- Seeks to educate and empower young people to combat global warming
- Contends that climate change is caused by the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with human activity
- Filed a global-warming lawsuit against the federal government and several state governments in 2012
Kids vs. Global Warming (KGW) seeks “to educate youth about the science of global warming, and empower them to take action” against this allegedly threatening phenomenon. Maintaining that climate change is caused chiefly by human activity and its related greenhouse-gas emissions, the organization exhorts young people to urge their parents to help fund local wind farms, install solar panels on their roofs, and “invest in alternative energy instead of supporting power companies that fuel global warming.” Children and teens themselves, says KGW, should, whenever possible, ride bicycles rather than depend on cars for transportation; recycle disposable items; avoid using electrical appliances that are “energy hogs,” such as clothes dryers; avoid buying food that is grown far away, because “billions of gallons of gas [are required] to transport it”; use fluorescent instead of incandescent light bulbs; and plant trees at home and on their school grounds.
To disseminate KGW’s message as widely as possible, the group’s representatives appear in a wide variety of public venues to deliver speeches and give video presentations geared specifically for young people. The organization also runs a Sea Level Awareness Project that aims to sound the alarm about the potentially disastrous consequences of polar-ice-cap melting. Further, KGW encourages its supporters to read and sign its “Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels,” which was drafted “to let President Obama and other leaders know that the youth of this country are serious about being independent from fossil fuels within our lifetime.” One particularly prominent signatory of this document is Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
KGW was established in 2007 by then-12-year-old Alec Loorz, a native of Ventura, California, after he watched Al Gore’s documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. The message Gore delivered “really changed my life,” says Loorz. “… I knew I was being called to stop global warming within my lifetime.” By October 2008, the youngster had given more than 30 global-warming presentations at schools and youth gatherings. At that point, Gore personally invited Loorz to be formally trained by the Alliance for Climate Protection (later known as the Climate Reality Project), which the former U.S. Vice President himself had founded. At the Alliance, Loorz found a mentor and went on to become the group’s youngest presenter by the time he was 14. Since then, he has served as a panelist or keynote speaker at many climate-change events and conferences across the United States. As of mid-2012, Loorz had made more than 200 speeches and presentations to at least 100,000 people, cumulatively.
Loorz is also an advisory-board member with three noteworthy organizations: the Alliance for Climate Education, Inconvenient Youth, and Rainforest Action Network Youth Sustaining the Earth. In 2009 he received the Brower Youth Award (named in honor of David Brower) from the Earth Island Institute.
In 2012, Loorz was the lead plaintiff in a global-warming lawsuit which he filed (along with several other teenagers) against federal agencies and manufacturers that were allegedly responsible for an inordinate amount of environmental pollution. This federal suit was initially coordinated with a dozen similar lawsuits, four of which were quickly dismissed, against individual states. Known as Alec L. et. al vs. Lisa P. Jackson, et. al, the federal action was nominally directed against Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson. Other defendants included the heads of the Commerce, Interior, Defense, Energy, and Agriculture departments. The plaintiffs, who received pro bono representation from the California law firm of former U.S. congressman and Earth Day co-founder Paul McCloskey, sought no monetary damages in the case. Rather, they demanded that the U.S. government “immediately create and implement a scientifically viable emissions-reduction plan.”
Lamenting that Americans were putting “money and special interests and profits” ahead of any concern for “nature and future generations,” Loorz called for “a moral shift in values for our whole society.” He identified “this same core sickness” of greed and materialism as the root cause of both poverty and war around the world. Climate activist James Hansen served as a scientific consultant for KGW’s legal action.