“Anything you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Goethe
The Brower Youth Awards is a cause that is close to my heart. When I was in high school I wanted to Save the Whales. In my speech class I gave a presentation about the cruel Harp Seal hunt. Later, I wrote letters to my congress person about Dolphin Safe Tuna. When I first moved to San Francisco I volunteered for Earth Island stuffing envelopes to Save the Tortugas. Fast forward to few years ago when I learned about 1% for the Planet. I was inspired to give back with my business and one of the donor recipients I chose was Earth Island Institute. One day I received an email about the Brower Youth Awards and I knew I wanted to connect and make a difference with my photography.
This is now the third year that I’ve had the honor of photographing the Brower Youth Award Winners and each time I am humbled. Everyone does what they can but these youth don’t stop there. They go beyond the need and get creative with concrete action and results. Learning about each of their projects and then meeting them in person to make their portraits is such a moving experience. Meeting them and hearing their stories of change gives me HOPE in a world of negative news. It makes me believe that anything is possible because they are not just talking about it, they are already doing it now. My part is little but my wish is to convey the biggest thing when I talk to them; “YOU inspire me! I want you to know that I am cheering you on for your courage and amazing work! I am your witness and I’m photographing you today to show you that you are seen. We see you and you ROCK!”
You can go HERE to see the winners speeches! Get ready to be inspired!
Information about the youth projects below.
Amira Odeh Sustain US
Jonathan Ferrer UPROSE
Chloe Maxmin First There Then Everywhere
Alex Freid Post Landfill
Arielle Klagsbrun MORE
Cassandra Lin TGIF
A little background on the Brower Youth Awards as quoted on the Earth Island website: “The New Leaders Initiative (NLI) grows environmental leadership by raising the profile of young emerging environmental leaders in North America, celebrating their achievements, and providing them with the skills, resources, and relationships to lead effective campaigns and projects. NLI honors the legacy of David Brower – firebrand environmentalist, community activist, and founder of Earth Island Institute.
NLI is home to the Brower Youth Awards, the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders. Since 2000, the Brower Youth Awards has recognized 61 exceptional leaders with a cash prize, a high-energy week of activities in San Francisco, and ongoing leadership support. NLI also offers mentoring and project sponsorship to rising young leaders.”