CenterStage Children's Theatre Troupe
The CenterStage Childen's Theatre Troupe is a group of young performers, ages eight to 20, who take their original musicals to schools, communities and conventions and represents 20 who take their original musicals to schools, communities and conventions an represents 20 school districts from Wisconsin. Their flagship musical, To Save the Planet, is about the global environment and has been performed 115 times for over 43,000 people. It is inter-generational and illustrates the consequences of our actions on the environment. The members have become ambassadors for the environment and have joined forces with the Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment (CAPE). They work in separate schools to organize environmental clubs and CAPE chapters. They help to clean up neighbourhoods, recycle and conserve. The American Library Association's Book list reviewed the cast album and said "a thoroughly professional, polished performance". And Wisconsin's Governor said To Save the Planet is a shining example of the type of work that must be done today to ensure our happiness and livelihood tomorrow". By selling the script to schools, hundreds of kids across the United States of America have been able to put on the musical themselves. It has been performed abroad by schools in Mexico, Taipei, Taiwan and Peru.
Fundacion Ecologica Arcoiris
Fundacion Ecologica Arcoiris, an ecological NGO in southern Ecuador, focuses on the protection of the Podocarpus National Park. Founded in 1989 by a group of university students, it has grown into an important regional organization, made up of volunteers, students and interested persons whose activities range from environmental education to scientific investigation to lobbying and public awareness. One of their first actions was education in schools and universities (a transition which continues) through lectures, conferences and field trips. They also make scientific investigations of the plant and animal life of the Park. In 1992, they completed a study of the threatened Mountain Tapir and of the Romerillo, the only native conifer of Ecuador. They also monitor bird species. One of the major threats to the Park is mining and logging which Arcoiris is trying to keep out. In 1993, they succeeded in pressuring a Norwegian mining company to leave the Park. They were also able to stop two proposed roads that would have opened the Park to further destruction from mining and logging. In March 1993, Arcoiris won a long court battle that mandates the Ministry of Agriculture to stop granting mining contracts within the Park.
Omar Castillo Gallegos
When only 8 years old, Omar Castillo, mobilized public opinion in Mexico after watching a TV programme on the destruction of the rainforests in the province of Chiapas. In 1985, he convinced his father to walk more than 1,000 km to these forests.
After this experience and based on what he learned from the indigenous people, he decided to return to Mexico City and walk seven days and six nights around the Central Plaza until the President agreed to see him. When the President accepted, Omar asked him to save the forests and the Lacandones Indians.
In January 1986, he gathered more than 5,000 children in Cancun in a campaign to save Lake Nichupte. That same year, he met the Secretary of Public Education and asked him to include Ecology in all free school books - a request, which became a reality. In July 1986, he bicycled to nine Mexican states to raise awareness of the pollution of the seas, rivers and lakes. He has also organized clean-up campaigns for children and a food aid campaign to save the Tarhumaras Indians.
His activities have earned him world-wide attention and international media coverage.
Kids For Coral
Kids for Coral, begun four years ago on the Island of Guam, was designed as a year-long project for seventh graders, however, due to the members' enthusiasm and a feeling that there was still much to be done, the project has continued. Kids for Coral now boasts a membership of 125, comprising students from grades seven to twelve.
When Kids for Coral was formed, Guam was undergoing tremendous growth. Erosion at construction sites resulted in sediment washing into the oceans and suffocating coral reefs. In some areas, up to 90 per cent of the reefs were damaged or destroyed. Poaching, sewage outfall, overfishing and harvesting of live coral also contributed to reef destruction. The goal of Kids for Coral has been to promote awareness of this issue and of the importance of preserving coral reefs.
Highlights of their achievements include: Reef Motif art show at Guam's art gallery; beach clean-ups; window displays on reefs; articles in newspapers; testimony at hearings against underwater observatory; save the reef week; island-wide essay contest; presentations at public and private schools; fundraising; publication of newsletter Reef Briefs; radio and TV talk shows; and conferences for 350 middle school students on the subject.
The Municipal Ecologic Brigade
The Municipal Ecologic Brigade was founded in 1992 as a youth movement for young people between the ages of six and 18 years of age. Their focus is environmental awareness. It has more than 4000 members and operates throughout Nicaragua.
In collaboration with local authorities, they coordinate environmental activities such as seed collection, creation of tree nurseries, waste disposal, clean-up campaigns and reforestation. This Brigade represents the fastest growing civic movements in Nicaragua and their motto is: "For our Future we are the Brigades".
