Alec Loorz is a 17-year-old high school student in Ventura, California, who believes his generation is poised to inherit a world where mass production, environmental degradation and the burning of fossil fuels has put the future of human society at risk. He is one of seven youth plaintiffs currently suing the federal government on behalf of youth everywhere in an attempt to take Washington to task on climate change. The atmosphere, they argue, belongs to the public and our leaders must protect it for future generations. On May 11, a federal court in Washington, DC, will decide whether young people have standing in such a case against the government.
As a young teenager, Alec founded the group Kids vs. Global Warming to empower and educate young people. His organization has held workshops, actions and marches across the country to help youths realize that they have the power to take on an issue of global proportions.
Alec’s journey into climate activism began when he saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” at the age of 12. In order to convince a skeptical friend that global warming is real, Alec began researching climate change and soon put together a presentation for his classmates. Since then, Alec has addressed about 300,000 people with speeches and presentations across the country and is known as one of the prominent youth voices in the climate-change debate. When Alec is not busy with activism, he writes, blogs, makes music and works and interns at a jet propulsion laboratory. Truthout recently interviewed Alec about the federal lawsuit, the role of youth in the climate struggle and his vision for the future.