When 12-year-old Alec Loorz discovered Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, he was galvanized into action. According to the Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative, he wrote to The Climate Reality Project and asked to be a presenter.
Thirty presentations later, Al Gore took notice of the young firebrand and invited Loorz to a training session. He also signed him on as the organization’s youngest presenter. By the time Loorz was chosen as a New Leaders 2009 Award Winner, he had already given over 100 presentations, launched a Sea Level Awareness Project, won numerous awards and co-founded Kids vs. Global Warming along with his mother, Victoria Loorz.
Out of all this grew the global iMatter Campaign, described on the Facebook site:
The iMatter Campaign is a global movement that inspires people to LIVE AS IF THE FUTURE MATTERS. In every state. In all nations: United by a call to the ruling generation to consider the future of their grandchildren with every decision. We must stop using fossil fuels and transition to a sustainable and just world. Join the movement – organize marches and campaigns, assert your legal right to a sustainable planet in courtrooms, speak out in your community, be part of the solution!
Since 2011 the group has stood up to power by training youth and supporting grassroots, legislative and judicial action. Youth are invited to apply to be Council members. Adults are encouraged to become mentors.
Alec Loorz continues to be the most visible public face of iMatter, but some very articulate youth are contributing to the blog, joining iMatter marches around the globe and speaking out on environmental issues.
Loorz and four other teenaged plaintiffs sued the U.S. government for inaction on climate change, demanding an annual six percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions starting in 2013. In May 2013 a federal district court decided in favour of the government. The plaintiffs and their legal representative vow to take the case on to the Court of Appeals.
Recently, James Hansen and some of his colleagues handed iMatter a rallying tool when they published a new paper, Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature. In it the scientists make the point that limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius “is too high and would subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm.”
iMatter, the youth called out in the posts below, and many others young people not yet featured here, are taking those in power to task for their inaction. They give me hope.
For more about youth actively addressing climate change, see
- Teen tackles climate change
- Youth step forward on climate change
- Youth will change the world
- Youth not waiting for adults to clean up their act
- A Song of our Warming Planet