"Be the Change" Environmental Leadership Program
- From Don Weden:
I'm writing to tell you about an environmental leadership program
called "Be the Change", offered by Acterra, a nonprofit organization
located in Palo Alto. The "Be the Change" program consists of about
10-11 day-long sessions -- one per month over the course of almost a
year -- aimed at providing people with the basic skills needed to
improve their effectiveness in promoting sustainability
(environmental, economic, and social) within their local communities.
The program is just entering its sixth year and has received rave
reviews from past participants -- who have ranged in age from their
late teens to their seventies. Many have found it to be a
transformative experience in their lives and some have even embarked
on new green careers after taking the class.
Part of each class session is devoted to presentations by experts on a
variety of subject issues, including water, waste, environmental
justice, land use and transportation, sustainable agriculture, etc.
The rest of the day is devoted to group discussions and various
activities to help the participants improve their leadership skills.
Each student is required to undertake a project of their choosing
during the course that will give them the opportunity to test and
develop their leadership skills -- in a very supportive environment.
This year's class will begin on September 17th.
I'll be making the keynote presentation "Effective Environmental
Leadership for the 21st Century: It's Time to Move Beyond 1970s
Environmentalism". (I'm an unpaid advisor, presenter, and mentor for
Each class consists of about 25 participants, from a wide array of
backgrounds and life experiences.
For example, one of this year's participants, who I had the
opportunity to have dinner with a few weeks ago, was born in Vietnam,
raised in Paris, and has worked in Brazil, Texas, and New York City
before moving to Santa Clara County.
At lunch today, we interviewed a young woman who is a relatively
recent grad from UC Berkeley who currently works for VTA, and was
involved with a variety of environmental and social justice projects
during her years in college.
Another man we interviewed last week just completed a cross country
bike ride -- with his family and others -- on their electric bikes to
call attention to sustainability issues and projects across the
country. His sister is also likely to enroll in this year's class.
A couple of years ago, we had a woman in the class who was a graphic
designer by training. Her Be the Change class project involved
organizing the first Earth Day event at her daughter's school.
Although she initially encountered resistance from the school
administration, she persevered and was successful. In fact, she was so
successful that she was asked to help arrange similar events for other
schools in the school district. And, after that, she was hired by the
San Francisco Unified School District to help establish sustainability
programs throughout the school system.
The testimonials I have heard from people who have taken the course
have been truly inspirational.
The tuition for the class is $1,600 for the entire year. Flexible
payment plans can be arranged. Some limited scholarship funds are
Time is running out to apply for this year's class and the number of
enrollees is approaching the limit of around 25 students.
But there's still room for a few more candidates who want to become
more effective in bringing about positive change within their
community, agency, organization, business, etc.
More information is available at Acterra's website:
Anyone interested in knowing more about the program and how to enroll
in it, should contact Rebecca Araiz Iverson, Director of the Be the
Change Program at (650) 922-1787 or rebeccaai@... ASAP.
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