On October 18th, 2011 Careers in Science interns attended the Brower Youth Awards, an award ceremony for six young people around the U.S. who are active in their communities and the environment. Award winners included teens working to save the diverse rainforests of Indonesia and the native endangered orangutan by boycotting products with palm oil, and young adults working in community gardens and teaching about the benefits of organic food and sustainable living. Every single award winner was distinct in their inspiring mission and message. In addition to the trip to San Francisco, the six winners were awarded with money to continue their project and public recognition for their work.
After hearing each winner speak and watch watch videos on their individual cases, the 2011 Brower Youth awardees all seem to validate Alice Walker’s quote, “activism is my rent for living on this planet.” Each winner works to strengthen their communities by fighting for what they believe in and striving to become the change they want to see in their world. All winners seem to pay more than their fair share of “rent”, whether that change comes by creating a community garden or by testing a local river for toxic waste from coal mining. The Brower Youth Award winners demonstrates that if we are to live in Earth and use the resources that Earth provides us, we must give back. It was a very inspiring event.