Passionate Teen Takes on Global Warming

“Let’s now work together to change the world…and not just occupy it.”

This is the mantra of an environmentalist trained by Al Gore, winner of many environmental awards, and founder of an environmental nonprofit organization for kids.  What is unusual is that he’s done all of this before he turned 16.

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Alec Loorz, a young man from Ventura, California, saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” when he was 12, and, after a heated discussion with a friend about the reality of global warming, decided he needed to know more about the science behind it.

He applied to become one of 1000 people being trained to give Al Gore’s slide show presentation featured in “An Inconvenient Truth,” but was denied by the organization because he was too young.

He decided to start giving his own presentation anyway.

Loorz modified his presentation to make it easier for his peers to understand, and began delivering it to schools, community groups, and conferences in California and across the country, including at the United Nations.  

In 2008, Gore took notice, and he invited 14-year-old Loorz to be trained to give the “Inconvenient Truth” presentation.

Loorz started his organization, Kids vs. Global Warming, as a way for kids to learn more about climate change and take action against it.  While visiting National Geographic headquarters in Washington, Loorz said that kids are in a unique position to speak up on environmental issues–they will inherit the consequences of the action or inaction of today’s decision makers, and don’t have a political voice, which would normally complicate the issue.  The issue is survival for his generation, said Loorz, not the economic, social, and security concerns Americans are worried about today. 

One of Kids vs. Global Warming’s projects involved placing large poles on the beach in Ventura marking places that would be underwater if sea levels rose.  Another major project of the organization is the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels, which Loorz wrote when he was 15 and had checked over by NASA climatologist James Hansen.  The petition will be sent to President Obama and other key leaders that make decisions about the environment.

Loorz and his organization are now planning a nationwide, and possibly worldwide, million-kid march for 2011.  To help organize the effort, they are using a social networking iPhone application.  The first version of the iMatter app is available now, and will help kids to connect with other kids that are doing greening projects inspired by the organization’s iMatter campaign–things like encouraging biking, planting trees, hanging laundry, changing lightbulbs, and more.  A second version of the app with an interactive map is planned for release, and a companion Web site is also in the works. 

James Robertson


Human Journey

Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn