Sharon Smith. Building a Green, Healthy Movement!
How exactly can we acquire the knowledge that is needed for making our planet healthier and greener? Where to kick-start our personal campaign for a sustainable green economy? How to proceed farther? The answers are all given in “The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World”, an exciting, powerful, insightful, practical guide by Sharon J Smith.
It’s exactly the well planned, well practiced ideas and actions of award winning living heroes being portrayed on the pages that make this book so original. Unique in its own right. YL volunteer Nusrat has read it all and is up to share it all with you people:
For readers in general, especially for aspiring changemakers Sharon J Smith presents a book, unlike any other. It is an insightful as well as refreshingly surprising book which will help you climb the ladder; the ladder you must climb if you want to bring sustainable and significant GREEN positive change around your neighborhood and in your country. As you start climbing up, you will find tons of important tools, strategies and lessons in every single bar and rung of the ladder.
Unleash the unabashedly positive hero who lies in you. You might have already addressed some environmental concerns and probably you found your passion in GREEN movement like protecting environmental destruction by conserving the rainforests, by launching a community garden, by cleaning up the nearby beach, shutting down toxic waste dumps, protesting an oil company polluting the air that you inhale. Turn your passion into ACTION! You have no time to wait any longer.
Let Sharon Guide you; let her guidelines help you make the difference. Buy the book please. Let the book help you become the very best you that you can possibly be.
I have some deeply satisfying reasons as to why I am recommending you to read this book:
Our very own planet earth is being intimidated by tens of thousands of mindless, irresponsible man-made environmental challenges. Human life is endangered. Some seventeen thousand species are in the risk of extinction! We can’t just sit around watching climate crisis causing drought, untimely flooding, wildfires, increasing poverty and doing nothing. Billions of people started taking actions. We are a part of this planet so we need to step into our greatest self; we need to be a part of this activism in saving the world. Every single contribution, in its small or large scale, is vital.
In short, in her book Sharon discussed in detail on:
Taking your first step in getting involved with an ecological cause. Great appetizer! The introductory pages will make you hungry for more information.
- Creating an ACTION PLAN. You’re gonna need the guidelines stated in this chapter, trust me.
- Spreading your message. Don’t you want to be heard? This chapter could help you BIG time.
- Lobbying politicians and get your message heard far and wide. There you go! Sharon is here with the info you have been looking for.
- Taking your campaign to the next big level-CORPORATE. Use your innovation to solve major challenges to create a new, green economy by going after BIG BRANDS, e.g, credit cards, banks, soft drinks, packaged foods, cell phones, clothing, electronics, music…what not. Make sure, you and your peers have enormous power to influence corporate practices. So what do you do with this power?…you have to read the book to learn about it .
Holding a demonstration. “youth have a tremendous amount of power to influence any issue when they band together and demand CHANGE”. In this chapter, Sharon sheds light on how-when and other confrontational tactics to organize a peaceful protest. This chapter makes this book a must-read for young protesters who have decided to fight for a CAUSE.
Ways to use media for publicity. Want to get your campaign a smashing success? -Capture the attention of the media. This is the most effective way of mobilizing thousands of fellow community members with your cause as well as reaching an audience of tens of millions of policy makers, educators, administrators, decision makers, allies. How?-Press release, blogging and…Go read the book yourself to know more ways.
Methods to achieve financial support, fundraising. O my! This part is full of practical ideas; so extensive, so inspirational. Let me quote from this chapter, “Don’t assume that donations will stream in just because you are doing a fantastic job on your campaign. You have to ask. Get comfortable with NO. You’ll probably hear NO more than you will hear YES. Consider it is a success if you are hearing NO- that means you are doing your job as a fund raiser and making lots of asks!”
With a large dose of appreciation, with an enormous amount of integrity, Sharon depicted the fascinating stories of some fabulously fearless young eco-heroes. Awfully good…bigger-than-life accomplishments:
Alberta Nells, 16, founded Youth of the Peaks and started a huge, steady campaign to prevent a local ski resort from expanding which could have resulted in removal of 74 acres of trees. She saved the area held sacred by 13 Native American nations.
And many more…
This Bigness IS NO SMALL THING! Although they are just like us ordinary humans!!
An interview with Sharon:
Dying to learn about your new book, Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World. The title says it all but still can you give us a hint as to what it’s all about?
I wrote the book I wish I’d had when I began my activist journey—a how-to compendium with all sorts of tools and tips for campaigners, such as planning a campaign, recruiting supporters, raising money and attracting media attention. This book can help novice activists translate ideas into actions and changes that matter.
I wanted to distill the strategies devised by young folks, and took the winners of Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Awards–America’s top honor for young green leaders—as the starting point for success stories.
Throughout the book I spotlight stories from youth like Jessie-Ruth Corkins, who saved her school $90,000 by greening its heating system for a science project, and Billy Parish, whose small student group became one of the most influential coalitions in America addressing climate change. These eco-heroes have made headlines for passing legislation, founding nonprofits, and raising millions of dollars for sustainability–all before their twenty-third birthdays.
Green movement…sustainable future…young eco-heroes; are you optimistic about the fact that the dots are connecting?
