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There are many activists from all over the world who have made a huge difference. Whether these activists worked on the environment or stopping child labour they have made the world a lot better. There are child activists who started at the age of 7, to adults who worked on their initiative for their entire lives.We too, believe that the world has many problems, and if there is anything that we can do to make the world better, we should do it. These activists have become famous for what they've done, and what they've done has changed the world for the better.
Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964) by Smithsonian Institution.
Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964) by Smithsonian Institution.
Rachel Carson started writing proffessionally at only 11 years old. Later in college, she had a literature major, but after being inspired by a teacher, changed her major to science. She later got her masters and taught in the college. She wanted to get a job at a marine science institute, but they refused to hire female scientists. Instead, she did science stories on their radio station for them. Rachel joined a competition for a job at the Bureau of Fisheries and wrote on essay to win the job. She had to stop teaching with her busy new job, but she kept working at the radio station. Her radio was later cancelled, so she made pamphlets and sent them to different companies. One liked her pamphlet so much that they asked her to put it in their book and write the introduction. After writing her portion, the company refused to put it in their book because it was so good and suggested that she submit it to Prestige Magazine. The magazine was published and Rachel got paid very well for it. Then World War II came and her book sold few copies. Rachel started to study more about the coastline, sea, and government. When studying she discover that a pesticide called DDT was poisonous. At the end of the war Rachel wrote a new book about her findings. It was a national bestseller. Rachel purchased a conservation area in Maine and used her fame to help the environment. She won many awards, was a wanted speaker, and got 3 doctorate degrees. She quit her job to write full time and kept researching and writing for the rest of her life. Later, a new pesticide came out that was also fatal, but nobody would listen to her about the dangerous chemicals. Rachel had to stop fighting because she later got cancer. She kept writing about her findings until she died. She was 56. 16 years after her death, she was awarded the Presidential Medal accepted by her nephew on her behalf.
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Sharon Beder is an Australian activist who works on environmental issues and water quality. She is both an activist and a detective. Sharon works with Grassroots, an environmental organization. She investigates the people who make our environmental decisions. Sharon reveals whether or not industries truly are being environmentally friendly. She also investigates governments. Sharon originally wanted to be an architect, but then she decided to be an engineer. Sharon was going to use engineering to save the world. Sharon built bridges working at the Ministry of Works in Wellington. She changed her job within the company to develop project management systems and training others to do the same. After that she moved to Sydney. She got a job as an engineer there designing bus-washing structures. Later she worked for a company designing fire protection systems. Then she enrolled for her Masters in industrial engineering. Shortly after, Sharon enrolled for her Masters in science and society. She got a PhD in the same area. Sharon's husband started working on sewage systems in Sydney and Sharon got interested. She looked at the design of the sewage system and discovered that people use public relations to avoid designing things environmentally friendly. This inspired her to help the environment. Sharon looked into this more and discovered that companies and the government both manipulate and mislead the public. One example of what companies do is they organize something environmentally friendly and get the media on it, but at the last minute find a reason that it is impossible for them to do. Sharon has spent her lifetime finding all these scandals and strategies. After getting her doctorate and studying sewage, Sharon wrote a book on what we're doing to beaches and other places. Sharon joined an organization called STOP to save beaches and raise awareness. Companies fought STOP but the government made industries invest 6 billion dollars toward improving sewage systems. Sharon has writtten many books and won many awards in her time helping the environment.
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Olya Melen is a Ukrainian woman who has made a huge difference for our environment. Olya Melen is a public interest environmental lawyer. She won the 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize for having worked and continuing to work on the wetland of Danube Delta. Olya stopped the illegal construction of a shipping canal from the Danube River to the Black Sea at the age of 26, She graduated from university with degrees in both translation and law. At 24, Olya took the Ukrainian government to court over the shipping canal they were trying to build through the most important part of one of the world’s most important wetlands.
Making the canal through the wetlands was good financially, but bad environmentally. Ukraine didn’t look at the environmental impact this canal would make and broke international environmental law and agreements. The world needs wetlands to keep the environment and species healthy. Too many wetlands have already been destroyed so we can’t get rid of any more. The Danube River is a world heritage site and a biosphere reserve. This wetland has many reed beds and reed beds help breed underwater species and clean the water. 153 countries worldwide signed that this wetland is a wetland of importance.
