02/26/2015 03:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Be a Somebody

Every day, in every corner of the world, people are courageously tackling environmental problems and creating the solutions. Some of the most inspiring among these environmental heroes are youth who know their future is at stake. They have learned -- at the ripe old age of 12, or 15, or 20 -- that no one is going to save the planet for them.

This year, starting today, we're looking for those young people, age 22 and younger, who want to save the planet.

The Pollination Project has teamed up with Levi Strauss & Co. to identify and support young heroes working on environmental problems and solutions all over the globe, in their country, community or their own backyards. In an effort to lift up and encourage them, we will start by making up to 25 seed grants to fund their grassroots environmental projects.

2015-02-25-14093273041_c616b1f40d_b300x1991.jpgThe Pollination Project has already funded extraordinary young environmental heros like Amira Odeh, a Puerto Rican student who launched No Mas Botellas to eliminate the use of disposable bottles on her 18,000-person college campus. Truth Muller, "the Bat Boy," unrelenting in his advocacy for bats in Upstate New York where the population of these crucial pollinators has precipitously declined in the past 10 years. Ronnie E. Mackey, Jr and Tyshane Francisco are Florida college students who took over their campus' community garden to teach students and residents about local, sustainable, healthy food.

Recently on a conference call with some of our youth grantees, one of the participants who launched a student-led initiative in his school said:

I wanted somebody to do something about the problem. Then I realized, that somebody had to be me. So I took action.

-- Matthew Kaplan, the BeONE Project

This is how the best projects start: A courageous person decides that the somebody they've been waiting for -- is them.

The environmental issues that we face as a global community are seemingly insurmountable, and the statistics about the impact and pace of climate change are alarming. However, people like Amira, Truth, Ronnie and Tyshane are somebodies who are doing something. They are wasting no time in advocating for our planet and the fragile ecosystems on which all life depends. They make no excuses: They are starting with what they have, where they are, and they are making a difference.

The Pollination Project believes we can identify, guide and develop the next generation of global environmental leaders who will conserve, protect, restore and advocate for the ecosystems upon which our civilization depends. Levi Strauss & Co. has made a $75,000 commitment this year to support them.

Together we are looking to fund great people and great projects. We are looking for individuals with a passion for their chosen issue, a thoughtful analysis of the problems and solutions, and a solid strategy behind their vision. Projects should be early in their lifecycle, and not yet be at a point where there is paid staff or a large organizational infrastructure behind it.

2015-02-25-YEGBIgSunMiamiColorz1.jpgEnvironmental issues that interest us include climate change education and advocacy, water access and conservation, environmental justice, community gardens, air quality, protecting biodiversity, natural resource conservation and management, population growth and promotion of plant-based diets.

If you are 22 or younger and starting or leading an environmental project anywhere in the world -- or, if you know someone who is -- learn more about our youth environmental grants at

Be a somebody.