Sitting at the table of decisions, I listened to the
conversation of implementing the Menominee community food system and the “One
World Youth Project” hub between my fellow economic advisers. The issue of
funding, acreage, and labor were the biggest problems of the community food
system. The One World Youth Project hub was traveling through the bureaucracy
where good ideas go to die. I felt a year of advocacy to the Menominee Tribal
Legislature, the Menominee Indian Economic Development Board, showing my Brower
Youth Award video with⁞ the help of friends on the inside to Obama
Administration officials, and the Embassy of Kurdistan had sealed the deal to
secure food sovereignty and begin building international relations for the
Menominee Nation, but I was wrong.
The launch of “Let’s Move in Indian Country”
on May 25, 2011 on the Menominee Indian Reservation inspired Menominee youth to
become leaders of the nation in nutrition and eating healthy. I sat in the
audience and felt proud to know I played a part in bringing national attention
to the work of the Menominee Nation. At the same time, Menominee’s broke ground
on the pilot acre devoted to the community garden. Two months later, the
Menominee Indian Economic Development Board and I broke ground for the new full
service grocery. After nine years of being a “food desert” as defined by the
United States Department of Agriculture, Menominee Reservation became one step
closer to being food secure.
Youth Project was an idea Jess Rimington and I collaborated on to open the door
for Menominee Reservation to house a educational hub to create 21st
century empowered globalized citizens. Two Brower Youth Awardees changing the
established order of the Menominee Reservation is no easy undertaking. Change
never happens on the Menominee Reservation quickly I’ve had to suck up in order
for acceptance of the fact. The effects of United States Federal Indian Policy
plague tribal governments throughout the United States and good ideas always
die within the bureaucracy. Jess and I decided to continue the fight for a One
World Youth Project hub on the Menominee Reservation. We hope to secure one in
the next five years.
grocery store and the launch of “Let’s Move in Indian Country” made me proud of
the work on the Menominee Reservation, I remembered the leadership teaching of
step up, step back. The youngest Menominee to serve on a governing body,
overseeing economic development for the tribe is a dream come true. A dream
though, not ready to become a reality. My yearlong experience as an economic
development adviser was eye opening. I found out my knowledge gained over the
years could only help me so far. I needed to continue my education and the path
of humility in order to become the true leader I’m destined to be.
resigning from my economic development adviser post, I traveled to Santa Fe,
New Mexico to accept an Americorp position at Earth Care International in
collaboration with the Santa Fe Food Policy Council. My objective to learn all
I can about the community food system in Santa Fe as well as the food system in
New Mexico. Working with the Santa Fe Food Policy Council and the New Mexico
Food and Agricultural Policy Council has allowed me to observe how food policy
councils work; And what not works.
International is an amazing place to work. The Food Cadre program, the one I am
a part of, works to systematically change the food system in Santa Fe. We are a
15-member group with nine members in the schools teaching nutrition and
sustainability. The last six members are placed in city, county, and local
non-profit organization positions affecting change throughout the community. I
work on food policy and outreach in the community. Beginning this spring, I
will be launching a local food awareness campaign to inspire community
residents to grow food for the community of Santa Fe.
Menominee Reservation is always the hardest thing for me to do. I love my
people and dedicated to the preservation of our language and culture that is
intertwined to the natural old growth forest we protect. Santa Fe has been a
holistic educational experience for me personally. I am learning how to build a
successful community food system, writing the culturally based curriculum
Menominee schools need, and healing myself from years of activism; one of the
toughest jobs in the world.
I met up with a friend and old co-worker from the Menominee Reservation. We
talked about life and our work. “Marcus, the grocery store you helped build has
been a blessing to our community and the reservation have been talking nonstop
about green economies,” my friend and old co-worker said. “The students at
Tribal School have been asking about you and when you will come back to teach
happiness and inspiration filled by body as tears fell from my face. “Tell the
students, the Muffin Man will return to educate and help build the green
economy with his fellow Menominee’s one day,” I answered. “For now I need to
continue my education, learn hands on how to build a community food system, and
travel to China to build international relations.”
My path has
been set for others to follow in my footsteps. My hope is for young people I
meet in communities I live in and on the Menominee Reservation become
environmental activists earning Brower Youth Awards, finding solutions to the
world’s problems through education, and committing acts of civil disobedience.
Recently, the Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, and the Republican Legislature
have pushed a mining bill to mine iron ore in Northern Wisconsin just above the
Menominee Reservation. I pray and hope everyday they do not mine for Northern
Wisconsin holds the Great Lakes Aquifer and key to fresh, clean waters for the
allow this to happen and if the day comes some entity tries to mine in Northern
Wisconsin, I will be there at the forefront using every creative non-violent
weapon, upholding the environmental activism David Brower instilled in the
minds of future generations.