When this issue came up, Olya was working at an Environmental People Law. Environmental People Law was one of the most important environmental organizations in Ukraine. Nobody else thought that they could be successful in taking Ukraine to court over this wetland, so Olya stepped up and volunteered. Olya offered to sue for breaking laws and stop further destruction of the wetland. Olya was told that she was crazy for doing so, but she didn’t care. Especially since she was only 24 and it was her first case! Doing this was never heard of, especially in a country that used to be a part of the Soviet Union. Something even stranger was that Olya was fighting a project that had already started. Olya was greatly underestimated but she was intelligent, committed, and informed about the matter. Olya went to court over 30 times in 2005 alone. Ukraine’s lawyers were a lot older and tougher, but Olya used her being young to her advantage. Olya was accused of being a traitor, a spy, and got many death threats, but nothing stopped her.
In the middle of the case, the Orange Revolution happened. Because of the revolution, the government trying to destroy the wetland was replaced by one that was elected into office. The new government would rule by law and this declaration helped Olya. Also, Ukraine wanted to become a part of the EU, and illegal actions were not good on the application. The first phase of construction was completed, but the rest wasn’t even started. Olya decided that the canal would be fine if it were built somewhere else that wasn’t so important. That way, our economy could thrive, and so could our environment. The next decision has not yet been made. Olya still works at EPL but she writes for a lawyer magazine and trains new lawyers. Olya is not yet 30, and she has already made a huge difference.
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Fatima Jibrell is a woman from Somalia. Fatima grew up there, but she spent several years studying in the U.S. This is where she got married and had two daughters. While Fatima was on the other side of the world, conditions in Somalia grew worse and worse. People became so unhappy that they threatened war. Drought was killing people and putting them in danger. This is when Fatima made Horn Relief, an organization to give emergency aid and supplies to people in Africa. Fatima returned to Somalia with her family to help and bring her organization to Northern Somalia. That year, the government collapsed. Warlords were leading and the country was in a civil war. Violence started to spread to the north, where Fatima and her family were. War, drought, starvation, and lack of healthcare have led people out of their homes and into refugee camps. 300,000 civilians died. The elderly, children, and pregnant women are especially affected. 4.5 million more people were threatened. As the war went on, the environment started getting destroyed. Many part became deserts so nothing or little could grow. Many grasslands disappeared and wild animals died. Animals were Somalia's largest export, so they lost a lot of money. The biggest export then became charcoal. To make the charcoal, Somaliands burnt down many acacia trees, getting rid of many forests. The smoke from burning polluted the air and killled many plants. Grass and vegetation that used to feed animals was then burned for charcoal.
Horn Relief grew in the U.S, then it caught on in Somalia and Kenya and grew even more. With Fatima's leadership, the organization went from giving emergency supplies, to rebuilding countries. Horn Relief made clinics, schools, and literacy programs. Horn Relief taught civilians how to grow plants and breed cattle in these new desert conditions. In the 1990's, Fatima joined with others to make two more organizations.
Then, a new political crisis broke out in Northeastern Somalia. This brought a threat of more starvation and death. Fatima made a new organization called Women's Coalition for Peace. The group kept peace and gave women a chance to have a voice in politics. The women's coalition joined with another institute that gave peace, environmental health, and participation in political issues. Fatima then became coordinator of Resource Management Somali Network. This new organization gives people skills on how to use the resources they have to their own benefit. For example, little or no rain falls in Somalia, so when the short rainy season does come the soil is too solidly packed to collect any of the valuable rain. RMSN helps people collect the water in dams made out of rocks. Also, the water can be used for drinking. These dams are better because they help feed new growth the way they are built so plants and vegetation can grow unlike huge dams that make a problem with silt. People can then grow food in deserts. The new dams will help Somalia be green again.
When the grasslands turned to deserts, seafood became more popular and people over-fished. People also started dumping toxic waste into the coast. Fatima works hard to give the basic rights to people in Somalia like eating, helping the environment, and giving a voice to women who do most of the work. Fatima also works hard trying to end the tribal violence going on. Thanks to Fatima, there is almost no exporting of charcoal anymore. To replace Somalia's main export, RMSN started developing solar powered cooking devices. Horn Relief distributes Sun Fire Cooking so people can cook without charcoal. In 2002, Fatima won the Goldman Environmental prize. Fatima has practically saved Somalia.
Steps to Becoming an Activist
Find something that strikes your interest and you feel passionate about.
Remember to start small then grow big.
Start to research that subject until you’re very knowledgeable about that subject.
Change lifestyle to match cause.
Talk to family, school and friends to get support/Spread the word.
