MY STORY. I’ve spent my entire teenaged life as a climate change activist, teaching my peers about the natural imbalances caused by our burning of fossil fuels, and calling for a youth movement to call out and solve these problems.
I feel scared about the thought of growing up in a world where hurricanes as big as Katrina are normal; floods, droughts, and wildfires ravage homes and communities; ice melt is causing the sea level to rise and displace millions of people, and species I’ve come to know are going extinct.
My generation is dealing with the disastrous consequences of fossil fuel use. I know this personally. I grew up in a smoggy area of Los Angeles and because of that I now have very bad asthma, like many of my peers.
I almost feel betrayed by the ruling generation and those in power, for caring more about money and power than my health and survival, and the health and survival of my entire generation. Our atmosphere is not simply a garbage can to hold the waste of the fossil fuel industry. It is a very delicate system. My name is Alec, I am 17 years old, and I matter.
After I learned about the crisis facing my generation, I knew I had to do something about it....
Figure It Out.
Find out for yourself.
After I began to get push-back from people who didn't understand that the climate crisis was threatening our future, I knew I needed to know more than what I learned from Al Gore's movie. So I began to do research on the internet. A lot of scientific papers can be found online. And I got books and then I began to meet with scientists who did direct research and with politicians who understand how difficult it is to bring change when fossil fuel companies are pouring so much money into inaction. I talked to young people all over the country who are already making a difference, and engineers who are creating new technologies to break our addiction to fossil fuels. It's amazing how open people are to the curiosity of young people. They know how important our role is in this transition.
Al Gore and Dr Pachauri, IPCC
Mr Gore has done so much to awaken people. There are thousands like me who got started because of him.
I have spent so many hours researching online and have way too many books. There's so much information out there.
Dr James Hansen
is seriously the most brilliant climate scientist ever. And the most compassionate. Here he is signing the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels on behalf of his grandchildren.
Senator John Kerry
and other politicians recognize the important role we play in bringing change
I did an internship at JPL
JPL is the lab for NASA. I got to be there when Curiosity, the Mars Rover, landed, which was awesome. But I was there to work with the scientists who study the earth's systems and measure many of the climate changes on our planet.
In the halls of Congress
We met with many different Congresspeople in DC. I've learned that we have rights as citizens to be heard by our elected officials. They have a very hard job. I don't think I want to do it someday.
is one of my greatest heroes. I've learned so much from him about standing up for what you believe...no matter what the consequences.
Lisa Shaffer, my mentor
Formerly the Assoc Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Lisa has always taken me seriously and given me confidence and opened up many doors. I'm so grateful for meeting her when I was first getting started.
Senators Boxer and Kerry
This is from the day I delivered the first 10,000 youth names from the Declaration of Independence from Fossil fuels.
The People of Ecuador
I was honored to be given a scholarship to go to Ecuador with Pachamama Alliance to meet the people of the rainforest and the Andes. I learned so much from these beautiful indigenous people.
Saw the melting glaciers first hand
I went to Iceland with National Geographic and for the first time felt with deep emotion the tragedy of the climate crisis. These massive glaciers that have been here for so long...are melting at a rate faster than scientists predicted.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
and California EPA Secretary Linda Adams toured the Green Cities conference with me after I was keynoted the conference.
100,000 year old ice!
I'm holding a piece of ice that is tens of thousands of years old. Scientists like Dr Jeff Severinghaus from Scripps Instution of Oceanography take samples of ice cores to measure the CO2 throughout the years.
I went to Indonesia to keynote a conference and got to spend a few days meeting the people who live there.
Colleages from ACE
I worked for a year with the Alliance for Climate Education. They are an amazing group who has reached nearly 2 million high school students with their awesome presentation.
Micro-organisms at the ocean floor
show how much the pH balance is messed up. The scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography showed me how the shells of tiny creatures are not forming right because of ocean acidification.
Your authentic passion can open doors
After I saw An Inconvenient Truth, I was freaked out about what was happening...and was infuriated that there were people who were preventing action. I applied to be trained by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project, but they told me I was too young. So I went ahead and made my own presentation and began to give them in schools throughout California. By the time I was 14, I was trained by Mr Gore but I kept most of my presentation because I discovered my own voice and a way of communicating to my peers from the perspective of people in my generation. I've been given lots of opportunities, but when I got started, I didn't have anything. I had no money, no connections, no idea how to do this. I just felt this passion to reach people with a message that I felt needed to get out. And the doors opened. You can do the same thing. Look inside yourself and discover your passion and then make a commitment to DO SOMETHING....and see what a difference you can make.
Keynotes and Speeches
Alec has keynoted hundreds of conferences and events throughout his teenage life. Here is a selection of a few of his speeches:
We Will Be Impossible to Ignore.
Bioneers, October 2010.
Common Sense for a New Generation.
TEDxSan Diego, December 2011.
The Sickness Underlying the Climate Crisis.
Powershift Rocky Mountain, March 2012.
We Need a Revolution.
TEDxSanta Barbara, October 2010.
Our Movements United for Change.
OccupyLA, October 2011.
Youth in Motion.
Institute of the Golden Gate, April 2009.
Urgency in Our Activism.
TEDxRedmond, November 2010.
We Must Change the Dream in the North to Save the Planet. Pachamama Alliance, November 2011
We Aren't on the Fringes Anymore.
Worldlink Conference, February 2007.
What We Need is Common Sense.
AREday, August 2011.
