You've met ERICA, age 12
You've met ALEXANDRA, age 15
Our Girl Scouts Cookies cause burning of forests and extinction of species
that our scout sisters in those countries fight to save … how does this make any sense?
Read MADI + RHIANNON's story
Madi and Rhiannon were preparing for their Girl Scout Bronze Award, when they discovered a shocking fact. And it was right in time for their favorite treat: Girl Scout cookies!
The 11 year old friends were researching the endangered Orang Utan and found that the production of palm oil contributes to the destruction of the Orang Utan’s rainforest habitat.
In a powerful online campaign, they mobilized over 70,000 supporters and generated such immense media coverage that Girl Scouts USA adopted a palm oil policy for their products as a result.
Way not enough, said Madi and Rhiannon, but GS just sent them a formal note like ‘since you’re no longer Girl Scouts, we won’t talk to you anymore. We stand in solidarity with our bakers’.
Bakers, yo, as if it was baker Joey next door. It’s Kellogg’s and ABC Bakers!
So, they wrote to the bakers, and those responded right away, since the idea that kids stare at their mushy corn flakes thinking those are are produced with a toll of destroying Earth and burning great apes scared them …
Kellogg’s, and even Wilmar, who transport half of the world’s palm oil, sat down with them and developed the industry’s most advanced tracking mechanism.
Two teens achieved where big organizations had failed for decades – and are the first youth to be recognized with the UNITED NATIONS Forest Hero Award.
Take up the baton
But it is far from enough.
The rainforests are burning worse than ever, criminals have caused fires over thousands of miles clouding neighboring countries, causing deaths and schools to close. Worse, industry now cuts down African forests, too, claiming it gave poor people good jobs. It doesn’t. First of all, little labor is required and the work is dull and badly paid. When young people visited a plantation in South America surrounded by barbed wire they even got shot at by security. That’s not like your apple farm.
Why do we even use palm oil? It is usually used “for longer shelf life”, but have a good look at what products we are talking about – mushy cakes, dry soups… think of homemade cakes … do you add palm oil? No. Do you add it to soups? No. Yukky! Those dry soups and plastic wrapped cakes and sugar smeary chocolate bars are just cheap bad quality COPIES of real food that are not made with the intention to feed people (like farmers do) but only to make money. No one needs that!
Madi and Rhiannon have proven that youth have the power to protect rainforests, Orangs and people … with a determined NO to dirty palm oil. But it will take an entire generation to choose : magnificent rainforests full of animals OR mushy shelf foods.
Good thing is – no one really needs those any longer. We can grow real food, now.
Take this campaign global – it is in your hands!
When our water is under threat, there is only one thing to do.
Read ROBYN's story
Robyn is not the only student who has seen films documenting how bad practices in business and politics have led to water pollution, soaring prices, and very bad health effects, even in her water rich country of Canada.
But Robyn has turned her shock into action! She joined a powerful coalition of experts and citizens who have crafted a solution to safeguard water aquifers and rivers and provide abundant clean water for generations to come.
Robyn is their youngest speaker asking town councils to become ‘Blue Communities’ by passing legislation that water services stay public, banning bottled water, and making clean water a human right.
Hold your seat: Robyn made 27 cities turn Blue in one year, more than two per month! At AGE THIRTEEN.
Now she is training kids and teens like you to be Water Warriors, able to protect their abundant, clear and cheap water for the future!
That’s your #1 step to protect cheap fresh water in abundance for your region’s future to keep the peace.
We have the right to know what we are buying and putting into our bodies, boobs and babies.
Read RACHEL's story
Rachel is a passionate advocate of food safety, full transparency and the right to know what we are eating.
At 12 years old, she learned about the mounting evidence that Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, pose risks to our health, environment and bees.
Considering that GMOs are labelled in 60 countries, but contained in over 70% of foods in Canadian grocery stores, and people unknowingly feed them to their children, Rachel founded “Kids Right to Know” to convince government to label GMOs, and to conduct long-term studies to determine if GMOs contaminated with low and high doses of extreme poisons are safe.
Industry claimed that these would never create resistence or accumulate in water. But today, superbugs and -weeds cover entire regions, and glyphosate is found in rain, drinking water, human bodies, even wombs and breast milk; notably in up to 100 x higher concentration in GMO-fed Americans.
Rachel speaks at conferences, meets experts, farmers and holds marches. One epic TV debate has 9+ million views. Aware that 1 in 3 children today suffer from chronic disease, like leaky gut, diabetes, cancer and life-threatening allergies, Rachel confronted the Minister of Health with medical data showing rising cancer rates and horrible birth defects in soy production regions.
The meeting unveiled that no ministry is even in charge of GMO labelling. Rachel and youth are no longer waiting, but learn genius people-powered solutions good for soils, plants, animals, and producing super high yields.
Learn with Rachel and create the good food systems in town!
9 million views
National awareness grows
North America’s face for GMO labelling
Unveils that Health Canada only does 90 day tests on GMO impacts on mammal organism, ignoring that infertility and tennis ball sized cancer appear in 2nd and 3rd generation rats
Confronts Monsanto CEO at Monsanto shareholder meeting
Smear attacks by industry and “pseudo scientists”
Visits India’s ‘Suicide Belt’ and ‘Monsanto County’ in Argentina
Hands reports of epidemic birth defects in Bayer Monsanto’s GMO soy cultivation regions of Argentina to Canada’s Minister of Health
Passes on expert reports on decades of false promises, lies and cover ups by Monsanto
Unveils that no Canadian ministry is even in charge of GMO health safety
If you’re so proud of GMOs
and you care so much for us consumers
– why not label them?
