Environmental Activism: A History

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April is finally here, and you know what that means – people everywhere are looking forward to celebrating Earth Day! In tandem with this annual Earth-conscious celebration, The National Theatre for Children’s beloved characters from Duke Energy’s in-school programs are hard at work spreading the word about resources and energy conservation.

Some of you may be wondering: How did the heroes in our programs become such passionate advocates for the Earth? Who serves as the inspiration for all of their valiant wisdom? The answer is the real-life heroes – environmental activists!

For fans of Kilowatt Kitchen, for example, our hero is Lorraine Quiche – a strong woman determined to open her own restaurant and learn everything she can about how to conserve energy. Throughout the story, Lorraine learns invaluable lessons about the importance of our resources and imparts this knowledge on the young minds watching in the audience.

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Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - www.fws.gov

Lorraine’s determination and thirst for knowledge is not unlike Rachel Carson, who is regarded as the founder of the modern environmental movement. Beginning her career as an influential female figure in government, Carson worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while writing books about environmental conservation. She eventually devoted all of her time to writing in order to make people realize how their actions affect the Earth and its resources, and her candor brought many topics to light – such as the importance of using pesticides safely, and taking extra care to help preserve our natural environments instead of overtake them.

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If you were to ask another star of Kilowatt Kitchen, Adam Grizzly, who he looks up to, you can bet Sigurd F. Olson would be among the names of environmentalists given. Grizzly, for those unfamiliar, is the good-hearted zoo keeper who helps Lorraine Quiche in her quest to conserve energy. Olson, too, was good-hearted, and was an ardent voice for not only the protection of animals, but also for the defense of natural resources in the United States – working with groups such as The Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association. His claim to fame was helping to draft the landmark Wilderness Act of 1964, which led to the preservation of huge amounts of wilderness including what is now the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Voyageurs National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Point Reyes National Seashore.

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Image: Northland College / The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute - www.northland.edu

No matter who’s teaching the lesson – whether it’s a fictional or a non-fictional hero – the most important part is who’s listening. For that, we cherish the students who get to enjoy Kilowatt Kitchen and The E-Team in their schools. You can bet there will always be some future environmental rock stars in the audience paying heed to the important lessons being taught. Since these students are the future, it is vital that we give them the tools to succeed now. Thanks for participating in our programs, and taking action towards making a difference for our planet!