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Alec fights global warming

In 2006, when Alec Loorz was 12 years old, he watched An Inconvenient Truth—twice. Startled by its conclusion that global warming is ruining the delicate balance of life and threatening his future, he was eager to share the news with his friends—but some weren’t very receptive.

Alec leads an iMatter March
Alec leads a climate change protest

“One of my friends started going off about how ‘global warming isn’t real’ and saying it’s all a hoax,” remembers Alec. Frustrated and determined to prove him wrong, Alec went home and stayed up until 2 in the morning, researching the facts and putting together a presentation. “Something just clicked,” Alec says. “I realized that this is what I'm called to do.”

“Every young person has the potential to become an activist.”– Alec Loorz

Eager to spread what he’d learned to as many people as possible, Alec applied to be trained as one of the thousands of Inconvenient Truth presenters, but he was rejected because they thought he was “too young.” Unphased, he decided to do it himself—and began giving his own presentation to schools all over California. Almost every group of kids he’s spoken to has been receptive, although sometimes it seemed like they wouldn’t be, says Alec:

Alec Loorz presents to a crowded school auditorium
Alec has spoken to 100,000+ people

“I gave a presentation at a high school in a really conservative community in Orange County, California. Beforehand, the teachers were saying I was bringing ‘political propaganda’ and they were threatening to get their churches to picket outside my presentation. When I first started talking, kids were yelling out things like ‘Al Gore is a liar,’ but when I finished speaking they applauded for two minutes straight. There were 750 students at that presentation, and over 500 of them signed up to be part of an action team that day.”

Similar things happen wherever Alec speaks. “I think this whole generation can feel inside of them that there’s a crisis,” explains Alec. “They just need someone to tell them that they can do something about it.”

Alec in Washington DC
Alec delivers over 40,000 signatures

Encouraged by his success, in 2008 Alec formed a non-profit organization called Kids vs Global Warming with the mission of educating his generation about the science of climate change and empowering them to take action. While continuing to give his presentations, Alec created the Sea Level Awareness Project, which places signs in coastal communities across the country to show residents how much of their city will be submerged by water if global warming continues melting arctic ice at the current rate. Alec also created the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels, which was signed by over 40,000 youth and presented to representatives in Washington DC.

In 2010, after giving his presentation to over a hundred thousand people all over the country, Alec announced the iMatter March. On Mothers Day, May 8th 2011, youth across the country and in cities all over the world will march in the streets to demand that their parents and governments act as if the future matters. Furthermore, these activists will become plaintiffs in lawsuits that charge the government with negligence in preserving the environment for the youngest generations. “If we as a species don’t make the right decisions now, then my generation will be stuck dealing with the disasters that the generations before us have created,” says Alec. “We have all the technology and resources to do this; all it’s going to take is people realizing we need to do it now.”

Alec with Dr. James Hansen
Alec w/ Dr. James Hansen, NASA

Although Alec has become a poster child for an entire generation, he’s quick to point out that he’s not alone. “No matter how much it seems like all we as youth care about is video games and friends, we have this inherent sense of calling about climate change. It’s up to us, the youngest generation, to stand up and ignite a movement that will change the mindset of every person on this planet.”

And as for Alec’s disbelieving friend, who unwittingly sparked Alec’s passion and started him on this journey? “I think I may have changed his mind; he'll just never admit it.”