He Launched the Organization, ´Greening Forward´ at Age 12 to Inspire a Global Network of Young Environmental Changemakers
After founding the organization Greening Forward at the age of 12, Charles Orgbon III has developed it into a network of young environmental changemakers globally who are taking direct action and leadership to help solve environmental issues for a more sustainable world.
Through its various programs, Greening Forward gives youths the tools and resources they need to create environmental change by helping them form partnerships with key stakeholders in the community — including schools, businesses, organizations, community leaders, and government agencies — which enable young people to take a leading role in developing and implementing effective approaches that solve important environmental issues in their community. These solutions are impacting such problems as climate change, water conservation, plastics pollution, implementing greening and sustainability measures in the school and home, air pollution, energy resources, habitat conservation, organic living, and waste recycling.
The organization, one of the largest not-for-profit environmental entities of its kind, is youth-driven and youth-led, says Charles, who is currently a senior at the University of Georgia where he is majoring in Environmental Economics and Management. “Greening Forward is paving the way for young people to take direct leadership in shaping the world we wish to see, all while helping adult-run organizations to understand the power of youth in creating local and global change in sustainability.”
He adds: “Through our partnerships, grants, mentorships, our annual International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit, and other programs, Greening Forward provides the tools and resources for young people to take what they know and put it into action.”
What inspired Charles to start his organization, especially at such a young age? As a fifth grader, he attended a school that required students to complete hours in community service. Noticing that his school campus had a litter problem, he decided to take this on as his community service project.
“So, what began as just a school requirement,” Charles recalls, “evolved into a process of me learning more about community environmental issues and wanting to engage others in these efforts.” He formed and led a student organization called the Earth Savers Club throughout middle school, and later spearheaded a number of community efforts, including planting a community garden, starting a school recycling program and integrating environmental education topics into classroom curriculum. “I wanted to show other young people how they could create similar campaigns within their communities.”
He later transformed Greening Forward from just a website into an organization run by a team of young people focused on helping other young people, ages 5-25, make a difference in their communities. Now a leading organization, Greening Forward is currently comprised of a volunteer staff of high school and college students. The organization trains and funds 2,000 young people from 50 partners in over 15 communities, who impact another 10,000 community members.
For his community leadership and efforts in starting Greening Forward, he was named a Presidential Leadership Scholar and Black Alumni Scholarship Recipient upon entering the University of Georgia.
For more information, please visit https://greeningforward.org/