Green Festival Speakers

Lauren Whitehead

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youthspeaks.org/word/

Since 1996, Youth Speaks has made it their mission to shift the perception of youth by combating illiteracy, alienation and silence and by creating a global movement of young people brave enough to take their voices to the stage. As the leading nonprofit presenter of spoken word in the country, Youth Speaks offers youth the opportunity to speak their truths each year at Brave New Voices, Youth Speaks' international teen poetry slam competition. There, hundreds of young people gather to share with one another their personal stories of triumph, sadness, joy, pain, and also their distinct and individual visions of the future.

In 2006, Youth Speaks invited these participants to speak specifically to the issue of environmentalism. Ever since, droves of youth have been rising to the occasion, jumping at the opportunity to join the growing conversation on global warming, sustainability and ecoresponsibility. Brave New Voices Speak Green was born. James Kass, Founder and Executive Director of Youth Speaks, said it best when he quipped, often times, at huge conferences, all these adults are talking about what the future wants and needs, but the future is never in the room. Young people are never in the conversation. Since it's inception, Brave New Voices Speak Green has grown enormously. In 2006 there were 15 applicants; in 2008, that number exploded into over 100, and the potential is incalculable.