Teen Leaders Educate Communities About the Climate Crisis

November 16th, 2010

By Alexa Boghosian

The summer of my freshman year of high school, I volunteered at the California Science Center “Cool Globes” exhibit.  My job was to provide information and tours to elementary school students who were on field trips to the exhibit. However, I quickly began to notice that the majority of the kids who passed through the exhibit had very little environmental literacy.  Therefore, I began a program called The GreenTeens to begin to fulfill my community’s needs.

The GreenTeens provide environmental education for elementary school students in Los Angeles schools. Through a curriculum created and taught by students for students, the GreenTeens promote environmental literacy, inspire students to take action, make behavioral changes, and become green leaders in their communities. Additionally, GreenTeens work with schools to initiate school-wide environmental campaigns relevant to each school community’s needs.  Watch us in action in this video: The GreenTeens at work

Just last spring, The GreenTeens won a grant of $2,500 from the Alliance for Climate Education to fund the project, making the program available to schools for free.  Now, the GreenTeens are in action!  We are currently visiting 3rd Street School and will start the program next week at Vine Street Elementary!

Already, the effect we are having on these kids is visible. The other day, for example, a girl who was participating in the program told me about how she and her mom went to the grocery store. As the mom was reaching for plastic bags, the girl stopped her and informed her that they could take the groceries home in the canvas bag she had made that day during the GreenTeens program! Not only are we affecting how these kids think, but they also affect their families, and ultimately, their communities, in one big multiplier effect.

One of the GreenTeens’ major goals is to expand the volunteer aspect of the program to other high schools to not only increase environmental literacy across multiple communities, but also to empower teens to take action by providing leadership opportunities for them within the green movement.

We provide a detailed curriculum, set-up steps, timelines, and lots of advice to each branch!

If you are interested in starting a GreenTeens branch at your own school, please
email volunteer@thegreenteens.org to request more information or request a Branch Application.

Honestly, anything is possible with effort.  You can impact people, you can impact the world, and it starts by raising your voice and taking action.

Join the GreenTeens, raise your voice, and help your community raise theirs!

Alexa Boghosian
Founder/President of The GreenTeens

IY Around the World – Japan

November 12th, 2010

Adeline Tiffanie Suwana, Inconvenient Youth member and TCP Presenter, was selected by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in coordination with Aichi Prefectures and the City of Nagoya as a delegate to attend the UNEP Tunza International Children’s Conference on Biodiversity in Aichi, Nagoya, held October 20-26, 2010 in Japan.

More than 200 children attended the conference (70 Foreign Delegates and 136 Japanese Delegates) from 35 countries, and the continents of Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Activities included field trips to observe how Japanese people harmonize their lifestyle with nature by planting trees and learning about biodiversity and climate. Delegates also made a biodiversity world map and exchanged information on the problems their countries faced, and shared opinions and solutions in regard to biodiversity conservation.

“It was a great honor for me to represent delegates and present the results of the biodiversity world map in front of Japanese government officers, UNEP officers, VIPs and invited students at the conference. I made a lot of friends with other delegates who have the same concerns about the environment all over the world,” said Adeline.

- From the The Climate Project’s Newsletter. Sign up here.

IY Indonesia Gets to Work on 10/10/10

November 9th, 2010

10/10/10: A Global Party for Everyone
By Hamzah Ramadhan

On 10/10/10, people all over the world joined a party to fight climate change in their communities. Members of Inconvenient Youth, a program of the Alliance for Climate Protection, participated in events around the globe. Here is one story from an IY member in Bandung, Indonesia.

There are many things that could be done to celebrate 10/10/10. On that day, I had a chance to join the Inconvenient Youth in TCP’s Indonesia Global Work Party and visited Bandung’s Technology Institute Arts Festival.

TCP asked participants to engage two friends to take personal action in the fight against climate change. Many guests came during the event, like the representative from the “Bike to Work” organization, which promotes bicycling instead of driving when possible. The Indonesian branch of Inconvenient Youth gave a talk about the organization. During the event, we were also fortunate to meet a new friend name Zahra. She has been chosen to be an ambassador in raising literacy awareness. The reason she came to the event was to learn more about the issue on climate change. Therefore, IY is excited to get to know more about her.

On the same day, I got a chance to visit Bandung’s Institute of Technology Arts Festival. What makes me amazed with the event is that, the artist exhibited some installations that were beyond our imagination. This showed me that any material from around us can be recycled and turned into something valuable.

