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 to participate in protecting the planet's life support systems, including the oceans and forests. There two key components of the young leaders' outreach activities:
- Organizing youth gatherings in their communities that will bring together local youth to learn about, and become active in the solutions to, key ecological challenges such bringing the oceans back from the brink.
- Conducting public speaking presentations about key ecological challenges to a diverse spectrum of audiences within their communities. The factual information related to the environmental challenges will be embedded within a personal storytelling frame (e.g. how the young person came to become a passionate defender of our living planet).
These two activities will include a call to action for audiences, enabling them to join campaigns that advance solutions to specific challenges facing life on Earth. 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.
There are at least three areas where we believe young people, with the right tools and support, can make a difference:
- Pressuring governments and large corporations to phase out single use plastics.
- Advancing policy solutions to global over-fishing (e.g. bringing to endangered tuna species the kind of attention the plight of sharks has received).
- Showing the vital link between climate change and ocean health and using this narrative to mobilize people to tell their governments to uphold their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
We will work with leading nature conservation organizations to develop our ocean advocacy campaigns.
We are developing our Young Leaders for a Living Oceans program. It has two components:
- Extraordinary leadership training experiences (e.g. Blue Rendezvous and Oceans Flotilla) that will provide the participants with the knowledge, tools, and support to complete their outreach activities (see below).
- Outreach activities conducted by the young leaders who have participated in one or more of our training experiences. These outreach activities include organizing ocean advocacy youth conferences in their communities and conducting multi-media presentations to local audiences. Both activities will engage citizens in advocacy actions that help secure our blue planet.
Our longer term vision
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 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.