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An Inconvenient Youth
Sarah Kuck, 9 Oct 08

MAry%20Doerr.jpgWhen now high school senior Mary Doerr signed up for Al Gore's Climate Project training in 2007, she was 16, and she was surprised to find out that she was one of the youngest people to have ever attended.

To Doerr, who had first become interested in the movement after a sixth grade project on greenhouse gases, this was the issue of her generation, and she became determined to help more young people get involved.

She found that most people her age fall into two camps: those for whom climate change is just barely sitting on the fringe of their consciousness and those who know and care, but don't know what action to take.

"We're told, change your light bulb, buy a hybrid," Doerr said. "But most people who know the severity of the problem want to know how to do more."

She wanted to find a way she could inspire young people without enough information, and to connect with those who wanted to do something about climate change, but maybe didn't know what to do. So she revamped the Inconvenient Truth speech to be shorter, snappier and youth-focused and took the new talk, Inconvenient Youth, on the road.

She's teamed up with California band KSM and the other Inconvenient Youth trainees to take the message that this is a problem we can do something about across the United States.

For the most part, Doerr said, the youth she talks with are excited and enthusiastic, and many of them are "chomping at the bit" to get to work on solving the problem.

"They have not yet been given the resources to do something about it," Doerr said. "They want to know how they can get involved on a bigger scale."

Using the power of the Internet and text messaging, Inconvenient Youth gives these people the knowledge and the tools they need to make a difference in their communities. The organization also has a social networking site where young people can connect with each other, find how-to guides for political action and learn more about the science behind climate change.

Inconvenient Youth is doing something truly worldchanging in that they are disseminating critical information and tools to a portion of the population who arguably needs to get it most. And they are doing it with language and communication methods that this group understands.

Doerr said that she sees clear parallels between the importance of this movement and the movements that took place in the 1960s. Her hope is that people her age wake up and get involved on that kind of level before it's too late.

"These were students whose lives were at risk, and in a different way our lives and our livelihoods also hang in the balance."

To join Inconvenient Youth, visit www.inconvenientyouth.org or text EARTH to 626269.

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