In the end, 10/10/10 was a day of celebration for everyone. No matter where you live in the world, there is always something that you can share during this special day. Whether you met a new friend or ventured to an art exhibition, everyone had the same mission to increase our awareness in fighting the issue of climate change.

Slay Vampires with Inconvenient Youth

November 4th, 2010

Lurking in dark corners of your home are a legion of bloodthirsty vampires. Every day your electronics and appliances are silently sucking your electricity – even when they’re turned off! Just when you thought you were safe, these “vampire electronics” are draining you of energy and money. As long as their charger is plugged in, your gadgets are sucking you dry. In fact, the average electronic device consumes most of its energy when you’re not even using it.

The typical America household unwillingly loses 10% of its energy bill to Vampire Power, costing the U.S. an estimated $10 billion a year. This wasted energy produces 50 million tons of CO2; the equivalent of adding 11 million cars to our roads.

Only you can end this senseless inefficiency. Join us this Halloween and slay vampire power! Unplug your electronics when not in use or buy smart power strips!

Spread the word by posting:

“I’m slaying energy vampires. Join the hunt: http://bit.ly/vampirehunt

as an action on inconvenientyouth.org. If you do, you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of 25 IY t-shirts.

Happy Hunting!

- Grant

10/10/10: Getting to work on the climate crisis

October 21st, 2010

Last Sunday was October 10th, 2010: 10/10/10. Besides being a cool date, it was also the biggest day of environmental activism in the history of, well, ever. 350 – an amazing organization - coordinated this event. On 10/10/10 they organized 7,347 events in 188 countries where people got to work on the climate crisis.

These volunteers did everything from building community gardens, to riding bikes instead of driving, to putting up solar panels. The point was to send a clear message our political leaders that, ‘if we can get to work, so can you!’ Learn more about 10/10/10 and check out the pictures of my day winterizing an urban community garden:

Most of my time was spent pulling weeds and filling up this dumpster!

If you did something for 10/10/10, what was it? Comment below and send your pictures to youth@theclimateproject.org. If you didn’t, what can you commit to do to help fight climate change?

- Grant

Vote for IY’s own Matthew Evans

October 12th, 2010

IY Advisory Board member Matthew Evans is the founder of his own environmental organization, Discover Green – Young Environmental Leaders. Discover Green teaches students about environmental issues and gives them opportunities to take action on them. These include tree plantings, creek stewardship (trash and invasive species removal), native garden planting, trash pick up, e-waste drives, recycling presentations and storm drain marking to prevent water pollution.

Matthew founded Discover Green in 2008 when he was 15 years old. It’s been going strong for 2 years now. He needs your help, though. Discover Green is in the running to win a $20,000, $30,000 or $50,000 grant from JC Penney (the department store) through their JC Penney Cares program. He is in the top 3. Let’s help him get number 1. VOTE HERE

- Grant

IY Indonesia Strikes Again!

October 5th, 2010

Since June 2010, Inconvenient Youth Indonesia has tried their best to spread the news about the role of younger generations in fighting climate change. On the 26th of September 2010, we were lucky to work with an NGO called CISV (Children’s International Summer Village). The focus of their organization is to promote peace and friendship all over the world. Both of us are worked together in making an event called “Peace One Day: Greenade the Concrete” to celebrate the “International Peace Day” on 21st September 2010. The main focus of the event was to understand that peace can be reached by realizing the importance in protecting environment.

During the preparation of event, we were confused on what type of the participants would like. However, by adopting the idea of “greener environment” we came up with 7 different games. Recycling used paper, making art work from used water bottle, and making paper bag from used newspaper are just some of the activities that the participants enjoyed during the event.

The games were designed to not only entertained, but also emphasize on the awareness of the utilization of waste materials. For example, the committee decided to use a used newspaper instead of new paper to create a poster that had a theme of “green issues”. Also, plastic water bottles were turned into unique artwork with each participant using their own creativity. They were challenged to create an installation that reflected the idea of being green.

In the end of the day, everyone who joined the event got the best of both worlds. They didn’t just come home with sweat from hard work, but with a whole new knowledge. We at Inconvenient Youth Indonesia believe that there is so much that can be done to promote the message of climate change among our own community. The presentation could be one of the main medium; however we realized that this can be an alternate way to achieve the goal. In the near future, the CISV is willing to let us join their event in March/April 2011 to assist them in making a bio-pore project.