None of us consented to having poison in our food and lakes,
but almost everybody is peeing glyphosate today, also Europeans. It’s Boss Battle time. Be relentless.
learn from Rachel’s website kidsrighttoknow.org about GMO myths, failures and hazardous impacts, and join her activities to protect and restore landscapes, edible landscapes and proper food for people. YL offers a bunch of such projects and programs. You will need that for your Good Future.
If there’s no proper food to buy in a neighborhood, it’s time we grow our own – starting a pre-schools.
Read SOPHIE's story
„The shelves are just stacked with pretzels, chips and cookies“ – that’s not a real food bank! No good for kids to grow up on. A 12 year old knows this.
Bling, came Sophie’s 13th B’day – with Bat Mitzwah, celebrations, ideas for community service, and gift money – to start a garden; at home, plus at the local preschool. “Yes, mom and dad, I am doing this, just watch me.” So did a flock a tiny kids, asking plenty of questions. “Preschoolers are eager to learn and try new things,” says Sophie.
“School plots offer unique opportunities. Have them plant, pick, and taste their own school garden’s fresh vegetables, and they’ll know that tomatos don’t come … from the store”. When riots broke out in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, Sophie decided to address social injustices in her way; by greening that “food desert”.
She launched Grow Healthy, offering low-income child care centres, schools and shelters to kick off gardens, along with a curriculum to teach about fresh food and gardening. Two gardens became 28, producing 30,000 pounds of free, fresh greens for families.
Using a GIS tool to detect the most efficient locations, her 772 youth volunteers have gifted over 38,000 hours to building gardens, delivering workshops, and watching kids get their hands dirty, pick and taste the fruits of their love and labor.
There’s a million preschools on Earth, and as many reasons to have a garden, be it micro, vertical, on the roof, along the road or at the park.
We think you should do that at 2 schools + 1 public space.
Once I realized that that ‘pork’ on my plate meant pig I started crying.
Read CHLOE's story
Chloe was 6 when she developed a love for pigs. Tears welled up whenever she heard of people eating ‘pork’. Her decision was set.
Developing witty methods for replacing meat at home, at school, anywhere, Chloe switched to a non-killing diet.
When she heard of cruelties on dairy and egg farms, she knew it was time for a vegan diet. Unsure at first, just like her parents, they soon realized that it is not a big deal!
Chloe soon noticed, that “many teens wanted to change to their preferred diet, but had little power over what they ate,” at home, at school, at summer camp. Her experiences turned out to be precious for friends, too!
They form “VegYouth” clubs at school, inspiring and empowering each other for lightly living their favourite lifestyle: free from harm, guilt and health worries, peaceful, and full of yummy surprises!
It did not take long until Chloe got noticed, as she contacted vegan activists and organizations for interviews and asked foundations for support. Within weeks, VegYouth got featured on various websites and media as the first ever connection between veganism and teens!
25 clubs sprang up at schools and colleges and Chloe scored grants to help them realize cool project ideas. Become part and start your own VegYouth club, using the superb resources on her website!
A note on Adult Allies. There’s geniuses and we work with them.
More examples later
After years of seeing my students grow bigger, sicker and learning disabled,
I decided that no kid should have to leave its neighborhood to live, learn and earn in a better one.
- Attendance before Green Bronx Machine 40% 40%
- Attendance with Green Bronx Machine 90% 90%
What happened next
Edible landscape projects grew into school halls, yards, empty lots, subway pillars, to skyscraper roofs and restaurant indoor waterfalls.
Stephen packaged the model for use by other educators as National Health & Wellness Learning Centre. It quickly spread to 2,500 schools.
Next day, he was in the World Teacher Prize final. Well deserved.
Essential Insight #7
Youth growing up as changemakers through their teenage years need not worry about getting a job selling out their values and kissing up to awful people.
They shape their own path of “making a living” aligned with their values and doing what they love.
Benefits of living high impact youth leadership as one’s sport include
- being true to one’s values = mental health
- constant upliftment
- see impact and success unfold
- feel one’s agency
- life at school is awesome
- team up with teachers
- unite with peers across classes and years
- connect with like-hearted people
- experience true friendship
- meet adults at eye level; incl parents, teachers, mayors, journalists …
- meet world class changemakers, coaches and experts … as family
- develop ace skills
- trust in one’s skills and those of others
- presence in media
- CV of Awesome
- open doors all over the planet
- positive worldview
- positive outlook on the future
- magical moments
- lifelong memories
- leading a life of adventure
We like it.
We want to make this life available
- to young people with good aspirations for people and planet
- to their adult allies
- to hero*ines
- to YL staff
also because those with the HEART to give their lifetime for people and planet DESERVE IT.
This kind of a rich life also makes people a better person, a better friend, companion, parent, boss and changemaker. Which is good for people and planet. After all, we have a planet to save.
So let’s meet youth that rock for THE ENVIRONMENT.