• Act

    Selena has some stories about young people who ACT to make a difference

Young people around the world are doing their bit to fight for the future of our planet

They are superhero Eco-Defenders!


Isaac Astill is a Divestment Campaigner with 350.org Australia. Divestment is the opposite of investment so instead of putting your money into something, he has been asking people to take their money out of something: the fossil fuel industry, There is a bank in Australia called the Commonwealth Bank, that is thinking about investing in a giant very destructive coal pour right alongside the Great Barrier Reef. Isaac is urging investors and depositors to take their funds out of the bank to send a message.

Season 11, Episode 1


Brower Youth Award Winner Doorae Shin fell in love with Hawai‘i as a freshman at the University of Hawaii’s Mānoa campus on O‘ahu. The state’s majestic mountains and breathtaking coasts captivated the East Coast native. But while walking through campus and around the island she noticed EPS foam (better known as Styrofoam) food packaging littering the streets and sidewalks. Shin soon learned about the devastating impact Styrofoam debris has on marine ecosystems.

Season 11, Episode 2


2014 Brower Youth Award Winner Lynnea Shuck knew of The Dawn Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife refuge, the largest estuary on the west coast, located at the Southern tip of the San Francisco Bay.  It is 30,000 acres large and is is the first refuge that was created in an urban area, and is located right in the heart of Silicon Valley. She came up with the idea for the Junior Refuge Ranger Program to teach kids about why it’s important to show them simple things that they can do to make our world a better place.

Season 11, Episode 3


Sean Russell grew up enjoying life near the ocean. His interest in protecting marine environments was sparked by his involvement in 4-H marine science projects, as well as a high school internship at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.In 2011 Russell launched the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit at the Mote Lab. This annual summit provides youth with the skills needed to launch their own conservation projects and has inspired hundreds of students across the country to get involved in ocean conservation.


Season 11, Episode 4

Boyan Slat is a Dutch entrepreneur and inventor who creates technologies to tackle global issues of sustainability. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, where he is responsible for overall strategy and cleanup technology development. He has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and was crowned 2014 Champion of the Earth, the United Nations’ highest environmental accolade. In 2015, HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan the maritime industry’s Young Entrepreneur Award.

Tiffany Carey thinks environmental research projects that don’t involve community members are troubling. So when, as an environmental studies major at the University of Michigan, she had the chance to conduct her own research, she chose a project that involved students from Detroit’s Western International High School. Carey’s research focused on pollen as a cause of high rates of asthma and allergies in urban areas. During the course of three years, the public school’s ninth and tenth grade biology students placed homemade pollen collectors in vacant lots, parks, and other areas in the community to measure the levels of ragweed pollen, which is notorious for causing allergic reactions.

Season 11, Episode 6

Alex Freid was shocked by the number of perfectly good and reusable items being discarded by students during the moving-out days at the end of his freshman year at the University of New Hampshire. He learned that each May, as university students cleared out of their dorms and apartments, the amount of waste sent to the local landfill jumped from 25 tons per month to a staggering 105 tons. This inspired him to found Post-Landfill Action Network, or PLAN, a youth-led nonprofit that helps students create programs that reduce waste on campus.

Season 11, Episode 7

As a student the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Amira Odeh saw that students were buying disposable plastic water bottles because of the poor condition of water fountains on campus.photo of a young woman Odeh had experienced the impacts of water scarcity when she was growing up in Puerto Rico’s Bayamon municipality, so she decided to try to change her peers’ wasteful habits.

Season 11, Episode 8


Mike Cofone is on a mission. The high school senior wants to to help the fight against deforestation in 3rd World countries. Mike and his team at It’s A Pressing Matter are working with M.I.T. and several universities to come up with alternative fuels that can be made from commonly available materials.

The youngsters came up with a device that took the waste products from sugar cane, banana peels, and other native organic waste materials. These were then pressed into small biodegradable bricks that could then be burned.  The team tested the bricks in the FAA testing facility in Pomona New Jersey and found that the bricks burned clean, long, efficiently.  The press is now being shipped to underserved countries around the world!


As a sophomore at Wesleyan University, Kate Weiner noticed that even though her institution had a stellar sustainability program and most of her student cohort did care about the environment, it was hard to get them to actually take actions that would help conserve resources and protect the environment. An internship with a feminist farming collective in Chile her junior year gave her the idea of exploring collectives as a tool for impactful engagement in sustainable living and social change

Season 11, Episode 10


Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh is a 15-year-old indigenous change agent, environmental activist, public speaker, eco hip-hop artist, and the Youth Director of Earth Guardians– Xiuhtezcatl is a powerful voice on the front lines of the youth-led climate movement. He performs internationally at music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 high-impact rallies, events and conferences around the globe. He and his brother, Itzcuauhtli, regularly give school presentations to ignite and inspire youth to step up as leaders and take action on behalf of the planet In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.

