Global Activators is a charitable organization with the mission of engaging people — primarily young people — in taking action to safeguard the life support systems of our planet and, by extension, humanity. We were launched by a team with extensive experience in creating innovative leadership programs for young people, which to date have enabled several thousand young people worldwide to effectively contribute to protecting our living planet.
The promise of young people
There are three reasons why it is essential to engage young people as active participants in efforts to protect life on Earth:
- Young people are not invested in the status quo. They are at an age when they are still forming their values and lifestyles and deciding upon education and career goals. They are idealistic and open-minded and, unlike many adults, believe that significant social change is possible. Most of their lives are still ahead of them; investments made in young people today will yield results for decades.
- Young people have an ability to access "new" audiences that are not easily reached by adult-focused environmental organizations. As volunteer educators and advocates working within their spheres of influence, young people can reach other youth, children, parents, and adult members of community organizations such as service clubs and faith groups. They can recruit these audiences to join targeted advocacy campaigns. This is important because there is an urgent need to bring many new people of diverse backgrounds into the movement to secure life on Earth.
- Young people are action ready. Scores of young people around the world have a strong desire to help turn back the tide of the environmental crisis but there are insufficient opportunities for them to channel their energies and volunteer time into meaningful and effective activities. This is a huge lost chance to advance the solutions — one that Global Activators aims to address.
Our strategy is to educate, train, and support a cadre of highly motivated young leaders between the ages of 14-24 who will in turn reach out in their communities and spheres of influence to teach and inspire many more people of all ages to participate in protecting the planet's life support systems, including the oceans and forests. A key component of the young leaders' outreach activities will be public speaking presentations to a diverse spectrum of audiences within their communities. These presentations will include a call to action for audiences. In effect, our model of youth engagement has a multiplier effect because of the broad-based public engagement undertaken by the young leaders themselves.
Our Starting Point
Our initial area of focus will be advancing solutions to the major threats to the global oceans — including ocean acidification, ocean warming, over-fishing, and plastic pollution. The oceans are perhaps the most vital of all of the Earth's major ecosystems and protecting them is a cause that many young people wish to participate in.
Our first step will be to develop partnerships with leading nature conservation organizations that are working on solutions to the key challenges facing the global oceans. The educational outreach and campaign efforts of our young leaders will be designed to greatly increase the scope and impact of the ocean advocacy campaigns of these conservation organizations. In other words, instead of trying to make an impact on ocean conservation all on our own, we will focus on our competency of youth engagement to strengthen existing conservation organizations' work in protecting the oceans.
We are developing two interrelated programs to engage young people in protecting the oceans:
- Global Young Leaders Award.
- Advocate Expeditions (e.g. Blue Rendezvous and Oceans Flotilla).
The Global Young Leaders Award is a multi-tiered service awards program that provides a framework, and a recognition structure, for young people becoming informed advocates for protecting our threatened planet.
The Advocate Expeditions are extraordinary experiences that will enable young people to gain the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be effective campaigners for protecting the world’s life support systems. Blue Rendezvous and the Oceans Flotilla are two Advocate Expeditions that we are planning.
How it all fits together
The Global Young Leaders Award and the Advocate Expeditions are integrated programs. Applicants to an Advocate Expedition must have completed the bronze level tier of the Awards program in order to be considered for selection. In the months that follow their participation in an Advocate Expedition, the young leaders will undertake a series of public presentations to a variety of audiences in their communities. The scope and measurable results of these presentations must satisfy the requirements of either the silver or gold tiers of the Global Young Leaders Award.
The power of storytelling
We will assist each Advocate Expedition participant in creating his or her own presentation (which will include some of their own photos and video clips along with content we've sourced). These presentations will focus on their own stories and insights gleaned from their extraordinary experiences on an Advocate Expedition. The information about the threats and solutions to the ecosystems in focus will be embedded within these personal stories. In effect, the Advocate Expedition experience serves to provide the young leaders with compelling personal stories to tell, and an effective means to engage audiences in the issues.
The young leaders will invite their audiences to take a campaign action to support the protection of a featured ecosystem. Although the young leaders will undertake social media outreach efforts, we believe their biggest impact will likely be these face-to-face presentations. Even in (or especially in) the digital age, live presentations to audiences that feature personal storytelling are a key tool in enacting social change.
Additionally, the young leaders will reach out to news media organizations where they live (community news outlets are often interested in covering the activities of local youth).
These outreach activities will be highly fulfilling for the young leaders because they enable them to have a voice in the societal issues that matter to them, to gain skills and confidence in expressing themselves, and to build a local network of like-minded allies. Furthermore, they will receive recognition for their efforts through our Global Young Leaders Award program.
Our longer term goals
While we are starting with a focus on the global oceans, our model for youth leadership development and broad-based public engagement can and should be replicated to benefit other key challenges facing life on Earth. In our second phase, we will join with allies to expand our programs where we can make the most impact.
We see an immense opportunity to not only engage large numbers of young people worldwide in protecting our threatened planet but to do so in ways that enable them to involve many additional people of all ages in joining in the effort. We believe that harnessing the energies of young people in this way can be a game changer. Please join with us today.
Global Activators is registered as a charitable organization with the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada's charity regulator. Registration number: 809428055RR0001. Donations are tax deductible for Canadian income tax purposes.