July 03, 2012


We are always thrilled to hear how our work at Earth Policy Institute is making a difference in communities around the world. A few weeks ago we were pleased to receive an email form Gary Curtis, President of the Guemes Island Environmental Trust (GIET) in Anacortes Washington. He told us that after watching the documentary Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization on PBS a group of people there brainstormed about how to get younger folks in their community to watch it too.

They came up with the idea of an essay contest for high school students. The topic was, “What is the biggest threat to humans from climate change and how will you engage your friends to turn it around?”  Contestants were required to respond to the documentary. First prize was $1,500, second prize $1,000 and third prize $500.  Local schools and other organizations were contacted to generate interest.

Below are excerpts from the top two essays, including something about each author.

“I know from my studies that the effects of climate change, while not entirely certain, are dire.  More importantly, I know that it’s up to humans now to band together and do everything we can to protect the environment from further changes.  While it won’t be easy, I believe that humans are capable of things beyond that which is expected.”
-- Kyle Mitchell is a senior at Mount Vernon High School and an active member in the school's choirs and cross country team. He hopes to continue a life full of learning, and is planning to major in Environmental Science with a possible minor in music at Pacific Lutheran University.

“Lester Brown, the environmental advocate great on the film, is doing all that he can to advocate to high-up officials the need to change. But he can't reach everyone. It is up to everyday people, everyday leaders in counties, cities, and homes to truly make the difference needed. The responsibility to change doesn't lie in the government. It lies with each and every person on this planet Earth.”
-- Michael Giles lives in Mount Vernon with his parents, younger brother, and the family dogs. A freshman at Mount Vernon High School, he is involved in the orchestra and choir.

Awards were presented at the Anacortes Library on May 25, 2012, and the winning essays were sent to local newspapers and appropriate state and federal government officials.

As Lester says, “Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.”  Our thanks to the Anacortes community, which has become a part of the solution.


Julianne Simpson