Season 11, Episode 11


Ryan Camero’s hometown of Stockton, CA has its share of social challenges — poverty, violence, and drug abuse to name a few. To make sense of these challenges, Camero began looking at organizations that were building resilience in Stockton. In 2010 He started volunteering with Restore the Delta, a grassroots group committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta which is significant for its ecological and agricultural value. Camero’s work with the group, where he’s now officially employed, helped him understand the trials of a community facing both a drought and water privatization. Meanwhile, his interest in storytelling through art connected him to the Beehive Collective, an activist art collective. In 2014, with the help of information and resources from Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch, Camero helped conceptualize and create an interactive presentation that drew parallels between corporate efforts to privatize California’s water and peoples’ struggles against large-scale infrastructure projects throughout Mesoamerica. The presentation, called “Sucked Dry” included intricate graphics created by the Beehive Collective. Last fall, Camero led a three-week tour, travelling to 18 California cities, presenting Sucked Dry to local audiences and facilitating discussions about the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Season 11, Episode 12


As a high school student in drought stricken Reno, Nevada, Celeste Tinajero couldn’t bear to sit idly by as her school’s outdated toilets and faucets leaked water day in and day out. So in her sophomore year Tinajero — who from an early age had been deeply influenced by her mother’s waste conscious and socially responsible values — rallied her peers to send a $12,000 grant proposal to the nonprofit GREENevada (Growing Resources for Environmental Education in Nevada) seeking to renovate Reed High School’s bathrooms.

Season 11, Episode 13

Fernando Aquillar is a youth manager for the Tree Musketeers. The organization has a vision in which children all over the world are planting trees and becoming leaders of social change. With full knowledge that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference, they are united in action to ensure a healthy future for Earth and themselves.

Season 11, Episode 14


A strong believer in the impact youth can have on policy issues, Dyanna Jaye was troubled by the absence of youth voices like hers when climate change policies were discussed in her home state of Virginia. So, leveraging connections she had made with students from other Virginia college campuses at the 2013 Power Shift convergence in Pittsburgh, PA, Jaye co-founded the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition. VSEC’s mission is to serve as a platform that cultivates and elevates student voices so that they can be heard in state level decision-making spaces.

Season 11, Episode 15

Rose Aquino is project photgrapher at the Haiti Ocean Projecta marine conservation, education, research and eco-tourism project located in Grand Goave, Haiti.  The primary mission of this project is to protect local whale and dolphin populations through education of youth, marine research, public policy and whale and dolphin watching.

Season 11, Episode 16


Jonathan Ferrer is an accomplished environmental activist and one of New York City’s preeminent youth leaders. As a member ofUprose, he helps organize the city’s annual Climate Justice Youth Summit, which educates and inspires hundreds of young people about local environmental and social issues.

Season 11, Episode 17


Teenager Asa Needle used to dream of getting away from his economically depressed hometown of Worcester, Mass. But he feels a stronger connection to his community since getting involved with efforts to clean up the town. Worcester’s post-industrial legacy includes lead pollution, which is particularly harmful to the development of young children. Lead-contaminated soil is common in private yards and public playgrounds in the town’s inner city.

Season 11, Episode 18


Adarsha recognized the complex relationship between the economy and the environment. In December of 2007, he co-founded Project Jatropha, an organization dedicated to promoting the plant Jatropha curcas as an ecologically friendly and economically profitable crop among the farmers of rural India. Project Jatropha collaborated with Parivarthana, an NGO that helps farmers, and Labland Biotechs, a plant biotechnology company, in order to convince farmers that raising Jatropha was an economically sustainable project.

Season 11, Episode 19


Chloe Maxmin became a climate activist when she was 12, forming the Climate Action Club in high school and galvanizing a grassroots movement in her community. At Harvard, she co-founded Divest Harvard–a campaign calling on Harvard University to divest its endowment from fossil fuels–and helped grow DH from group of 3 into a movement of over 70,000 people.

Season 11, Episode 20


Kyle Thiermann is the son of activists who exposed him early to the value of civic engagement. As a surfer, he was in a social circle with lots of young people who were not engaged in social or environmental issues, nor inclined to watch long documentaries. He knew they were nonetheless caring people, and that if engaged effectively and given clear direction, they could be a tremendous force for change. Thus was born the notion of serving as a conduit using digestible documentaries to highlight specific issues and solutions.

Season 11, Episode 21

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.Nature does not behave independently. It works in unison with all its elements. Working independently to transform our planet is like trying to play a violin without strings. Communities of businesses, organizations, people and projects must begin to connect resources and skills to passions and projects. The IS FOUNDATION will behave in full collaborative spirit by joining with other Non-Profit, For-Profit and governing bodies globally.

Season 11, Episode 22


A love for the bees and the natural world has always been an important part of the lives of the father-son inventing team behind the idea, Stuart and Cedar Anderson. It all started because Cedar felt bad about bees being crushed during the honey harvest. He was also sick of being stung and having to spend a whole week harvesting his honey.

Season 11, Episode 23