Contact person responsible through letter and ask for meeting or give suggestions. Act your age when contacting this person.
Remember the law in Toronto says that any civilian can have a five minute deposition.
Make website/wiki/blog to publicize cause.
When dealing with media be careful of what you say because anything can be used against you. (Be polite.)
Keep fighting for cause until problem solved.
Intro Speaker: Hello, we are now going to teach all of you how to become a youth activist. There are 10 easy steps that will bring you to your goal. Just because you’re a kid, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference. Thousands of children worldwide have already made a difference. Whether it was in their backyard, or in their city, they made the world a little better. You can also make the world a better place by just using these easy steps. Step One!
A Person: The first easy step is finding something that sparks your interest. If you choose a subject that is boring to you, you won’t want to work on it and other people won’t listen to you.
(Scene changes. There are two kids sitting on the couch and one kid runs in. One kid is on a game boy, the other is staring mindlessly at gerbils.)
1st Kid: Hey guys! I’m going to ban rocks!
2nd Kid: Why?
1st Kid: Because I feel like it.(KIDS GO BACK TO GAMEBOY AND STARING AT GERBIL
(Scene goes back to A Person)
A Person: Now, that is an example of what you shouldn’t do. You should choose a subject that will make the world better, and you should have a good reason that you want to do it.
(Back to scene with couch)
1st Kid: Hey! Look at this article. It says that over 4 billion plastic bags are used every year in Ontario alone. They're choking animals and taking up space in our landfills. I want to do something about it. What do you think?
2nd Kid: That sounds cool!
1st Kid: Thanks.
(Scene goes back to A Person)
A Person: Now you have your subject. The second step is to remember not to do anything too big at once
(Scene goes to couch. 1st kid walks in. Other kid is watching TV. Kid turns off TV when 1st kid walks in.)
1st kid: Hey! I'mm going to make a huge protest about plastic bags! I'm going to throw every plastic bag I find at the industry.
2nd kid: Okay. Well, can you tell me about why bags are so bad?
1st Kid: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh............ (confused look on face)
A Person: You can't start by doing a protest. You have to start small and then grow bigger. Our third step is to research your subject.
(Scene to couch. 1st Kid is sitting down watching TV. 2nd Kid walks in.)
2nd Kid: Hey, why aren’t you researching about plastic bags?
1st Kid: Why would I have to do that? Research isn’t the same as taking action.
2nd Kid: Well, if you don’t research about bags, you’ll never know why it’s so bad to use them and without the facts no one will listen to you when you do take action.
1st Kid: I guess I should get off this couch and start researching.
(Scene goes back to A Person)
A Person: Research is vital to taking action, so before you go thinking you know everything, make sure you actually do. The fourth step is to change your lifestyle so it matches your cause. So don’t throw away or take plastic bags when you’re fighting against them.
(Scene changes to classroom. 1st Kid throwing away all plastic bags in house.)
1st Kid: Hi! I like throwing stuff away. It’s fun and easy.
2nd Kid: You know, you’re acting like a hypocrite. You’re telling people to stop wasting our resources and there you go throwing away bags that could be reused. There’s a reason for the 3 R’s.
1st Kid: I guess you’re right. (Puts plastic in hand back and puts in cupboard. Scene changes to A Person)
A Person: Being a hypocrite won’t help anyone and you want to make a good example for everyone else. People won’t listen to you if you don’t even listen to yourself. Now, our fifth tip is, talk to your family, school and friends to get their support and spread the word.
(Scene changes to classroom)
2nd Kid: You’re still working to get bags banned right? Because I think you should ask your friends, school
and family for support.
1st Kid: But this is my project and I want to do it on my own.
(Scene changes to A Person)
A Person: You can’t change the world on your own. You need the support of friends, family, and your school
to make a difference. Craig Kielburger didn’t free the children on his own.
(Scene changes back to classroom)
1st Kid: Hi everyone! I have an announcement to make. I’ve been working to ban plastic bags so if anyone wants to get involved and help, please come see me.
(Kids start chanting and cheering 1st Kid on. Scene changes back to A Person)
A Person: Getting any help can make a huge difference. Now, our sixth step is to contact the person responsible through a letter or possibly get a meeting with them. You can go to City Hall or talk to an industry leader.
(Scene changes to couch)
1st Kid: Hey guys! The research is done, what should I do now?
2nd Kid: I don’t know.
3rd Kid: Let’s check what the next step is.
