Adam Werbach to youth: You were born to save the planet. Find a way. Make a way. Do it now.

Aside from the continuing use of the annoying “save the planet” meme (the planet will be fine – it’s really “save the humans from an ugly step-down crash”) this is a great talk that Adam Werbach just gave recently to the Teens Turning Green conference. Adam is the Global CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, author of “Strategy for Sustainability”, and the former President of the Sierra Club.

I’ve excerpted the beginning below. Click here for the full speech transcript over on

You were born to save the planet.

The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and it has all been leading up to you.  4.4 million years ago an ancestor we now call ARDI roamed the land of Ethiopia, and her life was leading up to you.  The last ice age, about 10,000 years ago, thawed, leaving the redwood forests to our North, and all of this was leading up to you.  The Earth needs you right now.

Your generation was born to save the planet.

Have you ever wondered when things started going wrong?  Our ecological systems are in decline, one-third of fish species stand at the verge of collapse, the glaciers of the Himalayas, which provide drinking water to over a billion people, are rapidly melting, the chemicals we’re putting in us, on us and around us are forming complex endocrine disrupting compounds that are in every one of our bodies.  Every mother who is breastfeeding in America today is probably passing a man-made chemical to their child.   There’s something fundamentally wrong when mothers need to worry about chemicals that they’re passing to their children.

We’re born with better sense than that. You learn basic rules in kindergarten. Don’t break your friend’s toys.  Share. Wait in line. Don’t hurt anybody. Robert Fulghum wrote a little book called All I Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten.   But then we grow up.  We forget all of that.  The plague of Middle School is visited upon us.  We get focused on soccer practice.  And bands.  And ballet.  And sex. And STAR tests.  And SATs. And college.

I actually want to write a sequel to Fulghum’s book.  We could call it:  All I Need to Forget I learned in Middle School.

Whenever it started, the bad news seems to keep on coming.

Ten months ago the last wild jaguar in the United States was killed.  The last one. They called it Macho B.  Biologists had been seeing Macho B for years. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish killed it accidentally in a bungled attempt to save it, because the Federal Government had refused to give the jaguar Endangered Species Protection.

This is happening in your lifetimes.  This isn’t something you need to wait for a Kens Burns Documentary to hear about, the crash in biodiversity in our last wild places is happening now.

Click here to read the rest.