January 31, 2012 For Immediate Release For Media Requests Contact: Kyle Thiermann firstname.lastname@example.org 831-334-7060 (cell) Film available on surfingforchange.com
“Surfing for Change: J Bay Nuclear Plant” is a new short film exploring the dangers of a planned nuclear power plant in the pristine shores of Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. Made by youth environmental activist, pro-surfer and filmmaker Kyle Thiermann, the film calls attention to the potential for environmental disaster if Eskom, South Africa’s national power company, locates the nuclear plant in the waters of one of the most famous surfing destinations in the world.
Featuring interviews with renowned environmental leader Van Jones, 11-time Surfing World champion Kelly Slater, documentarian Foster Gamble and local surfing activists, the film calls attention to the inherent dangers of nuclear power in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster — the largest nuclear failure since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.
Underscoring deep concerns about what’s at stake, the film also offers a personal perspective from Takayuki Wakita, a Japanese surfer whose family lived 100 kilometers from the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant and now resides in J Bay.
“Surfing for Change: J-Bay Nuclear Plant” available for free through viral web outlets like YouTube, challenges young people to take action and use social media channels to support global opposition to the power plant, encourage exploration of alternative energy sources and points to decisions made by leading European countries to abandon nuclear power plants —Germany will end its nuclear power plant usage in ten years.
Thiermann hopes the film will aid the efforts of local residents who are fighting against a billion dollar initiative that promises employment opportunities in the short term; but risks future environmental catastrophe. “I met amazing people working to stop the plant from being built,” he said. “If it is built, the landscape would be transformed with the building of a power plant. And, the lives of these residents will also be transformed. And not for the good.”
“Surfing for Change” film series shows people who don’t consider themselves activists how to adjust simple daily actions to strengthen their local communities and protect the environment. His film Claim Your Change detailed how money kept in multinational banks is used to finance destructive projects worldwide. It inspired people to move hundreds of million of dollars of lending power into local banks and credit unions. Since then, he has made movies ranging from the importance of shopping locally to following a plastic bag to Hawaii. Kyle has surfed his way across Indonesia, Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Australia, Hawaii and throughout the US. For more information visit surfingforchange.com.
Posted by Carra Beth Cheslin on January 30th, 2012 MobilizeU
university students have consistently been at the forefront of the
environmental movement, rallying and taking a stand for our planet. 2012 will
be a critical year for the environment; as our climate and natural environment
are rapidly changing, a host of major national elections occur, and the
prominent Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development takes the world stage. Thus
the time is now for universities to again lead the way in creating environmental
As part of Earth Day Network’s
global effort to Mobilize The Earth™, Earth Day University is activating
college students to join the MobilizeU movement and enable their campus
environmental initiatives to have a greater impact than ever before.
MobilizeU is an international competition between
colleges and universities that calls upon students to mobilize their
campus communities around four weeks of environmental activism surrounding
Earth Day 2012 (March 29 - April 29).
Over the month-long competition, students will organize activities such as
campus clean-ups, new voter registration drives and Earth Day events, as well
as amplify environmental initiatives they are already working on at their
Each of these
activities will be broken down into a calculable number of “acts of green” – actions
that either educate someone about the environment or reduce an individual’s
carbon footprint. During each week of the competition, School Coordinators from
each participating university will report the number of acts of green they generated
and post a creative photo or video documenting their efforts to the MobilizeU Facebook hub. A central
objective of MobilizeU is to build an international movement of student
environmental activists. Thus, student Regional Coordinators will be working to
initiate an exchange of ideas as well as a sense of community between students
across the world.
Every act of
green generated during MobilizeU will contribute to Earth Day Network’s global A Billion Acts of Green®
initiative which will be presented to world leaders at the Rio+20 Summit on
Sustainable Development this June. Thus, MobilizeU provides a platform for
college students to amplify their environmental initiatives on an international
level have a significant influence on global environmental change.
Posted by New Leaders Initiative on January 17th, 2012
Intern With New Leaders Initiative!
The New Leaders Initiative is seeking 2012 interns! As an intern with New Leaders Initiative, you’ll be involved in the exciting process of elevating bold, emerging, young leaders in the environmental movement through the Brower Youth Award as well as our various year-round programs. You will be exposed to some of the leading grassroots and national youth-led efforts and have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of working in an environmental non-profit. A typical day could consist of working in our office, conducting outreach on the phone and email, performing various research tasks, helping to organize an educational event, or promoting our work through various social media outlets. There may also be occasional visits to schools, organizations and to youth and environmental events around the Bay Area. Intern tasks vary seasonally according to our application and program cycle and they can be categorized into these broad areas:
Outreach & Communications
Application Recruitment & Processing
Event Planning - Media Outreach and Promotion
Event Planning - Soliciting for In-Kind Donations and Program Partners
• Recruitment: Assist our team in reaching out to a wide spectrum of schools, organizations and youth activists encouraging them to apply for our programs.
• Event Planning: Assist in creating dynamic events throughout the year as well as create a high-energy week of activities for Brower Youth Award recipients in October.
