Category Archives: Victories

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

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

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

Fired Up Media wins Project Slingshot!

See other related posts here:

Introducing Fired Up Media
Project Slingshot Winners Announced!
Focus the Nation and CLIF MOJO Award Three Innovative Young Leaders [pdf]
Focus the Nation
They’ve been Slingshot-ted

Cross-posted from It’s Getting Hot in Here, originally by Minna Brown of Focus the Nation.

Millions of people are celebrating and rallying for climate action this Earth Day, but we’re also seeing how dedicated young people are to spending more than just one day working to pass legislation and find community solutions to global warming. Today, Focus the Nation and Clif MOJO are proud to announce three projects that will be examples of that determination to make positive and sustainable change through Project Slingshot

After weeks of deliberation, the Project Slingshot judges have zeroed in on three projects to propel from ideas into action this summer with grants of $10,000 each. With 45 great applications full of ideas on how to spark more youth action on climate change, the judges didn’t have an easy job, but the winners stood out for their commitment to innovation and to broadening this movement in tangible ways. The lucky three are:

Maya Donelson, Graze the Roof, San Francisco, CA, will integrate local organic food production and the efficiency gains of a green roof with an edible green roof at Glide, a diverse San Francisco church and nonprofit located in the Tenderloin District serving low income and marginalized people. Students from Glide’s Training and Employment Services Youth Build Program will construct and maintain the garden.

Richard Graves, Fired Up Youth Action TV, Washington, D.C., will produce five minute news segments covering youth issues ranging from education, to politics, to jobs and the economy, to entertainment and culture – all through the lens of the most important challenges facing young people: the impact of global warming and the construction of a cleaner, more just economy and society.

Jesse Hough, Sunnyside Neighborhood Energy Project, Portland, OR, will run a summer “think-and-do tank” institute that will engage students to help advance an innovative, community-owned, thermal district energy system utilizing low carbon energy supplies to provide space heating and cooling and domestic hot water to a mixed residential/commercial neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

These projects will serve as replicable models for all of us to become more involved and Maya, Richard and Jesse will be sure to keep getting the word out about how their projects are going.


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