Author Archives: Richard Graves

About Richard Graves

Richard, VP, Business Development for Ethical Electric is a veteran of online organizing and online media, clean energy entrepreneurship, and mission-related investing. The founder of Fired Up Media and Editor of It's Getting Hot in Here, he served as VP of Project Finance for Solar Mosaic, the Online Organizer for the Webby-nominated, 17 million person TckTckTck campaign and as an angel investor in and board member to startups, such as Skyline Innovations, Faraday Bicycles, and He graduated from the Center for Progressive Leadership's Executive Fellowship and the NextGen Fellowship in Mission Related Investing, as well as Macalester College, where he developed the first student-led Clean Energy Revolving Fund. He also has been known to collect and use cooking equipment from around the world and might just make you something, if you ask nicely.

Fired Up Media closing doors, but leaves a legacy of social innovation

Fired Up Media is closing its doors, as readers of our site will have noticed, the site ended curation a while ago. After a great run, as a fiscally sponsored project of the Earth Island Institute, we are shutting down all programs and transferring all current media projects to some of our nonprofit partners.

Fired Up Media was built in the wake of Power Shift 2007, to catalyze a global communications network among young climate leaders around the world. It was highly engaged in the arc of the climate negotiations, including covering the Poznan Climate Negotiations in 2008 and reached its peak covering the 2009 climate negotiations in Copenhagen, bringing a team of youth climate media activists from around the world to cover the negotiations, as well as supporting an amazing media and photo team. We had the honor of doing the training and media delivery of the largest climate petition in history (when it was 10m, before it grew to 17m), in partnership with the TckTckTck and the late Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathai. Our blog had its best traffic day, ever, when we livestreamed the following sit-in, towards the end of the negotiations, when youth leaders read the names of the signatories and refused to leave without an agreement.

The leaders and programs we worked with have gone on to do amazing things, but the context and format of this work has changed dramatically. Our international reporting project has developed significantly and is now a fully free-standing project of the Earth Island Institute: Project Survival Media.

Our photographers have gone on to do amazing work and projects, particularly Robert van Waarden, whose work on social movements, human rights, and adaptation on a world with a changing climate has been published in leading publications and exhibits across the world.

Many of the youth global leaders we worked with are developed a new global network, mixing the multi-issue rapid response campaigning of global groups like, that we worked with and the media-savvy, social movement organizing of, our other partner, in a new national model, under the OPEN umbrella. You can check out some of this burgeoning global movement of national and international networks, such as: GetUp! Action for Australia,,, SumOfUs.org38 Degrees | people. power. change, and ActionStation. Fired Up Media worked with many of the founders and leaders of these organizations and will continue to do so, through two new vehicles, the Fired Up Fund and the OPEN fund.

Lastly, as the founder and Executive Director of Fired Up Media, I was half-time through December 2012, to get the divestment campaign, with the Responsible Endowments Coalition, Energy Action Coalition, As You Sow, and the Sustainable Endowments Institute, up and running. With the major work by, and the President himself advising communities to invest and divest on climate, that work is well and truly running. You can join at Go Fossil Free.

Personally, for the last year, I have been launching a simple, easy way for Americans to switch off of fossil fuels and support the social change work that our partners and allies have been doing, through Ethical Electric. As VP, Business Development, I have been working on an amazing partnership and certification effort within the company and after a year of hard work, Ethical Electric is now available in 9 states and counting! We are just starting, but I believe amazing things can come from this work.

Thank you for reading through this and learning a bit about the history and living legacy of Fired Up Media.

Goodnight and good luck,

Richard Graves
Executive Director, Fired Up Media

The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement + Changing the World: Featuring Content from Fired Up Media

Check out The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement + Changing the World, the new book that lays out how to plan and win campaigns for young environmental leaders. Chock full of resources, including real campaign plans, successful strategies for citizen lobbying, and of course, how to generate media attention and tell stories effectively.

What are people saying about this book?

