Category Archives: photography

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 ItsGettingHotinHere.org 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 Avaaz.org, that we worked with and the media-savvy, social movement organizing of 350.org, 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, Jhatkaa.org, Leadnow.ca, 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 350.org, 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


Photography – Best of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen

Gallery of the ‘Best of’ images from COP 15 in Copenhagen.

Images ©Robert vanWaarden


Big Summer Activities, Fall Plans

October 2009 Update On: Project Survival Media, Contributing, Photography, Consultancy, & Our New Home

Project Survival Media: After a rigorous application and selection process, Project Survival Media (PSM) has seven talented youth new media teams, one on every continent. These teams are producing six professional mini-documentaries, 70 professional photographs, and over 100 blogs in the lead up to COP 15 in Copenhagen this December.

Then, teams are distributing content through youth blogs in 15 languages, online and offline news outlets. We will be showing delegates what is happening on the front lines of the climate crisis in their region, what it is doing to the people they are sworn to serve and protect. We are taking the message to our delegates at Copenhagen: As you negotiate our planet’s climate, “Survival is not Negotiable.”

Team leaders have compiled a media pitch that we are using to approach hosts and syndication partners, as well as some outlets who want to pay for original content. It’s awesome. We also made this video, 350=Survival, with Jon Warnow of 350.org. Read the conversation below the YouTube post – a prime example on how a video like this can help educate on climate change.

Continue reading


Robert van Waarden and Fired Up Media Finalists for Getty’s Inaugural Grants for Good

goodGetty Images, the leading distributor of still imagery, launched the Grants for Good program to support exceptional photographers partnering with a nonprofit to support a cause and issue that needs to be visualized. Robert van Waarden, together with the Global Youth Action Network and Fired Up Media, submitted an application to photograph the emerging global youth climate movement. It was an exciting application to put together, including the development of a new media platform of social documentary photography. Now, while unfortunately our application was not selected as one of the two winners, it was selected as an exceptional finalist. Read about the finalists.

In its inaugural year, Getty Images received more than 403 proposals from photographers in 26 countries, who partnered with non-profits working in more than 55 countries. Jurors Dennis Freedman, Creative Director for W Magazine, Christopher Phillips, Curator for International Center of Photography and Lesley Martin, Publisher for Aperture Foundation, selected the winning proposals. [emphasis added]” Read their release.

In addition to the two grant winners, Getty Images and the judges wish to recognize a number of outstanding finalists and their innovative grant proposals benefiting non-profits from around the world:”

  • Robert van Waarden in collaboration with Global Youth Action Network (in connection with Fired Up Media) to profile a global youth-driven movement to address climate change.
  • For more information on these finalists and their proposals, please visit www.gettyimages.com/grants. Those interested in supporting any of these exceptional projects can secure additional information by sending an inquiry to Grants2@gettyimages.com.

    The winners were really incredible photographers and one project in particular is one that will be really powerful on the issue of climate and justice is Karen Kasmauski’s project with Save Our Cumberland Mountains. She is going to be showing the Appalachian way of life and its devastation by Mountain Top Removal mining, one of the great American tragedies. View her work here.


    The Story of One Photo – Why Photographers Matter to a Movement

    c. Matt Maiorana

    You may have seen this photo, on the left, from the Bonn meeting of the UN Climate Negotiations. It seems simple enough, two men sitting at a table with a framed photograph perched in front of the microphone. Yet, it shows how everything has started to change on the fight to create a global agreement in Copenhagen this December. Why? It demonstrates how everything is in our hands now.

    First, lets start with the framed photograph itself. You probably can’t see it too clearly, so lets take a look at the original. Floating above a sea of signs, Ethan Nuss of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network is speaking to the Power Shift 09 Lobby Day Rally in front of the US Capitol building. He is wearing a suit, but he is holding a megaphone. It is wicked cold out, due to a freak snowstorm. Ethan is an incredible speaker and despite the crowd noise is inspiring all the young people in the crowd, who are vigorously waving their signs, and fired up to go lobby Congress.

    ethan-power-shift-09What does this have to do with Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate official and the Executive Secretary (think Secretary of State, not your dentist’s secretary) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – the body charged with creating a global agreement on climate change, and why did he put this framed photo up? In Poznan, Poland – there was an intergenerational inquiry on the role of youth and the UN climate process. There, I recorded Yvo de Boer state that, ” I think that civil society loses its power, when NGOs put down their banners and put on suits.” He spoke on how young people need to provide the passion, the activism, and not lose sight of their goals in policy thickets. He also called for governments to live up to their promises to include youth representation. See Unicef’s reporting on it, here.

    At Power Shift 09, there was an incredible effort to document the conference and tell our own story. Our New Media Warroom, filled with bloggers, photographers, and videographers hailing from the Obama campaign, youth climate organizations, and Fired Up Media – recorded the incredible gathering.

    Robert vanWaarden, the leading international youth climate photographer, came with Fired Up Media to shoot the conference. He captured some of the most stunning images you will see of Power Shift, showing the importance and vitality of the youth climate movement. He took this photo of Ethan and the Power Shift rally. Two days after the rally, Yvo de Boer came to Washington DC to speak at the Brooking Institute, a thinktank, where a lineup of speakers talked about political ‘realities’ that will force compromising on Capitol Hill. You can read a bit about it, here. Robert and I printed out the photo, met with Yvo and told him, “We may have put on suits, but we are never putting down our signs.” Continue reading


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