“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up … discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Teachers, friends, activists, scientists, leaders — there are countless heroes among us. Whether household names or everyday citizens, world famous or local to your community, someone you know personally or have only read about, people are standing up for the planet, its species and people. Powerful, passionate, proud individuals everywhere dedicate their lives to tackling social and environmental injustice with heart, innovation and commitment. In your eyes, what are the traits and characteristics that make someone an eco-hero?
Through Turning Green Classroom, our goal is not only to empower and equip you with information, but also to introduce you to diverse mentors, role models, and leaders working towards positive change and effective, eco, equitable solutions. We find eco-heroes in each and every one of our partners, honored to work with researchers, farmers, companies, organizations, media, educators, policy makers, scientists, activists, students and leaders around the world who share our mission. Anyone can be an eco-hero, no matter their occupation, age, gender, race, background or identity.
Some of the world’s strongest, most passionate eco-heros are from our generation! Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old Swedish climate activist who initiated the global School Strikes for Climate that has mobilized millions of students and the public worldwide to demand change from leaders (and continues each Friday, now online!). Mari Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint, is a 12-year-old activist who has fought for clean water in her hometown of Flint, Michigan and across the United States since she was 8. Xiuhtexcatl Martinez is an indigenous climate activist and hip-hop artist, using his powerful voice on the front lines of a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to protect the planet for future generations. Millions of young people march for Black lives and against discrimination and hatred, raising our voices and standing up against police brutality, systemic racism and environmental injustice.
For every challenge, there are solutions. Whether one person or a collective of brilliant minds, we can bring about the change we wish to see. What does it take to be an eco-hero? Passion, dedication, and a bit of courage!
Who’s your eco-hero? We invite you to learn about groundbreaking individuals who are forging new and well-worn paths toward a healthy, sustainable, just planet.
Lots of incredible souls use their voices, minds, actions and resources to move mountains. Even when they face intense challenges and it seems like the only response is “no,” eco-heroes continue to make change in their community and our world. This is the power of one!
Some changemakers achieve recognition that honors their extraordinary work. Get inspired by current recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize, awarded annually to incredible individuals who take risks and work hard to support the environment for over 30 years. Check out the winners of the 2020 Brower Youth Awards, which recognizes outstanding and rising youth leaders making strides in the environmental movement.
- Pick one winner who you think is amazing. Write their name on a piece of paper and draw or paint something inspired by how they made the world a better place.
- Share it on social media with a brief caption and tag them, the entity that honored them and @TurningGreenOrg.
Eco-heroes in our communities and across the globe step up every day, every hour, every minute to make a difference. That is how it has always been and always will be — a source of hope for our future!
Whether in your school, state or another country, who is a person that you would name as an eco-hero? Choose someone you admire, get to know their story, and introduce them to us. Think about this challenge like a writer for a newspaper or magazine. Make it exciting and informative for an audience who does not know your eco-hero!
- Share the name and a photo of your eco-hero.
- Tell us their story: Where are they from? What amazing things have they done? What challenges and obstacles they faced? Why do you look up to them?
- Why did you choose this person instead of someone else? What about them is special to you?
If you were to meet this person, what would you say? See if you can find an email, social media handle or mailing address to tell them how they’ve inspired you. They will definitely be happy to hear from you!
Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #TGClassroom.
Do you consider yourself a hero? We do! Through Turning Green Classroom, you have shown us your awesome power to change the world, one step at a time. Sometimes celebrating our strengths may feel self-important, undeserved or like bragging, but today, WE celebrate YOU! Our society needs more leaders like you to empower others and endeavor to make our planet more just, healthy, and resilient.
Is there anything you could do to make your community better, both for the environment and people you care about? How can you be an eco-hero in your own life? Think about activating your family, school, neighborhood, sports team, dance troupe, choir or any group you are part of.
- Organize a trash-pickup at a nearby river, creek or park
- Research what your city recycles, then design a flyer to share electronically and hang in your home and school so people sort trash properly
- Organize a letter-writing party to send to local government asking them to work toward a sustainable goal
- Plant a vegetable garden in your yard and share with family or neighbors
- Talk to the coach and encourage everyone to use reusable water bottles
There are unlimited ways to be an eco-hero in your community! Get creative and think big. We believe in you.
Don’t forget to post about the activity and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #TGClassroom.