future will be. Teenagers look at us. We have not solved everything.”