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Friday, June 5, 2009

The 2009 EcoDaredevil Award: Call for Nominations

The first annual EcoDarevil Award was presented on Earth Day 2008 at Duke University in Durham, NC. On World Ocean Day, June 8th, 2009 we proudly announce our call for nominations for the second-annual EcoDaredevil Award. This year we will honor an EcoDaredevil from the legendary Evel Knievel's home state of Montana, with an award presentation on the campus of Montana Tech in September 2009. Nominations must be received by August 1, 2009. The 2009 Ecodaredevil winner will receive a cash award and other “green” prizes.

The first annual EcoDaredevil Award was presented to Duke doctoral student Elliott Hazen. An honorary award was also presented to Krysten Knievel, granddaughter of Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel in recognition of Evel's inspiration for the EcoDaredevil Award. Mr. Hazen was one of the co-founders of GreenWave, a student-led sustainability movement at the Duke Marine Lab. He also instituted a Green by Design class at the Marine Lab bringing in all sorts of experts from business, fisheries etc. to come and chat about sustainability.

The 2009 award winner will be chosen by 1) a selection committee of nationally and regionally recognized environmental scientists/ activists who will review all nominations; 2) peers via an on-line voting system. The 2009 EcoDaredevil Award will be announced in a ceremony at Montana Tech on Friday, September 18th on World Water Monitoring Day, an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

2009 Nominees must meet the following criteria:

- Be from the State of Montana;

- Age 18 to 35, or a recently (graduated this spring or enrolled for this fall) enrolled/graduated college (grad or undergrad) student;

-Has exceptionally fulfilled the core characteristics of what the Ecodaredevil Award signifies: courage, creativity and success (even failure if they’re back up and trying) in positively impacting environmental change through science, action, policy or the arts.

-Nominee must be nominated by a faculty member, researcher, student/ peer or other member of the local, regional, national or international environmental community.

-Please submit nominations via email to EcoDaredevil@me.com by August 1, 2009. Please include the following information in your nomination, electronic submissions only (sent to EcoDaredevil@me.com ):

• Name

• Age

• Location/hometown

• Year in school/college/major

• An explanation of why the nominee is an Ecodaredevil (maximum of three, single-spaced, 12-point font pages)

• At least two letters/emails of recommendation/support -- one from a faculty/teacher; one from a student/peer; and/or one from a member of the community (state, local or other).

• Supplements/supporting materials may include web links, articles, images of nominee's accomplishments

Entries will be judged upon 1) innovation/creativity of nominee's actions/accomplishments; 2) courage of nominee to perform in the face of adversity (i.e. difficulty of achievement exhibited by numbers, required time/timeliness, social/economic/political climate, etc.); 3) significance of nominee's impact on environmental change (sustainability and/or size of outcome(s); number of people affected, policies changed/implemented, honors received); 4) exceptional character exhibited by the nominee. [Note: In order to save your nomination, prepare the nomination with Word, pdf and submit as an attachment.]


The World Needs Some EcoDaredevils

By EcoDaredevil founder Wallace J. Nichols, PhD.

Back in the 1970s, many of us idolized Evel Knievel. He was a rock star, sports hero and folk legend in one. He was both a daredevil and a cool character. Back then, his jumps over buses, fountains and canyons inspired us to launch our bicycles into the air and over puddles, mounds of dirt and hapless friends.

Now, we find new inspiration in our childhood hero.

In 1961 Robert Craig Knievel, long before “Evel” became a household name, hitchhiked through the dead of winter from Butte to our nation’s capital to protest the culling of elk in Yellowstone National Park. He lugged the rack of a massive bull elk along as a gift. It dominated the White House office of Mike Manatos, assistant to John F. Kennedy.
The administration responded and many elk were saved via implementation of a transplant system.

Half a century later our country and our world face ever more serious environmental crises — loss of biodiversity, a warming planet, collapsing fisheries, looming food and water shortages for billions of people and the realization that our pollution has reached nearly every corner. Scientists forecast the 2050 Scenario as the convergence of a hotter, dirtier, more overcrowded Earth where nature will have been forgotten by most of the nine billion inhabitants who fight in violent wars for what’s left.

Jumping that chasm is the greatest challenge we have ever faced.
Waiting until later is foolish at best and disastrous at worst.

Solving the biggest problems we face will require the most revolutionarily of changes in society and technology, rather than incremental steps.

We must be brave, creative and outspoken enough to challenge the status quo in our respective industries, departments and neighborhoods. We must undertake the audacious, impossible and dangerous. We must risk financial, social and physical pain.

In other words, we must be EcoDaredevils.

EcoDaredevils are everywhere. They are musicians, inventors, investors, scientists, activists, engineers, students, artists and entrepreneurs. They are debating, creating, evolving — sometimes crashing — and always coming back for more.

Two Texas women cleaned up their beach and inspired the International Coastal Cleanup, a global volunteer movement a half a million strong. Virgin Atlantic billionaire Sir Richard Branson is greening the aviation industry. Feliciano dos Santos campaigns for clean water in Africa with powerful music. In San Francisco, architect Renzo Piano designed the giant new roof of the California Academy of Sciences as a native meadow with solar panels. In Mexico, WaterKeeper Julio Solis drag races in Baja fishing villages to raise awareness of the ocean crisis.

Changing our light bulbs, inflating our tires and bringing our own bags are all important. But let’s be clear: it’s going to take actions far more thrilling and substantive for us to make it over this canyon.

For some, speaking up boldly about energy efficiency at the office is a risky bet. For others it may be a massive transformation to “green” their household. Others may undertake bolder actions at higher stakes. The point is to do something for the planet that feels like risk and derring-do — to you.

They say that Evel Knievel broke many, many bones, many times. But he kept on jumping his motorcycle through the air. “A man can fall many times, but he’s never a failure unless he refuses to get up,” is chiseled on Knievel’s headstone. He represented a combination of steely will, toughness, creativity and tenacity that enthralled me as an eight year old and still does.

Look inside yourself and grab a hold of your inner EcoDaredevil. Strap on your helmet, your red, white and blue leathers, and let’s go for a ride.

Nominate an EcoDaredevil for our 2009 Award.