Article in Science / Environment / Climate Change
Alec Loorz, a 15-year old from Ventura, California, indeed bears out the truth of the adage that age should never prove to be a barrier in the pursuit of change, excellence, and transformation. Co-founder of the group Kids Versus Global Warming, Alex has truly made a difference for three years now.
 
 
 

Making a Huge Difference for the Past Three Years

Alec Loorz, a 15-year old from Ventura, California, is making a tremendous difference in the fight against global warming. At the age of 12, in response to deep concern that he felt after watching Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, Alec co-started the group Kids Versus Global Warming (KVGW), with his mother Virginia, which is a group of young people whose mission it is to educate other youth about the science of global warming and to train and empower them to take action (http://ecohearth.com/, 2010).

Alec’s First Efforts to Get Involved with Al Gore’s Climate Project (CP) Shunned

It became very clear to Alec and Virginia that he would have to mobilize kids because, ironically, owing to his youth he got a chilly reception when he applied to be a presenter for Mr. Gore’s Climate Project (CP), a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening public awareness of global warming and climate change. After making 30 presentations of his own relative to the perils of climate change and sea-level rise, however, Alec was invited by Mr. Gore to train to become a presenter for CP, thus becoming its youngest member.

America’s and the World’s Energy-Use Policies Must Change Dramatically

Alec and his mother Virginia feel very strongly that America’s policy leaders at the federal, state, and county/parish, and local levels have been far too slow in responding to the global warming and climate-change crisis and that it is thereby incumbent upon him, and those younger than himself, to press hard for systemic change to move radically away from fossil fuels to alternative fuel sources such as: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and bio. Kids Versus Global Warming (KVGW) believe that global warming and climate change will most adversely affect their generation and those younger and that they have to take decisive action to change America’s energy-use practices and eventually the world’s energy-use policies.

The Sea-Level Awareness Project (SLAP)

In 2008, Alec, Virginia, and KVGW conducted their first major project. That is, the Sea-Level Awareness Project, or SLAP. KVGW collaborated with other youth groups and planted over 100 poles around Ventura to depict the projected future rise of the sea in Ventura if current global-warming trends continue. The SLAP initiative garnered Alec third place in the International Young Eco-Hero Awards Competition in 2008 (Ecohearth.com, 2010). Subsequent to Alec having won third place, SLAP has spread throughout California and locales as distant as New York state and Washington D.C.

KVGW Employs Three Major Strategies

In alignment with its vision, KVGW’s employs three major strategies in the conduct of its mission (http://kids-versus-global-warming.com/, 2010): 1) Educate; 2) Activate; and 3) Advocate. Upon invitation from a school, Alec will make a presentation there and educate youth as to the perils of global warming and how they can get involved in anti-global-warming initiatives and in how they can organize a group at their school. Alec then teaches the students how they can become involved in activating themselves at their school, at home, and in their community. And third, Alec encourages the students to avail themselves to leadership training through an evolving organization called California Climate Council of Youth, or C3Y, which he and his mother Virginia have formed. C3Y, in short, is the training arm of KVGW which equips youth with the servant leadership and advocacy skills necessary to make a difference in their home, school, neighborhood, city, county, state, nation, and world in terms of reducing the emission of CO2 and decreasing the insidious advance of global warming and climate change.

One-Million Person March Slated for Mother’s Day Sunday, May 8, 2011

In addition to the activities noted above, Alec, his mother, and KVGW are organizing for the iMatter March: One Million Kids Stand Up for Their Planet an event which has been scheduled for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, 2011, with marches planned nationwide and overseas. Related to the planning and execution of this huge event, and the conduct of other events, is the development of the iMatter application i.e. app, for I-Phones, which is designed to assist environmentally involved youth in organizing, information sharing, and collaborating in their initiatives.

Steps for Reducing Global Warming and Climate Change

Additionally, KVGW on the Solutions page of its web site delineates practical steps that children, youth, and adults can take to combat global warming and climate change.

  • Bicycling—If it is safe to do so, children and youth should insist on being allowed to ride their bicycles to school rather than being driven. This, of course, has to be a matter of parental discretion and permission.
  • Children and youth should urge their parents to use alternative energy sources such as solar panels or windmill-driven electric power generation to reduce the carbon imprint of their respective families.
  • Young people should encourage their families and neighbors to recycle their newspapers, most especially their Sunday papers to reduce the number of trees cut for paper production. Moreover, kids should encourage more thorough recycling efforts in their schools and neighborhoods.
  • Children and youth should urge people not to use plastic bottles as their production requires 1.5 million barrels of oil each year.
  • Many dryers are not energy efficient and consume large amounts of electricity so young people should urge their parents to hang their wet clothes outside to dry which was the custom in many parts of the country 50-years ago.
  • Children and youth should also encourage their parents to buy local and to plant their own gardens to be as self-sufficient in terms of food and to reduce the need for the transport of foodstuffs from thousands of miles away which is a huge burner of dirty fossil fuels.
  • Normal incandescent light bulbs are very wasteful and should be replaced with LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs, which, if everyone were to do so, would be the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road for a year. (Kids Versus Global Warming, 2010).
  • Young people, and people of all ages, should be encouraged to plant trees on a consistent basis and to put pressure on governmental, agricultural, and industrial companies around the world to use forests much more judiciously and to engage in much more aggressive re-plantation and conservation endeavors.
  • Young people are also urged to sign the Kids Versus Global Warming’s Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

Conclusion

The challenges which Alec and his generation, and other generations, face in reversing global warming and climate change are daunting, but Alec and his mother, among others, have made very bold and decisive steps in terms of calling for much more sustainable industrial, agricultural, and industrial practices. Changes will have to be sweeping and systemic and may require many years to see a significant reduction in carbon emissions and a corresponding reduction in global warming and climate change. The consequences of not making very large systemic changes could well be cataclysmic and could well result in the very severe degradation of the entire biosphere, fauna, flora, and human living environments. For further information on the types of changes required please read Thomas L. Friedman’s landmark book entitled “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”—www.thomaslfriedman.com

 
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