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A Revolutionary Pollution-Fighting Boot Camp, For Kids

July 13, 2018

Young people today are embracing activism as never before, and they’re making a real impact on everything from social justice to environmental protection.

In a recent piece for YES! Magazine that appeared this week on GOOD, Shaima Shamdeen highlights the empowering work of youth organizations like the Ocean Heroes Boot Camp.

Based in New Orleans and organized by young activists and national environmental organizations, the camp brought together nearly 1,000 passionate kids between the ages of 11 and 18.

Activism - Ocean Heroes Boot Camp Youth
Ocean Heroes Boot Camp

From learning how to implement campaigns and organizing strategies to being taught communications skills, the teens (and pre-teens!) learned how to tackle the issue of plastic pollution head on — and it’s an important issue to tackle. In the last 50 years, plastic production has increased from 15 million to 311 million tons.


An estimated 8 million tons of plastic ends up in waterways yearly; by 2050, we may have more plastic than fish in our oceans, by weight.


Organizations like Ocean Heroes are a powerful opportunity for kids to understand the role activism can play in effecting positive change in the world.

Two of the participants, 17-year-old Carter Ries and his sister, 15-year-old Olivia Ries,  presented their work to world leaders virtually at the G7 Summit. They got them to commit to fighting plastic pollution on the spot, along with the 600+ businesses  — including big names like Hilton — who have signed the pledge.

Activism - Ocean Heroes Boot Camp Youth
Ocean Heroes Boot Camp

The camp was so popular that another is already scheduled for 2019; in anticipation of it, an Ocean Heroes Action Toolkit has been assembled to help young activists campaign in their communities.


Feeling inspired to take part?

The Good Companies below are reducing plastic pollution by using innovative materials and production processes, cleaning up the oceans, and supporting nonprofits and organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Children’s Education Fund, the Safe Water Fund, Washington Wild, and charity: water.