I have spent more than a decade working primarily with students and youth on environmental campaigns of all stripes. I found that youth are often semi- invisible heroes behind new groups founded, legislation passed, and the cessation of unsustainable practices. I’ve got to be optimistic: I’m seeing the growth of the movement on a massive scale. When I started my activist journey I went to the EcoConference, the largest-ever conference of its type, with 1,000 students. Just eight years later I went to a similar gathering with more than 10,000 youth! How can I not be hopeful that we’ll figure out strategies to create a more sustainable future?
What’s the impact of the book so far? Practically. Are others replicating, joining?
I hope it’s been useful, but as an author I haven’t heard many reports from the field. I know that some groups are using my book as a training manual for their new organizers, while just last week I heard that a group of organizers in the Baltic region were discussing my book at a regional conference, so it’s making its way around the globe!
You’re a Program Advisor for Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Awards; as an ORGANIZER and ACTIVIST you’ve worked extensively with youth and student networks in the global justice, peace, and environmental movements. Recently you turned into a WRITER. Quite some achievements. What do you find to be the hardest part of your roles? And which one is the most fun part?
I just love working with other incredible people and together playing the role of David in a David and Goliath-style effort. It’s incredible to win when the odds seem stacked against you! And I do this work in part because I love the values and passion of the individuals I get to work with.
The most challenging part of my role is in adapting to the pace and intensity of the environmental threats. For example, I’ve done a lot of work on forest protection and am totally in love with tropical forests, where I’ve worked and traveled for more than a year of my life. Yet looking at an issue such as the burning of peat forests in Indonesia to make way for agribusiness, I don’t see citizen and NGO efforts keeping pace with rampant destruction.
Do you find it challenging to shift from Activist to Author? The thought of ‘becoming a best-seller author’ worries you?
I wouldn’t be worried about becoming a best-selling author—that would be incredible! But I’m not shifting from an activist to an author. I think of myself not as an author, but rather as an activist who wrote a book speaking to a critical issue for the young generations.
When you look back on your enormously successful career, is there anything you would’ve done differently? If so, what and why? If not, how do you manage to move forward without regrets?
At one point early in my career, I stepped back from taking on a position directing a campaign. I was nervous about assuming the stress and responsibility for what was a very critical campaign, with a lot of coalition members. I wasn’t sure I was able to lead the organization to victory with the skillset and experience I had at the time. In retrospect, I think I should have taken on the challenge; I would have developed more skills, over time, to lead the campaign to victory, as well as a thicker skin to handle conflict. But I don’t have regrets about many things in my career trajectory. Like everyone, I made my past decisions for a reason, and I still honor the logic and emotion driving those decisions.
Aspiring changemakers at various career points — struggle with rejection, unsupportive friends or family members, mixed reviews, and their own insecurities. Are you a stranger to these sorts of feelings?
I don’t think that any self-reflective person is a stranger to rejection, doubt, and insecurity. More power to you, if you can avoid these feelings As for the rest of us, these emotions and experiences are part of being human and struggling to live a life of meaning. I heard a great piece of advice last year that I use to center my thinking: “humans are problem-creating machines. Make sure the problems you’re focused on are worthy of your time.” I can focus on my own limitations or challenges, or I can look at a bigger picture. Obstacles and challenges can help develop character, but the planet calls for us to move beyond our own self-doubt and obstacles to address the planetary challenges that are also worthy of our time and energy.
What would you like to say to writers who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?
I happened to be lucky in finding an agent and publisher for this book. Katherine Cowles of the Cowles-Ryan agency came to one of the award shows celebrating the recipients of the Brower Youth Awards. She is a book agent, and afterwards she said, “I think we’ve got material for a book here.” I agreed, as I’d been thinking the same thing for a few years. Originally, we conceived of the book as a series of essays written directly by the Brower Youth Award recipients. When we found a publisher, Ten Speed Press, they helped us shape the direction of the book as a how-to guide, and that’s when I decided to pen the book myself, with the help of the amazing community I had cultivated over ten years of activism. I owe this book to early efforts by Katherine and my colleague Jason Mark at Earth Island, himself a published author, who helped dream this book into being.
If you have something to say that the world needs to hear, do everything in your power to share that vision. Talk about it to everyone you meet; hopefully you’ll inspire someone who can introduce you to the right people you need to turn your dream into a real, published, resource for the world. I’ve been amazed at how many people have said to me something along the lines of “I love to make other people’s dreams come true”. Make sure people know what your dream is. Nearly everything done of substance involves a community of folks who makes it happen—people just have to hear what your dream is, and they can them help you move it toward reality.
The book is no peekaboo game, fairytale, futuristic science flick. Neither is it a big-bang theory. It’s a book, a guideline to be exact, written with one single aim: To make you capable in changing the near-to-death gray world that we live in now into a greener, healthier, better one.
.Order a copy of her book online at her book’s website:
Nusrat Azim. Outrageously passionate about bringing positive change in the youth group. Vegetarian, nature-loving, animal-loving Nusrat also loves music, movies, traveling and hula-hooping. Work experience with non-for-profit organizations as well as tough Corporate sectors in three continents built a friendly, disciplined, optimistic human out of her introvert being. Two Master degrees couldn’t quench her insatiable thirst for knowledge. She is learning every moment of everyday at every step of her life. She strongly believes that life is full of joyful-colorful-possibilities and humans have the potentials to turn themselves into ‘miracles’.