• Research & Archive: Aggregate information about potential partners, collaborators and archive organizations and individuals the program has been involved with in the past.
• Local Outreach: Telephone and e-mail outreach to grassroots groups, tabling at local events, short speaking engagements with campus and community groups.
• Fundraising: Research and contact potential foundations, corporations and in-kind sponsors.
You may also be asked to support other areas of the organization if help is needed.
Interns should commit 12-30 hours weekly. Internships will last 3-4 months in the spring and fall, and 2-3 months in the summer.
The intern must be comfortable and confident with public contact in person and over the phone. Resourcefulness and the ability and desire to take initiative and follow through projects until completion is essential. The intern must also be able to articulate needs to the rest of the New Leaders Initiative team. Familiarity with Word, Excel, e-mail and Google docs is necessary. Graphic design skills familiarity is a plus! And of course, a strong interest in youth environmental activism is key.
You will be interacting with some of our nation’s most dynamic young activists. Hone your people skills, organizing tools, web skills and get your feet wet with one of the best youth environmental organizations out there! In addition, we’re located in the David Brower Center- a hub of amazing and diverse environmental and social change organizations. Our office atmosphere is friendly, warm and relaxed!
Our internships are unpaid, but a transportation stipend may be available.
Send resume and brief letter of interest to Program Director, Anisha Desai at email@example.com. No calls please. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Social agitation in reaction to injustice
is an age-old phenomenon, and more recent activist movements have ranged
from the so-called slavery abolitionists of the early 19th century to
the African-American civil rights movement in the 1950s. According to
Sharon J. Smith, ‘climate justice is really the defining issue of our
generation’ and the modern day environmentalism movement is the focus of
her book, The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World.
The book acts as an eco campaigners almanac, a go-to guide for people
interested in making a positive difference to the environment. The
clever use of successful activist’s personal accounts and the
overwhelming enthusiasm with which it is imbued mean that Building a
Green Movement is more than just a guidebook.
Smith found inspiration for the book from her role as the program
advisor of Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Awards, which honours
some of the most successful environmental leaders in North America under
the age of 23. The book collates the remarkable stories of the winners
of this award and effectively uses them to construct a template to being
a green activist.
The book is divided into sections that should be on the agenda of all
budding eco activists, and include creating everything from an action
plan for your environmental initiative to garnering support and
followers, and gaining funding. Smith is methodical in her approach to
writing and each of her own tips and pointers tend to be backed up with a
‘success story’ of how they have been implemented by individuals in
The informal writing style used ensures that the book is very
accessible (and it is easy to glean the necessary information from it
quickly). At the close of each section the reader is presented with a
list of relevant resources such as research groups and networks to get
The book begins by impressing upon the reader the
imperative for change. One of the reasons cited to enact such change is
the stark fact that the current extinction rate of natural species is
more than ‘a thousand times higher than the natural rate’ but at no
point are the scare mongering tactics used by some environmentalists of
old employed in this work.
Instead, Smith takes a refreshingly different approach and focuses on
positive potential the youth of today posses to enact change. Clearly
Smith doesn’t believe overwhelming the reader with worst-case climate
change scenarios is the best way of getting an environmentalist’s
message to resonate with people, young or old, and I would
Ultimately, young people are the real
stars of this book and there is a wealth of young visionaries’ stories-
some of whom began their projects from as young as 9 years old! The
author cites that her inspiration comes from ‘the witnessing [of]
storytelling by individuals and groups who are courageously working on
these issues’. One of the most impressive is that of Alex Lin, an eleven
year old who became concerned with the growing amounts of discarded
electrical equipment or ‘e-waste’.
Not only did Alex set up a partnership with a recycling company to
install a permanent receptacle for e-waste in his hometown of Rhode
Island, but he also drafted a sample resolution to ban the dumping of
e-waste and lobbied the state legislators to adopt it. Through
determination and perseverance, Alex and his team proved instrumental in
making Rhode Island the fourth state in the US to adopt a bill
requiring the proper disposal of e-waste in 2006, achieving all of this
by the age of thirteen.
Stories such as this serve to prove that it’s not just the
multi-national companies and corporate lobbyists who have the power to
The all important inspiration can also be drawn from
activists from movements outside of the environmental realm and Smith
refers to the stand taken by Rosa Parks by refusing to obey the order of
a bus driver and how it ‘helped to incite the civil rights movement to
These stories of frustration and injustice can be a source of
motivation and Smith is acutely aware of the need for leaders in the
quest for ‘climate justice’. For those who are not natural born leaders,
and lets be honest few can boast the initiative of shown by young
individuals such as Alex, the book provides a great toolkit to help kick
start their own environmental activism journey.
The wealth of
practical information given in the book provides a roadmap for
burgeoning movements, and it will undoubtedly become an invaluable
resource for activists the world over. But perhaps the most unique
feature of the book is its potential ability to link individuals and
organisations so they can maximise the impact of their campaigns. In the
rousing words of the author ‘you can and you will change the world’.