We Need More Climate Superheroes – Mr. Eco

Eco Hero Lucas Marching with "Be an Eco Hero" Sign during March for Real Climate Leadership - February 7, 2015 - Photo: Steven MarxMr. Eco’s visit to his school last year inspired the youngest activist in the San Luis Obispo contingent to march in Oakland on Saturday protesting fracking.

Seven-year-old Lucas showed more foresight and creativity than I did by making and bringing his own sign “Be an Eco Hero.”

As far as I am concerned, Lucas is the eco-hero of our group.

After the march, Mr. Eco stuck in my mind so I googled ‘Mr. Eco’ and discovered photos of a young man wearing a green and yellow superhero costume complete with a cape and a pendant made with a compact fluorescent light bulb. How cool, I was intrigued and surfed the web to learn more about him.

Mr. Eco

Originally, from Fresno, CA, Brett Edwards found his calling as Mr. Eco during his undergrad days at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a business administration degree in 2013.

In 2011, Edwards combined his interests in the environment and hip-hop music with an apparent flair for costume design to promote energy efficiency on campus and via video tips aired before and during football and soccer games. He secured a $5,000 sponsorship from Pacific Gas and Electric to pay for the video spots. Mr. Eco was a hit.

Edwards wanted to expand his environmental message to reach children so first approached the Clovis School District in his hometown of Fresno and then other schools across California. Mr. Eco uses rapping and dancing to engage kids and educate them about the environment; he calls it ‘edutainment.’ Since 2012, Mr. Eco has visited 90 schools and performed for over 40,000 kids.

Over the past several years, Mr. Eco has released an album “Hybrid Hip-Hop” and several music videos. He teamed up the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District on a music video “When We Commute” to encourage carpooling and using alternative transportation. Mr. Eco has participated in environmental events, been in the news, and garnered several sponsors.

If I had kids at home, I would ask Mr. Eco to visit their school.

Climate Superheroes

In our society, celebrities are often our role models. We look up to actors, musicians, professional athletes, and others who catch the public’s interest. We copy their hairstyles, clothes, electronic gadgets, follow what they do, and we like what they like.

We can debate whether these celebrities should be our role models or not, but I doubt anyone would disagree that they receive an enormous amount of attention from the press and a large slice of the social media bandwidth.

I look forward to the day when:

  • A famous actress is seen wearing the same dress to multiple red carpet events and becomes a trendsetter.
  • A legendary NFL player is ‘caught’ by the paparazzi riding a bicycle to the grocery market.
  • Every musician and singer guzzles water from a reusable water bottle while on stage.
  • A well-known actor posts photos of his rooftop solar panel installation on social media instead of selfies.
  • Mr. Eco and others like him are the celebrities that we look up to and want to emulate.

We need more climate superheroes like Mr. Eco and superhero-in-training Lucas.

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