2nd Kid: It says to contact the person responsible.
1st Kid: Why don’t we call one of the industry leaders and if they don’t help, we’ll talk to City Hall.
2nd Kid: That sounds good. Let’s go
A Person: Now you've got your meeting. If the industry leaders don't help, go to city hall.Our seventh step is to remember that anybody is entitled to make a 5 minute deputation.
1st Kid: I went to the right places and everything, but nobody listened. I'll never get bags banned.
2nd Kid: No, you can still make a difference. Every citizen is entitled to make a 5 minute deputationl
Secretary at City Hall: Hello?
1st Kid: Hi, I've been working to ban plastic bags and I want to make a deposition at City Hall.
Secretary: How old are you?
1st Kid: 11.
Secretary: 11!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, well, I guess you can make this deposition, anybody is entitled to make one.
A Person: That sounds good. Now. the eighth step is to make a wiki, website, or blog to get your cause known about.
(Filmed in classroom.)
Kid #1- I’ve got a great idea
So what I’m going to do is make posters and write information about what I’m doing(Filmed in library.)
Kid #2- Umm…..okay then. (Gives kid #1 a weird face.)
Person- A great way to publicize your cause is to make a website, a wiki, or a blog.
If you make one of these, people can read about what you’re doing and post comments to show their point of view.
If you make a poster not many people will pay attention to it and they can’t say their point of view.
Also, Kid #1 is wasting paper which isn’t really good for his cause.
(Filmed in classroom.)
Kid #1- I have a problem!
You see, I want people to know about how many plastic bags are used in our city but I don’t know how to get their attention.
Anyways, they’d think I was just a kid and couldn’t do anything. (Discouraged.)
Kid #2- That’s not true. Besides, I have an idea.
Make a press release!
It will attract lots of media attention and it will show that you know your stuff so they won’t think you’re just a little kid!
Kid #1- That’s a great idea! (Encouraged.)
Reporter- So, are you excited to meet the mayor when you go to City Hall, to make a deposition on plastic bags? (Writing down answer.)
Kid #1- Yeah, I can’t wait to meet the mayor.
I’ll tell him what a great job he’s doing running this city.
Does he know how many potholes are on Bay view!
Jeez, he really needs to do something about that.
Reporter- I’m definitely putting that in the newspaper!
Person- Everyone has their opinions but when it comes to the media be careful of what you say!
The media interprets what you say to make it sound what they want you to say.
Always stick to your topic and think before you say anything.
Reporter- So, are you excited to meet the mayor when you go to City Hall, to fight cutting down trees?
Kid #1- Yes I’m very excited!
Going to City Hall is going to be great for my cause.
I hope the mayor agrees with my initiative.
Kid #2- Hey, I’m sorry the city didn’t do anything to help your cause.
Kid #1- Yeah, I think I’m just going to give up.
It’s not worth all the trouble if nothing’s going to happen.
Kid #2- Don’t give up, now.
There’s still so much you can do!
Kid #1- You’re right!
I’m not giving up till something is changed!
Kid #2- That’s the attitude!
A Person: Thank you so much for watching how to be an activist. These simple steps will bring you to success, so don’t forget!
How to Be a Child Activist
How to get your point across:
The first thing to do is to find a environmental issue that sparks your interest.
You should try to get media to advertise your issue.
Look up radio stations, Newspapers and TV stations.
If you are speaking at a convention or your town hall, try to contact media too come and interview you.
The way to contact the media is you have to write a press release.
Tell the station or paper etc what you are doing and about the achievements that you have accomplished.
If they come to your presentation and request an interview accept and speack confidently.
It is fun to keep a scrap book of all the times your cause has been in the paper or magazene.
Child activism in everyday life:
1 Grow vegetables in your garden so that you don't have the extra packaging that store bought vegetables come in.
2 Try to carpool, walk, bike or use public transit to get around the city.
3 Use reusable bags at the store and try to refuse pplastic bags.
4 Unplug toasters, blenders, electric pencil sharpeners etc when not in use.
5 Buy Ontario grown products.
6 Take 4-5 minuite showers.
7 Turn of the tap when you brush your teeth.
8 Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
9 Use reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles.
10 Recycle paper and cardboard.
11 Use compact florecrent light bulbs.
12 Donate to environmental orginisations.
13 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
14 In the Summer go outsise instead of watching TV.
15 Eat atleast one vegetarien meal each week.
16 try not to rince your dishes before puting them in the dish washer.
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