Sampling of Alec's Keynote Speeches
Bioneers Conference, San Rafael CA 13,000 attendees, 10/10
Global Issues Network, Jakarta Indonesia, 1000 students, 4/11
Alaskan Student Government Leaders, Cordova Alaska, 4/11
Festival of Faith, Louisville KY, 11/11
Pachamama Fundraiser Keynote, 11/11
Rancho la Puerta fundraiser, San Diego, 11/10
AREday, Aspen CO 08/09, 08/10, 08/11
TEDx Talks, Santa Barbara, Redmond, San Diego, 07/10, 10/10, 11/11
Powershift Rockies, Montana 10/11
RIO+20 Youth Congress, Rio de Janiero Brazil, 12/11
Worldlink Conference, San Diego (700 students) 1/08
Environmental Youth Conference, LA (5000+ students) 12/08
Turning the Tide Conference, Institue of Golden Gate, 4/09
UN World Information Transfer, NY 04/09
Repower America Rally, Pittsburgh (1000s union workers) 09/09
COP15 UNCCC convention, Copenhagen Denmark 12/09
National Council for Science and the Environment, DC, 1/010
Museum of Natural History, NYC 3/10
Earth Day Anniversary Event, National Mall DC, 4/10
Bloomberg LP Earth Day for employees, NY 4/10
Youth Environmental Conference, Los Angeles (10,000 students)
To Book Alec Loorz as a speaker at your event, please contact Alec's manager, Paul Bassis.
Let's Make it Happen.
I started Kids vs Global Warming when I was 13 because I couldn't find another organization that would take me seriously and help me with my vision to stop global warming within my lifetime. I know that sounds impossible, but I believe that we, as a generation, are called to be the ones to break through the politics and the denial and awaken our nation to the possibility that we can live and govern as if our future matters. Our lives depend on it.
SLAP: Sea Level Awareness Project
The first project I organized when I was in middle school was called SLAP, the Sea Level Awareness Project. It bothered me that nobody in my coastal town of Ventura, CA was really paying attention to the threats of climate change. I came up with a way to make it more visible to people: a series of nine foot poles along the coastline that shows people that we will be underwater if we do nothing about the climate crisis.
I worked with a group of about 50 of my fellow middle schoolers to design and install these poles along the beach and we met with the City of Ventura to get their cooperation. The poles are still up today, five years later, and have helped the City Council to include sea level rise in their planning. Now there are poles in several other cities as well, and one of the original poles can be seen at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.
"You Will Be Underwater Here"
Poles show the sea level
if we don't change our emission patterns and Greenland melts.
Poles show what will be underwater
our waste treatment center, our freeway, our generating center
We planned a march through town to install the poles.
The first iMatter March
Installing the first poles
Recreating the WWII sculpture :)
Lots of media interviews
Fox News was the first to cover the event. And they did a great story.
and CNN and CBS all came to do stories
Installing the SLAP pole in NY
Museum of Natural History. It's still there, up in the Kids Discovery Room.
If you live in a coastal community, you can install SLAP poles too. Curriculum, designs, leader and student kits, and other resources available. Contact us for info.
A video short about SLAP produced by Lynne Cherry
Download pole designs
Download our old media kit.
Download Teacher's Guide.
I sued the US Government to Protect Our Future
After a few years of speaking to hundreds of thousands of people, I began to get discouraged. I knew the government needed to be more pro-active about limiting greenhouse gas emissions but the more I learned about Congress, the more I couldn't imagine that happening.
Then I met a woman named Mary Woods, a law professor from the University of Oregon, who had written about the reality that the government could be held accountable to create a comprehensive climate recovery plan because of the public trust doctrine. This made sense! So I met Julia Olson, visionary leader for Our Children's Trust, and became the lead plaintiff for a federal lawsuit. And we recruited youth leaders from all across the nation to file suits in their states.
We will be pressuring President Obama to stop fighting us in court and start listening to us and to the scientists and begin creating a national plan to reduce emissions for our future. More info about lawsuit and status.
Why 16 Year-Old Alec Loorz is Suing the Government.
by Alec Loorz, age 16
As published in Good Magazine online.
I am 16 years old. This morning I filed a lawsuit againt the United States of America, for allowing money to be more powerful than the survival of my generation, and for making decisions that threaten our right to a safe and healthy planet. Read More
On a quest.
I've been a climate activist for all of my teenage life It's been an amazing journey. I've been able to learn from top climate scientists from NASA and from humble shamans in the Amazon. I've tried communicating the message that youth have the power to change the status quo through design, music, and pubic speaking. I'm in university now, studying the basic issues of identity and transformation. "What does it mean to be human?" I believe that we, as a generation, can live up to the challenge to bring about the worldview transformation that is necessary to make the changes in our culture so that we really can live with compassion for the earth and for future generations.
Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, Earth Charter Award, 2008
Ventura County Board of Supervisors Climate Action Award, 2009
Captain Planet Foundation Hero Award, 2010
Environmental Defense Center, Environmental Hero Award, 2009
National Wildlife Federation "Heroes of Nature" Award, 2011
Aquarium of the Pacific, "Young Hero Award", 2010
Your True Nature Award, 2011
ABC News7 Cool Kids Award, 2008
Lions Club Speaker First Place, 2009
Ventura County Leadership Academy, Emerging Leader of the Year, 2008
Community Environmental Council, Environmental Hero Award, 2009
Certificates of Honor from numerous local, state and federal officials including: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congresspersons Lois Capps and Eldon Gallegley, Senators Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, Former Vice-President Al Gore, Mayors Antonio Villagaigosa (LA), Gavin Newsom (SF), Tom Bates (Berkeley), Assemblypersons Pedro Nava, Julia Brownley, Cameron Smyth, Audra Stickland, California State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, California State Senators Tom McClintock.