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Thoughts on a better planet from EarthEcho YLC member Ruby Rorty

Our EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council application is again live and open for new members to apply!

It’s so exciting to welcome young people into this collaborative group. I remember discovering the YLC and feeling welcomed into a community of young people that were like-minded and as invested in conservation work as I was. As the youngest member of the inaugural council, I found role models in college-aged YLC members, who generously shared advice and ideas. As we say goodbye to many of the original YLC they will lay the foundation of our newly formed alumni network. However, I know the connections we’ve forged will remain and that as the community of young people involved with EarthEcho grows, this valuable network will grow with it.

I want to serve another year on the YLC and am so looking forward to working with original members and incoming members. We’ve spent the last month in program-centered committees, building upon projects planned at our annual meet-up that was in Charleston, SC this year. We’ve grown so much. It’s been exciting to learn about our new Water Challenge Ambassadors joining our network, to watch the STEMexplore committee develop a mentoring platform, and participate in marketing and outreach for the EarthEcho Expedition: Water by Design. In the past two months, YLC members have authentically engaged in marketing, development, and governance for the wider EarthEcho International organization. Because so many of us are interested in pursuing nonprofit work, this is an amazing opportunity for professional development and exploration of our potential career paths.

Within the governance committee specifically, myself and other representatives from the YLC have been working with EarthEcho staff and board members to develop the new YLC application. Considering which questions to ask prospective councilmembers has offered an important opportunity to reflect on what makes EarthEcho special. In our application questions, we’ve prioritized passion by asking kids what issues they care most about and what they want to do about those issues. This is what I love most about the YLC: our projects and campaigns are drawn directly from the enthusiasm and interests of young people. In this way, EarthEcho offers us a platform from which to address the issues most important to us. Through programs like the Youth Leadership Council and the Water Challenge Ambassadors, EarthEcho empowers young advocates--offering us a seat at the table in conversations about our collective future. To me, that’s what makes EarthEcho--and the Cousteau legacy--unique. Not only are we leaving a better planet for our children, we’re also leaving better children for our planet.