“Organizers spend decades developing tools and learning systems that Sharon Smith puts at the fingertips of young activists within a weekend.”—Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green for All

“If you ever thought about wanting to change the world, but didn’t know where to start, then buy this book. It’s an inspiring and practical guide for young people who want to take the first steps toward finding real solutions for the planet.”—Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club

Well, that is really exciting to hear, as Fired Up Media staff and supporters helped edit and contribute to the book. Richard Graves, the founder of Fired Up Media, was a significant contributor to the Making Media Headlines chapter. In fact, it took almost a decade to learn a lot of these tools and skills and we are super fascinated to see what the next generation of youth environmental activists are able to do with a clear and effective guide like this one to guide them.

Guess what, we will be covering them on It’s Getting Hot in Here, Check the Weather, and all the other amazing youth climate activists. So, if you want to make an impact, pick up the book, get reading and get out there and change the world.

Just don’t forget to drop us a line and tell us your story, because we want to hear it.

Project Survival Media Launches as Independent Earth Island Project


Over the last two years, it has been my pleasure to work with Shadia Wood and Madeline Kovacs, who started working with Fired Up Media several years ago. We had some terrific successes together, covering the Poznan Climate talks for LinkTV, training dozens of young journalists at Power Shift 07 and 09, and especially – the launch of Project Survival Media.

Now, after getting the program launched in the chaos of the lead-up to the Copenhagen Climate talks and bringing incredible youth journalists from countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to report on the negotiations – Project Survival Media is now standing on its own (Support them!) – an independent project of the Earth Island Institute.

Shadia has had a lot of experience with Earth Island, as  a Brower Youth Award winner, one of the first staff members working with the Energy Action Coalition and at the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, and lately, with Fired Up Media. It is going to be exciting watching her take on the challenges of coordinating a network reporting from the front-lines of climate change. f you have questions about PSM’s program, media content, or being a Team Leader or Team Member, please contact Shadia.

Madeline has likewise had a lot of experience in the field, dating from our time together at MacCARES at Macalester College, to her work with Focus the Nation, Working Films, and now as the co-coordinator of Project Survival Media. If you would like to donate to the project, have questions about PSM’s website, or are an organization looking to partner with us, please contact Madeline.

It is exciting to see their success and I hope you check out their new effort, Solutions for Survival. It is going to be awesome. If you agree, support Project Survival Media today and just wait till you see the impact of a global youth journalism network dedicated to broadcasting stories of survival and ingenuity in the face of climate change.

I will be involved as a board member and I will be working to raise money, help where I can, and find opportunities to connect Fired Up Media platforms and training programs with Project Survival Media’s reporting teams.

-Richard Graves

Fired Up Media Headlines Earth Island Journal

This fall’s Earth Island Journal featured a article on the Climate Bill and the BP oil disaster and a report on local solutions by Project Survival Media. We are excited to have our work featured in the award-winning journal published by Earth Island, our sponsor. Check out the articles and subscribe to the magazine to support quality environmental journalism. -Richard Graves

Devil’s Bargain: How the BP Disaster Sank the Climate Bill

A week after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, entertainer Rush Limbaugh suggested that environmentalists had caused the disaster in order to pass cap-and-trade legislation that wouldn’t include new offshore drilling or loan guarantees for the nuclear industry. A massive environmental disaster, on the eve of the fortieth Earth Day celebration, right before the planned introduction of the Senate climate bill — the timing, as Limbaugh noted, seemed too pat. And, in fact, toward the end of the failed Copenhagen climate talks last December, some despondent green campaigners privately confided to each other that they thought only a major disaster could build the public pressure to enact policies sufficiently ambitious to tackle global warming.

If only. Because four months later, the Gulf oil spill, rather than putting anti-environmental senators on the defensive and coalescing the movement for climate legislation, has shattered the fragile alliance that environmental advocates had built in the US Senate. In July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the climate bill was dead, saying, “We know we don’t have the votes,” and suggesting instead a package that lifts the liability limits on oil companies and contains some relatively minor energy initiatives.

