In the day-to-day grind of life, we can often get stuck so much on our own problems or worries that we don’t see the world around us. I’m sure everyone, at one point or another, has been convinced that the problem they were dealing with was maybe just a little bigger than it actually was. C’est la vie, right? Well, let me tell you about a few eco-heroes and their actions that hopefully will serve as a reminder to us all that there isn’t much we can’t accomplish when we set our minds to it.
Now I’m sure you’re familiar with a variety of different “celebrity” eco-heroes, but here are a few eco-heroes you may or may not be familiar with:
1) Erik Uebelacker: Erik was the 2009 First Place Winner for the “Action for Nature’s International Young Eco-Hero Awards“.
What’s even better? Erik was just 8 years old when he won in the 8-12 yr old age category!
Erik won for his book, “Butterflies Shouldn’t Wear Shoes” which he decided to write after he learned, in his second grade class, that butterflies taste with their feet.
With a little help from his mom, Erik wrote, illustrated and put together the book.
He then gave the book to his teacher, who requested more copies (as did other people). So they decided to print and sell them in order to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund (since Erik loves animals and wants to help them). He raised $2000 from the sale of his book which he donated to the WWF.
If you want to learn more about Erik or get a copy of his book, you can do so through his website, butterfliesshouldntwearshoes.com
2) Rory Owen Delaney, Producer/Director with Man Bites Dog Films. Whether or not you are familiar with his work with MBD Films, you might know Rory as the guy who wrote, produced, edited and directed the eco-documentary “Toxic Soup“.
Toxic Soup is the story about everyday Americans who are fighting to keep their blood, water and air safe from pollution. It is set to debut at the 2010 Atlanta Film Festival Awards and you can check a preview of it here:
3) Bethe Almeras, The Grass Stain Guru: Bethe will probably tell you right off the bat that she is no eco-hero. But she is the perfect example of an eco-hero in that through both her writing and by example, she encourages others to connect with nature, respect and enjoy nature and just get back outdoors.
Over the past 20 years, she has continued to accomplish this in a fun and creative way. Bethe is also the co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s Earth Hour®.
4) Denise Herzing, Wild Dolphin Project: Denise is sometimes considered to be the Jane Goodall of the sea. Her dolphin project is three-fold: research, education and conservation.
Through her work she “seeks to contribute informed knowledge to help create awareness and preserve the natural environment through appreciation of all the biodiversity on our planet.”
5) Mike Lieberman aka CanarsieBK: Now, Mike is a little like Bethe in that he isn’t doing what he’s doing to try and be a hero. He’s doing it because he honestly wants to help provide you with “Simple Solutions for Living in a Complex World”.
I had the honor of meeting Mike in person when he came out to Southern California (he’s a full-blown New Yorker, by the way). And I have to tell you, he’s about as down to Earth as you can get.
He tells it like it is and has a real heart-felt desire to share his experiences with others and learn from others through their experiences. And he is doing just that. He has a variety of websites including: Urban Organic Gardner, Simply Raw Recipes and 365 Ways to Go Green (all of which can be found on his CanarsieBK.com).
6) Adarsha and Apoorva, a brother/sister team and Founders of Project Jatropha: These teenagers were also winners of the 2009 “Action for Nature’s International Young Eco-Hero Awards” (but in the 14-16 year old category). They decided to create a bio-fuel for India.
Even though the teens live in California, they often spent summers with their grandparents in a small village in India. They knew many of the village farmers grew tobacco for a living, but one of the things they noticed when they were there was pollution coming from the kilns farmers were using to cure their tobacco plants.
In addition, they found out that farmers were getting their firewood (for their kilns) from traders who had been illegally selling it to them, from trees they had cut down in a nearby National Park.
In order resolve this problem the teens started Project Jatropha with assistance from two organizations: an organization that helps farmers in India and a plant biotechnology company. They came up with the solution to use a different plant…a drought resistant plant (Jatropha curcas), which can grow in an arid environment and produce seeds with about 34% oil that can be processed to create high grade fuel. For the rest of their amazing story and great accomplishments, check out their timeline.
There is broad range of eco-heroes here, but each is a hero in their own right. To find out about other selfless heroes, eco or otherwise, check out Explore.org.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: For all you filmmakers out there….Explore has teamed up with HATCH for this year’s HATCHfest in order to honor and recognize a filmmaker whose short film shows a group or individual hero striving for a better world through their selfless acts.
So, if you or anyone you know has created a short film which showcases a cause or individual hero who inspires others, through their selfless acts to make a difference, submissions are now being accepted. Deadline is Thursday, March 25th.
Spread the word and get your favorite eco-hero or eco-cause the recognition they deserve for their truly selfless efforts! You never know, their work (and yours) may help inspire the next generation of eco-heroes.