by Lauren Bailey
These days, there’s hardly enough talk about the important issues plaguing us and the planet we call home. Climate change, pollution, our outlandish reliance on fossil fuels, all of these are problems we should be addressing on a daily basis, yet all too often they go ignored by policy makers, business owners and the general public as a whole.
With so much discussion about less pressing topics, one can’t help but wonder how the next generation is preparing for the problems they are about to inherit. If our current policy makers and leaders don’t deem them important, why would we then expect our nation’s students to do so?
Thankfully, not all hope is lost. Several student-focused organizations are popping up around the country that promote sustainable habits and spread awareness. Plus these groups are only gaining in popularity, proving that students aren’t completely in the dark when it comes to the environmental issues of today. So, before you lose complete faith in our approach to the planet’s future, check out some of these organizations–it should calm some of your nerves knowing that there are people who choose awareness over ignorance.
Energy Action Coalition
Completely youth-led, Energy Action Coalition aims to build the clean energy and climate movement. A conglomeration of several smaller environmental youth and student organizations, this coalition has been together since 2005, and has organized several campaigns to spread knowledge and inspire effective action.
This year, they allowed people to vote on the biggest Fossil Fool of the year–a campaign they hoped would shed light on the corruption and greed that runs rampant among corporate executives. Known for continually choosing the bottom line over health or safety, the nominees were carefully selected.
In addition to these executives, coal is also a common target for the student coalition. At numerous campuses across America, students organized protests and questioned their schools about the rampant use of coal in their daily operations. Additionally, the group offers summer trainings on various topics, showing that they are fighting back not just with action, but also education.
National Wildlife Federation: Campus Ecology
Working with colleges and universities for over 20 years, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program offers campus consulting, educational resources and more for more than 1,000 college campuses. Members of the program work closely with university leaders to ensure their efforts and initiatives are earth-friendly and forward-thinking.
The group also boasts an online Webinar feature, making it easier for campuses across the country to stay informed and abreast of what each other are doing. This helps facilitate the implementation of eco-conscious changes and standards from school to school, which is important as our time is valuable and constantly ticking away.
From wildlife conservation to global warming awareness, this group covers it all.
A non-profit organization recognizing the importance of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, SustainUs seeks to advance youth empowerment and advocacy education through various projects and programs. Founded in 2001, the group is led by a staff that is 100% volunteer. Membership is open to anyone, but to be a voting member, you must be between the ages of 13-26, to stay true to their youth focus.
The group has done much in its short existence, including inspiring the conservation of roughly 20,000 tons of CO2. The group’s members are also very involved in international conferences and events on sustainability, such as Rio+20, which helps spread knowledge of climate concerns across the globe, while creating much-needed conversation on the matter.
Overall, through forums, conferences, programs and projects these organizations are striving to reverse the damage that has already been done to our planet. They aim to spread awareness and educate those that might otherwise be oblivious to what’s going on. There may be hope for our future yet.
Lauren Bailey is an education writer and freelance blogger. In addition to her articles on nutrition and environmental issues, she frequently writes about BestCollegesOnline.com and attendant courses. Lauren welcomes comments and questions in this space and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.