How, exactly, did the BP blowout frustrate the assumptions of both right-wing radio shock jocks and progressive environmentalists? The counterintuitive result grew out of the byzantine politics of the Senate and the increasingly desperate compromises many environmental groups have felt forced into as time runs out to tackle climate change. The big green groups — frantic to pass a bill before the mid-term elections — thought they could use a proposed expansion of offshore drilling to attract the votes of senators hesitant to put a price on carbon. With the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, that scheme backfired and sunk, too.
Read the full article at the Earth Island Journal.

Project Survival Media

Local Solutions

As governments fail to take necessary action on climate change, ordinary people the world over are becoming innovators. People are finding real solutions that empower communities and ensure their survival. Over the next 18 months, will document and share these solutions via regular “updates from the field,” from five continents. Stories will focus on a variety of areas related to sustainable community development.

Continue reading

New Project Survival Media Website launches at Copenhagen

Project Survival Media‘s new website launched at the Copenhagen International Climate Conference and it looks great! Check it out and get dispatches from Project Survival’s media teams around the world.

Unite for Climate: Platform for youth climate solutions

Children and young people have a new platform to engage in climate solutions, with the launch of today at the International Children & Youth Conference in Daejeon, Republic of Korea.UNICEF, as part of a diverse coalition of UN agencies, civil society groups, youth activists, universities, and private partners, built the open-source online engagement platform for youth people and children to collaborate on solutions to climate change.

Young people from the developed world have pioneered uses of new media for advocacy and partnered with youth networks around the the world to build platforms, like However, UNICEF and the other Unite for Climate partners have developed appropriate technology to connect young people without access to the internet and computers or in low-bandwidth areas, by using SMS polls and other online-to-mobile technology to reach youth in the developing world.

Another focus of the effort is online video, with low cost video-camera manufacturer FlipCam, YouTube, and the 1 minute to save the world contest coming together to provide equipment, host content, and screen video. Alongside the online video initiative, the site will have social networking tool available on the Unite for Climate site, for young citizens engaged in facing the challenge of climate change.

The platform was unveiled at the TUNZA International Children and Youth Conference in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, which is organized by the youth network affiliated with the UN Environment Program, TUNZA. Children and youth from some 110 countries participated in the launch of United for Climate, as well as released a statement they are delivering to world leaders.

The statement, titled “Listen to Our Voices”, led with this statement

We, young people – 3 billion of the world population – are concerned and frustrated that our governments are not doing enough to combat climate change. We feel that radical and holistic measures are needed urgently from us all. We now need more actions and less talking.”

The statement also made commitments by young people to work for sustainable solutions, work to green schools, campuses, and communities, as well as mobilize around the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this fall.

To support this youth commitment on campuses and schools, Unite for Climate will connect at least 150 schools around the globe from September 2009. The Connecting Classrooms project will foster dialogue on climate change between school children, and is supported by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Mediterranean Center for Sustainable Development.

For more information:

United for Climate:

Youth Climate Debates:

Youth Climate:

It’s Getting Hot in Here – dispatches from the youth climate movement –

Fired Up Media Roundup

So, we tend to write a bit at Fired Up Media. I mean, it is part of our mission, so it makes sense. However, as another part of our mission is projecting the youth voice into the global conversation on building a sustainable future, we tend to write at a number of different sites. So, to give you all an idea of what we have been writing recently and where you can find it, we are doing a roundup. I hope you find it interesting and see the diversity of topics that Fired Up folks are tackling at any one time.

Madeline J. Kovacs : SolveClimate & It’s Getting Hot in Here-  Jul 26th, 2009 – Students Lead Charge to Power School with Renewable Energy

Richard Graves: – Friday July 24, 2009 –  Unregulated Carbon Credit Markets Threaten Local Sustainability Projects Worldwide

Kevin Kim: It’s Getting Hot in Here – July 21st, 2009 – A Green Way Forward? US/China Launches Joint Energy Research Center

Richard Graves: It’s Getting Hot in HereJuly 14th, 2009- Unity over Divisiveness: Generational Approaches to the Climate Crisis

We will do another round-up soon, as we are writing up articles for’s eJournal USA and other publications, so keep an eye out!


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