Who are the Greenagers?
On October 12, 2007, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would share the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
As the Committee pointed out, that climate change may well lead to large-scale migration and greater competition for the earth's resources, in turn leading to increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.
Clearly, environmental issues are also peace issues.
In September 2007, The Center For Peace Through Culture launched a creative way to approach this issue: the Greenagers project.
Greenagers mobilizes and empowers young people to come together and work cooperatively to design and carry out environmental projects in their own their local communities.
Through this program, young people can not only make a real difference, they can also learn independence, creativity, leadership, responsibility and self-respect. As they develop their own interests and abilities, they are also promoting community and global health, and ultimately contributing to global peace.
Community involvement is a strong emphasis of Greenagers, as the intellectual, spiritual, creative, and physical energies of young people focus on projects that will make a difference to the local communities and to the environment.
The idea for the Greenagers originally came out of a forum held by CPC in the 1980s. (See the history of CPC.) We invited two scientists, two artists and two philosophers from around the country to meet together over two weekends and dialogue together around a pressing issue: There was so much pollution on Long Island at that time that the water was unsafe to drink. We then led them through a think tank process we developed, and they came up with the idea of recruiting teenagers into an "environmental army" to awaken their parents, teachers and fellow students into action around the issue. Their name would be Greenagers.
Greenagers in the Berkshires, Massachusetts
That idea is now a reality.
The first local Greenagers group has an office in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, headed by Will Conklin. His responsibilities include grant writing, recruitment of young people, coordination and supervision of local projects, and networking with other environmental organizations.
The Great Barrington Greenagers' plans include setting up a community garden, hosting a monthly Sustainability Discussion Group on how individuals can integrate sustainability practices into their everyday lives, working together with other organizations and schools on new or existing projects, and creating a program of educational environmental presentations conceived, researched and written by students and delivered in classrooms and community spaces. They also plan to have a lot of fun! See the website.
The Great Barrington Greenagers is a pilot program, laying the groundwork for Greenagers groups around the country and around the globe.
Will and Greenagers can be reached at info@Greenagers.org.
For more information on Greenagers and how to start your own group, contact Larson Rogers at larson.Rogers@comcast.net.
|©2011 The Center for Peace Through Culture|