Featured in the new book, Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life Changing Stories of Young Heroes.
WAKE UP! Climate Change Trailblazers
It was an honor to be invited to Greta Thunberg’s first public event in the U.S. on September 9, 2019.
We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.
It was in that moment that I knew—now is the time for the new Stone Soup book. People were waking up—finally!—and ready to meet these brave young people who are passionately committed to waking us all up!
Later that year, when Greta received recognition as Time magazine’s Person of the Year she challenged the media to focus on all of the young people who are standing together with her. While writing this book, it’s been an honor to connect with so many of these Climate Change Trailblazers from around the world: Jamie Margolin (U.S.), Lilly Platt (the Netherlands), Nicki Becker (Argentina), Alejandro Martinez (Spain), Joel Enrique Pena Panichine (Chile), Arshak Makichyan (Russia), Iqbal Badruddin, (Pakistan), Vihaan Agarwal (India), David Wicker (Italy), Linus Dolder (Switzerland), KC Shreya (Nepal) and Jean Hinchliffe (Australia). Each of them is shining the light brightly, blazing a path, pointing the way to a more sustainable world. These brave young climate activists urgently need our support. NOW!
In my new book, Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life-Changing Stories of Young Heroes, I’m committed to shining the light on these brave young people by uplifting and amplifying their voices, and connecting them as a powerful community to engage and challenge world leaders to respond to the global climate crisis. As the Founding Director of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, we spotlight the innovative solutions these brave youth are creating, and carrying out with amazing energy and commitment. Their stories bring to life the Stone Soup fable, and can inspire everyone to share of their time, talents, and resources in order to support young people, so that together we can build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
A Call to Action: #FutureGenerations
Each of the young people in this book came into this world with a mission and a purpose. Each of them has a unique story to tell about how they were inspired to change their lives, to take action, to dedicate themselves to something greater than themselves. They put a face to the reality of our climate crisis. They appeal to our collective humanity. They are intelligent, resourceful, and committed to doing whatever it takes to wake people up to the climate crisis.
Young people are brave, honest, courageous, hardworking, undeterred—and they are doing their part to do something. Conscious of their own footprints, they are eating less meat or going vegan. They are supporting each other, retweeting messages, sharing posts and images, to ensure that others will see them. But they are in danger of losing the hope of one day having a better life. We’ve always assumed that there would be future generations. But now?
Young people have been told to wait, but they are tired of waiting. Now is the time for their voices to be heard.
Now is the time for us to listen, and act. NOW!
Intergenerational Leadership: From the First Earth Day to Now
“Ms. Larned, this is Walter Cronkite,” said the distinguished voice on the phone. Thus began a life-changing journey. He felt strongly that the lack of an educated constituency was threatening our democracy. He thought that if people were uneducated about the issues, they would be more easily influenced by disinformation, and distracted by fear tactics. He felt a sense of urgency about the importance of educating people so they could improve their lives and the world. He invited me to his office on the 57th floor of CBS headquarters in New York City. He wanted to create a TV series based on the stories in my book Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes. He believed these stories could educate people, and teach by example how they could tackle issues in their neighborhoods; have the courage to take a stand; and strive for greatness, especially against great odds. For more than a decade Mr. Cronkite served as the Stone Soup Leadership Institute’s honorary chairperson. We did many great things together.
Widely recognized as “the most trusted man in America,” Walter Cronkite was less well known as an ardent environmentalist. Back in the spring of 1970, he had challenged his CBS investigative team to produce a series of stories about pressing environmental issues like air and water pollution, and plant and wildlife devastation from harmful industrial processes. The Emmy award-winning CBS Evening News segments that resulted came to be called Can the World Be Saved? By spotlighting these issues and introducing them into the national conversation with the urgency it required, Mr. Cronkite forever changed the way major networks treated environmental stories. Later that April he reported on the inaugural Earth Day celebration, and delivered with the same passion he had for covering the moon landing, his coverage rallied more than 20 million Americans to help launch the green movement.
It was the first Earth Day when Ben Cohen first became aware of what was happening to the environment. When, years later, he became a successful business owner he knew that if he and his partner wanted to really change things for the better, they had to take a critical look at their own business’s environmental impact. That’s why Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream installed a solar array at their factory in Vermont, and a bio-digester that turns that waste into clean energy in their factory in the Netherlands. Today Ben invests in climate justice initiatives.
Ed Begley Jr. was also inspired by that first Earth Day in 1970. He began thinking about what the future could look like if the momentum from this event was leveraged to make an even broader impact. So he went to some of the leaders who had put it together and said, “It’s fine to have this one day—but as a movement, and a community, what are we going to do for the other 364 days?” Ever since then, he has championed sustainable living in a variety of ways, including running a business that features a line of green indoor cleaning products called Begley’s Best.
Walter Cronkite would be very proud of all the great young people in this book, and grateful to the intergenerational leaders who are courageously working to build a more sustainable world. Now, at a time when journalism is being challenged on all fronts, as is the planet, we remain grateful for his leadership, and are honored to keep his spirit alive.
Dedication to ALL Young People
Young people have the energy, the desire, the will, the generosity, and the intelligence, creativity and courage to roll up their sleeves and do what has to be done to heal our world. We just have to be willing to help them do it. I’m grateful to all those who have mentored our youth over the years. Our young people need our support now more than ever. Imagine if each one of us reached out to the young people in our lives, in our communities, to lend a hand, open a door, share our gifts and skills!
This book is dedicated to all young people. May we listen to them. May we learn from them. May we amplify their voices. May we shine light on them and their message. May we join with them to build a more just, equitable and sustainable world.
Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life-Changing Stories of Young Heroes
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