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OUR FOUNDER

ALEC LOORZ

OUR FOUNDER

ALEC LOORZ

I founded iMatter as a teenager to empower my peers to stand up against the climate crisis. Now I’m 22 and am working as iMatter’s Youth Director. It has been quite a journey, and I am excited about the new direction this organization is taking, working with teams of youth to hold their local governments accountable to protect our future. This is the kind of action that brings together the hugeness of the climate crisis with the power of youth speaking out in their local communities. The scale of this problem requires that we work together, and the iMatterNow campaign is an effective way of coming together with our local leaders to find solutions and move toward a sustainable future.

My activism work began when I was 12, after I saw Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth and felt that I was called to do everything I could to end the climate crisis within my lifetime. I began giving presentations at age 13, teaching about the science of climate change and encouraging young people to step into their own passionate voices, united in the call to live as if our future matters.

Within weeks of my first presentation, the word spread about my work, and requests started pouring in. My mom quit her job to support me full-time, and with her help, I founded an organization called Kids vs Global Warming as a way to empower other youth to get involved in the fight against climate change.

I began traveling all over to give speeches, appear on panels, and meet with others who were walking similar paths. By the time I was 18, I had spoken to over 500,000 people, and everywhere I went, I could see other young people resonating with my message. I felt as though I was speaking on behalf of something bigger than myself, that I was simply finding words for something a lot of people had already been feeling.

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quote-openI began to see the climate crisis as a symptom of a deeper problem within the human psyche – specifically with the worldview of individualism and disconnection that lies at the root of our industrial system.quote-close

quote-openI began to see the climate crisis as a symptom of a deeper problem within the human psyche – specifically with the worldview of individualism and disconnection that lies at the root of our industrial system.quote-close

In 2011, we organized a global event called the iMatter March, in which youth from over 200 communities in 45 countries marched in their streets to make their voices heard on climate change. We marched to let our communities know that this issue is about our future, and we refuse to sit idly by as our survival is threatened. Around this time, I also became involved in a federal lawsuit against the US government, for violating the public trust doctrine and allowing our atmosphere to be degraded and put out of balance.

The lawsuit ended up being defeated by a group of wealthy lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry, who “intervened” in the case and convinced the judge to side with them. I took it as a sign that they felt threatened enough by this group of kids that they devoted time and money to fighting us. But it was difficult not to be discouraged by the power of money, and the role corporations play in making decisions that affect our future.

I kept speaking and traveling throughout my adolescence. And after a few intense experiences in my later teens that opened me up to the deeper cultural roots of climate change, my message started shifting. I began to see the climate crisis as a symptom of a deeper problem within the human psyche – specifically with the worldview of individualism and disconnection that lies at the root of our industrial system.

As I started thinking and speaking about this broader problem, and the massive cultural shift that will be required to move through this transition, I also started feeling overwhelmed by the scale of this crisis, and burnt out after years of endless speeches and events. And so, I left for college, a small liberal arts university in BC, Canada. I disconnected from the activism, and plunged into the world of classes and friends and hiking in the old growth forest that surrounded the campus.

I ended up dropping out of that school after my second year, driven partly by the clearcut logging of the forest I had come to know and love. And after a period of deep depression, and feeling unsure of where to go from there, I began to come back to life. And this year, I am finally re-emerging into the world of climate activism. Beyond the work I’m doing for iMatter, I’m also working on launching a new project called Circle of Fire, which aims to articulate the story of the transition of our time, and turn the emerging vision of regeneration into a strategic model of change.

Through all of this, the one thing that is clearest to me is that we are living in a time of great transition, and that young people will be the ones who witness and shape this shift more than anyone else. As such, I feel deeply excited about the work iMatter is doing in activating young people to engage in the climate movement in their local communities. This is the kind of action that will truly change the world, by bringing youth into the conversation and working with our leaders to bring about the transition to a sustainable future.

I used to end many of my speeches by saying that young people are more than just “the future” or the “leaders of tomorrow”. We’re here now, our voices matter, and we demand to be taken seriously.

So I invite you to join us.

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So let’s go, let’s work together to create a sustainable future.

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:

Common Sense for a New Generation
TEDxSan Diego, December 2011

We Will Be Impossible to Ignore
Bioneers, October 2010

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

What We Need is Common Sense
AREday, August 2011

Youth in Motion
Institute of the Golden Gate, April 2009