- Hamzah Ramadhan, IY Advisory Board and TCP Presenter

All For One

October 1st, 2010

On the 25th September 2010, Inconvenient Youth members Adeline, Rama, and Maira got a chance to join the TCP Indonesia event called Greenfest 2010. Inconvenient Youth was lucky to have a slot during their training session in the city of Bandung, and gave a presentation to the 250 person audience made up of different university students from around the area.

It was really scary at first since we never expected to have so many attendees to see our presentation. The audience mostly came from graduate students and the professor community. Our main concern was that they would ignore our presentation because our points might not be impressive.

Our presentation was scheduled around 3:30 in the afternoon. Gracefully we went to the stages, thinking of this as a challenge of being a young presenter. As it turned out, much of the audience were really putting their full attention on our presentation. At least 3 participants are eager to ask questions on our experience and inspiration on doing this type of activism.

We believed that the key to the presentation was using our real life examples. Therefore, the audience felt more personal with the ideas that are presented. For example, Maira’s said that, “…climate change is connected to poverty and other social issue…” which indicated her concern by knowing the effect of climate change. While Rama’s said, “…while many others think that climate change is not an important causes to be fighting for, I want to be the pioneer in this school that thinks that this important”. Not to mention Adeline, that stated “…I’ve been involved in this issue since 4 years ago. I want to keep doing this.”

The approximately 250 people that attended the event now realize the role of teenagers in fighting climate change. We didn’t offer solutions for the next 10 years, instead we suggested simple actions such as recycling or riding a bicycle can make a great impact. It was a challenging presentation for us, but we did well and left with more confidence. It was a great day for all of us who joined the event.

- Hamzah Ramadhan, IY Advisory Board and TCP Presenter

10/10/10

September 28th, 2010

October 10th, 2010 – 10/10/10 – is going to be one of the biggest days of environmental activism ever. 350 is organizing their Global Work Party, and it’s going to be HUGE. 350 is an organization founded and led by climate activist extraordinaire Bill McKibben. 350 refers to parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; the number that scientists agree we must get below if we want to avoid the worst affects of climate change. Their mission is to build an international movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. Watch this 90 second VIDEO to learn more about them.

In October of 2009, 350 organized 5,200 simultaneous rallies in 181 countries to show our world leaders that they need to act on climate change. Unfortunately, our leaders are moving too slowly. So, 350 is ready to do it again, bigger than ever.

On 10/10/10 people in over 150 countries will gather to do work in their community that helps deal with climate change. The Global Work Party will prove to our political leaders that the world cares about climate change and that we can solve it. Together, we will make our voices heard. Read this letter from Bill McKibben to learn all the details and then FIND A WORK PARTY NEAR YOU!

- Grant

Argentina

September 23rd, 2010

We’re back! Last week the IY staff, Sam and myself, along with Kathryn from The Climate Project (TCP), went to Argentina (read the pre-trip post). It was awesome! We were hosted by Fundacion MAS, an organization founded and operated by seven partners, two or which are TCP Presenters Laureano Delarmelina and Laureano Balmaceda. MAS stands for Muchas Acciones Suman, which means “many actions add up”. Fundacion MAS is an Argentine program that educates schools, students 13-18, teachers and their families about climate change and inspires them to take simple steps to reduce their carbon emissions.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Hey, that sounds like this other teen-environmental-organization-of-awesomeness I know’. Well you’re right (spoiler: it’s us!). We really enjoyed seeing them work and learned a lot from their program. We also loved traveling to Argentina. It’s a beautiful place.

Over the course of four days, we got to know the members of MAS, learned about the program, and were fortunate enough to see it in action. MAS presents to students both in, and out of, schools. Sessions begin with a TCP Presentation (pictured) from one of the Presenters. Students then participate in games and activities that showcase the power of alternative energy, like racing solar-powered matchbox cars, or teach them more about how their own carbon footprint, like the personal emissions calculator program the Mr. Balmaceda has created.

All of us at Inconvenient Youth are very grateful to MAS for the opportunity to see their work in person and we look forward to working more with them in the future. Check out the pictures below!

1 Students racing solar powered cars.

2 Inspiring student art made from reclaimed material.

3 The Carbon Footprint Calculator in action!

4 Sam, Kathryn and I with students in Rosario, Argentina.

For more photos from the trip, check out our facebook page.

- Grant