Ron G. Watkins
Ron Watkins has developed an innovative system of land management, to solve the problems of land degradation, water logging and secondary salinisation, wind and water erosion in his area. He has integrated this with land use management to address additional problems of soil degradation, acidification, loss of structure (organic matter) and loss and imbalance of plant nutrients.
Watkins developed a new approach by insisting on the need to address whole catchments and work from the top of the landscape down, rather than treat the symptoms at the bottom of the landscape. The system also involves water harvesting and water use. This "Integrated Whole Farm - Whole Landscape Planning" management system is a significant advance in whole farm management irrespective of whether it finally solves the problem of recharge of ground water leading to secondary salinisation.
The cost-effective system has application in wind and water erosion control and in commercial and small holder farming systems. The land management system has been put in place over the past 10 years. Through membership at the Land Management Society, Watkins has contributed significantly to intellectual approaches to environmental problems.
Alwan-Al-Teif, a children's music and drama troupe in Sudan, proves that no one is too young to help raise public awareness about environmental issues and have an impact.
Through the troupe's performances at children's festivals, schools, universities, ministries and other institutions, the young members are directly involved in environmental conservation - changing people's values today to help assure they have a home free from pollution and mass degradation tomorrow. Their work has inspired other youth groups to emulate Alwan-Al-Teif and their music is often broadcast on radio and television. The troupe has also produced an audio-video cassette with 16 songs and plays.
Off-stage, Alwan-Al-Teif has established a tree nursery and distributed many of the plants to people throughout the local community.
Association for the Protection of the Environment
The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) is a non-profit organization which emphasizes conservation through recycling and believes in providing the poor (especially vulnerable women's groups) with opportunities for self-advancement.
The main activity of the APE is a compost plant which collects animal manure and organic material from garbage dumps and turns it into commercially viable fertilizers, some of which is used in reclaiming Eygpt's desert land. The secondary, but rapidly expanding activity is the making of handicrafts such as rugs, bags and pillows from recycled rags.
The workers come from Mokattam Village and are young girls and women who collect garbage for a living. Due to training in the use of hand looms they are able to earn their livelihood with dignity and pride. Literacy is encouraged and cost-free classes are available on the Association's premises.
Both projects are income-generating and due to the supportive framework of the APE, the Mokattam Village women have learned to find joy and laughter within the existing context of their lives as garbage collectors.
Robert D. Dyer
Robert Darren Dyer is a member of the South African Wildlife Society and of his school's conservation club project "Catchment Conservation in the Umhlatuzana Basin".
He has received the following awards: Conservationist of the Year Award (Wildlife Society); National Audi Innovators for the Environment Award; M-Net Green Trust Award; Winner of Natal Bisonbord Environmental Symposium; Winner of National Enviro OK Youth Symposium.
His project's aim is to: plant vegetation on the banks of all the Umhlatuzana catchment rivers; remove alien invader plants and replace them with indigenous species; educate user groups to conserve top soil; establish Umhlatuzana catchment conservancies; uplift the using standards of less fortunate communities.
He is involved in awareness campaigns via lectures, exhibitions, posters, public addresses, publications, radio and TV programmes, brochures and competitions and in 1993 he established a youth club, involving more than 100 pupils from at least 12 schools. He holds bi-monthly "river days" and attends awareness weekends at selected nature reserves.
He established a nursery on school grounds; repaired degraded river banks along an 87 km stretch of the Umhlatuzana river and its tributaries. He holds monthly meetings to identify problems and works on joint solutions so that communities become empowered by their own achievements.
Green Machine Nature Conservation Club
The achievements of the Green Machine Nature Conservation Nature Club run by the Sunridge Primary School have to be seen in the light of the fact that it is managed by students belonging to one of the most under-privileged sections of the Republic of South Africa's society. Greening of the environment has gone along with efforts to improve the living conditions of the people. The first project aimed at uplifting the impoverished and informal settlements in and around the Knysna district. The Club organized workshops for the youth addicted to narcotics as well as soup kitchens for the hungry. Since the informal settlement is situated around a dumping site, a system was set in motion to exchange food packets for recyclable materials. This not only helped clean up the area, but also assisted the community in supplementing its income. For the second project, the Club created an indigenous park in the grounds of the school. As part of the project, the Club supplied trees to other schools in the area and helped another create its own indigenous park. Their third project was a campaign against waste, encouraging recycling. This was run concurrently with a campaign to enhance environmental awareness. Waste paper recycling bins were taken to businesses in the district and companies were asked to sign a pledge to recycle office waste paper.