Last week, at the 2010 U.S. Social Forum, 20,000 activists met in Detroit, Mich., to network and share their visions for social change. There were attendees and presenters who spanned all age groups, but many folks were struck by just how many young people came out to pursue environmental and social justice issues.
Everywhere you turn, there is a great story about a teen leading her family, school or community towards environmental and social awareness. No doubt about it, today's teens are more plugged in to eco-issues than ever before. Thanks to the Internet and other forms of social media, teens have found an instant platform to help them make a difference.
Take for example, 18-year-old Tiffany Ng of the Common Roots Program of the Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco (CPAS). While her group's moniker is a bit of a mouthful, the group is nothing to take lightly — the aim is to develop cross-cultural solidarity, deepen kids' understanding of the social and political issues facing their community and enhance their leadership skills. Pretty impressive, right?
Another 18-year-old, Ingried Seyundo, a teen activist with People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER) works to prevent big corporations from taking advantage and polluting in predominately minority and low-income neighborhoods.
Loreen Dangerfield, 15, with People Organised to Win Environmental Rights (POWER), also attended the conference with the hopes of drawing attention to the building of condominiums on a toxic site by Lennar Corporation, a Florida-based housing redevelopment company. According to Dangerfield, the site is on the Hunters Point Naval shipyard where the atomic bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki were shipped from.
And this type of teen activism is certainly not limited to those attending the Detroit Forum. When I was researching and writing, "The Green Teen: The Eco-Teen's Guide to Saving the Planet", I spoke with dozens of teens across the country who were making a huge difference in their communities.
It gives me such hope for a brighter, healthier, and greener future!