Climate Champs–Earth Warriors, Climate Champion, Johan Rockstrom, Bring Back the Blue!

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Climate Champs, Earth Warriors, plus climate champion, Johan Rockstrom, and Bring Back the Blue!



Last week The Climate Daily featured Cindy Forde’s Planetari, a children’s climate change educational platform grounded on the idea of collaborating with other educators to eventually shift the curriculum in schools so that Earth is at the center of how children learn. One of its potential collaborators could be Earth Warriors. It’s climate education for young children, specifically ages 3-11. The theory of its founders Keya Lambda and Shweta Bahri, is that starting young is essential to building life-long sustainability and climate positive habits. 

Its mission is to empower 2 billion children to take climate action through age-appropriate climate education. The vision of Earth Warriors is a world where the next generation inherits a greener and healthier planet. Its website touts the programs it offers are high quality, “reviewed by experts from Harvard and Stanford Universities.” Its curriculum is geared toward three age groups: 3-5 year olds; 5-7 year olds and 8-11 year olds,  And it claims to be user adaptable to the local community. 

The curriculum even highlights in itself good spots for adaptation. Schools purchase an annual curriculum subscription, and each age group has four distinct modules—we are earth warriors, what is climate change, all about waste and community project and advocacy. Earth Warriors partnered with the National Geographic Society to produce a short kid-friendly video primer on climate change. 

Why does Earth Warriors matter to us? Because studies show that 77% of our children are more concerned about climate change than any other issue. Because other studies forecast that educating only 16% of our children will result in a 19 gigaton reduction in CO2 emissions (19 gigatons = removing over 4Million cars from our roads) And because our children will face more extreme weather events than we ever did, no matter how quickly we turn climate change around. 

DEEPER DIVE: Earth Warriors, YouTube, Visualizing Climate Change


You may not have never heard of Johan Rockstrom, but he is an unsung rockstar of the climate change movement because of his pioneering work creating the nine Planetary Boundaries. More on that in a minute.  

Johan Rockström is the director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University. An internationally recognised scientist for his work on global sustainability issues he helped lead the internationally renowned team of scientists that presented the planetary boundaries framework, first published in 2009, with an update in 2015. The nine planetary boundaries presented in the framework are argued to be fundamental in maintaining a “safe operating space for humanity.” This framework has been embraced as an approach to sustainable development.  

In addition to his research helping to guide policy, Rockström acts as an advisor to several governments and business networks including the UN General Assembly, the World Economic Forum, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences. He also acts as chair of the advisory board for the EAT Forum, a network that integrates knowledge on food, health, and sustainability to work towards providing environmental limits for healthy diets of the growing global population. 

Rockström has published over 100 research articles, including articles in Science and Nature, as well as 20 book chapters. He has also published four books: The Human Quest (2012) and Big World Small Planet (2015) with National Geographic photographer, Mattias Klum; co-authored Water Resilience for Human Prosperity (2014); and Bankrupting Nature (2012) co-authored with Swedish writer and politician, Anders Wijkman. He is the recipient of many honours, most recently including the French distinction Knight of the Legion of Honour (2016), and in 2015 the International Cosmos Prize and the Zoological Society of London Award for Conservation Innovation.

DEEPER DIVE: Planetary Boundaries, EAT Forum



Ever heard of Bring Back the Blue? It’s a majority Women-owned Benefit Corporation whose mission is to remove millions of pounds of plastic from our oceans and waste stream and convert that waste into Blue Energy creating hundreds of jobs. A California Benefit Corporation is a corporate form specifically designed for social enterprises to pursue both for-profit and non-profit objectives. It was created by the Corporate Flexibility Act of 2011.

According to the Bring Back the Blue website, the reality of plastic ocean trash is about 6.3 billion pounds of it exists, as of 2019. That’s equivalent to 14,000 Statues of Liberty. Of the 6.3 billion, only 330K lbs have been recovered by Bring Back the Blue and its partners. That’s a little over half of one Statue of Liberty. On the one hand, that’s super depressing. On the other hand, it’s a massive opportunity for this new segment of the “blue economy.” According to Wikipedia, the blue economy is a term in economics relating to the exploitation, preservation and regeneration of the marine environment.”

If you think of what BBTB is hoping to accomplish as recycling, but out of the ocean, it’s easy to see how ocean plastics recovery falls into the blue economy category. One example of BBTB projects is the Tres Lagunas Multitech Plastic to Energy Conversion program. The project is designed to power the restoration of California’s Salton Sea, Laguna Salada and in the Gulf of California. The facilities will take mixed-use plastic waste and convert it to no-sulfur diesel fuel for use in those three “lagunas.” 

Why does the work of Bring Back the Blue matter to us? For example the Tres Lagunas project would provide; manual labor, technology and trade jobs for California’s Imperial County region (40-50 people), a new reliable no-sulfur diesel fuel source for the community, a new fuel market, and energy for microgrids, all while ridding the oceans of plastic.