News / USA

New Generation Revolutionizes Environmental Activism

Internet, social networking help build global movements more quickly

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Environmental activists have relied on public pressure, boycotts and confrontation to advance their cause over the past few decades. Now, a new generation of eco-warriors is revolutionizing environmental activism.

While traveling the globe campaigning against whaling, Emily Hunter met many innovative eco-warriors.

'The Next Eco-Warriors' shares the stories of a new generation of activists who tackle issues of climate change, marine conservation, the rainforest and other environmental concerns.
'The Next Eco-Warriors' shares the stories of a new generation of activists who tackle issues of climate change, marine conservation, the rainforest and other environmental concerns.

“There are people like Jamie Henn who used the Internet with 350.org, to mobilize and connect a global climate movement into being," says Hunter. "People like Tania Field, an African-American woman and single mother in the Bronx, New York, who used urban farming actually as a tool for change."

Field created a natural space for the community where neighbors could come together and build a project to get access to food.

"And a place where other women like herself could get training and workshops and really empower themselves,” says Hunter.

Hunter grew up with environmental activism. Her parents were co-founders of Greenpeace. Her father, Robert Hunter, led the first on-sea protest against whaling and campaigned against nuclear testing and climate change. Time magazine named him one of the Eco-Heroes of the 20th century. His daughter says the 21st century eco-movement is different.

“There is much more diversity going on than before. I feel like the faces and the voices are not just of white, rich people. It’s of people from all kinds of backgrounds and actually from all around the world.”

Emily Hunter, author of 'The Next Eco-Warriors'
Emily Hunter, author of 'The Next Eco-Warriors'

Hunter asked 22 of those people to write their own stories for a new book. In "The Next Eco-Warriors," Kenyan Kevin Ochieng, 24, tells of leading 5,000 young people in a march up Mt. Kenya to draw attention to the problem of climate change and demand government action against global warming.  

Chinese activist Wen Bo writes of raising awareness about protecting the environment.

“He gathered students on environmental issues. That was just after the Tiananmen Square had occurred. So this is a very risky thing to be doing around that time," says Hunter. "They just did a very peaceful tour to a wilderness area in Yunan that was an unprotected area. It was being hacked down and being logged to destruction, killing a lot of biodiversity in this region and destroying cultures that were there too. So by just...highlighting the issue, they were actually able to expose it enough that the Chinese government later put protection laws to protect the Yunan wilderness area.”

While women have always been part of the environmental movement, Hunter says, more are taking a leading role today. One example is Elizabeth Redmond, who uses innovation to create a flooring system that you can walk on to generate power.

“For a long time I was really putting the idea out there and getting a lot of traction in the press and seeking to inspire and educate people about this possibility as the future of energy,” Redmond says.

The surfaces created by Redmond’s company, PowerLeap, use piezoelectricity, which converts the vibrations from walking, dancing or running into energy that can be stored for future use.

In "The Next Eco-Warriors," Native American activist Enie Begaye shares the story behind the Black Mesa Coalition, an inter-tribal, inter-ethnic organization founded to end strip mining on the Navaho reservation’s land in Northern Arizona.

“It does have environmental effects on the land and that pollution of the land, air and water, but it also had really cultural and social effects for us in this area, Black Mesa,” says Begaye.

They won that battle, but immediately faced another - fossil fuel development was a major provider of jobs on the reservation. Their mission now, Begaye says, is to create “green jobs.”

“An example is using our traditional knowledge and combining it with maybe our western education. We take something like weaving. A lot of women do weave rugs from sheep wool. Taking that and maybe combining it with marketing structure and building a weavers’ co-op that can market those rugs through the Internet and we’ll be able to reach a whole new audience of customers.”

To explore those possibilities and spread their message, Hunter says, these new eco-warriors are using all the new technology at their disposal.

“I think the old tools are just not as effective as they used to be. Hanging a banner or lobbying government or signing a petition, while all that can still be effective, but it’s no longer as effective as it used to be 30 or 40 years ago. I think it’s more effective using a whole new assortment of tools including the Internet, social networking, using websites to connect people, being able to create a space where people from all over the world can connect, can learn about events and actions, take part and can really build a global kind of movement.”

That’s why Hunter believes this is an exciting time for the environmental movement. She challenges young people to become change makers in their communities and their world.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid