I'm handing the keys of my Huffington Post contributor account today to a bright young woman named Chloe Spencer. She's 16, she blogs, and she deserves your attention and respect (I'm looking at you snarky commenters)-I think Chloe represents the growing voice of young America with passion and intelligence. And what can I say, any outspoken female will always have a platform to scream it from the rooftops if I can help make it happen.
Who Me, Save The World?
By Chloe Spencer
Many people think of a teenager as a young person who doesn't care about anything but getting into trouble, right? Obnoxious, makes wrong decisions, doesn't understand responsibility, etcetera. "You know, a teenager's brain isn't fully developed yet, so I don't trust you with that because you can't comprehend long term consequences"...my dad's favorite line to use on me when he doesn't want me to go somewhere. But, as you probably know, that quote is somewhat true. The human brain does not in fact develop fully until age 25, according to a study run by the National Institutes of Health. But, that doesn't mean that a teenager can't observe life around them and realize what will happen to our world if humans keep on living like they do today. Oh all right, I admit not many teens think about that, but I for one, do.
I've always had a passion for trying to change the world since I was young. It started out with my interest in animals and my plans on being a zoologist, wanting to travel the world saving endangered species. And then I moved on towards trying to help others, such as the victims of poverty in Africa. My goal then was to start some kind of fund-raising business for starving children throughout the world. But there were many different poverty groups already up and running and making a huge difference, so I just decided to help out as a fund-raiser for one of them called World Vision. I did what was called "The 40 Hour Famine", where you don't eat anything but barley sugars (to keep your energy up) for 40 hours, and get people to sponsor you. All the money you make goes towards poor families in poverty-stricken countries, such as Cambodia. But was that enough? Well I'm sure it certainly helped save a few lives somewhere in the world, but I still felt I had to do more for the world than just that. The question was...how?
Not until recently had I discovered my true passion, and the way I want to express my views - and that's through film. My dream is to become a world famous director someday, making movies that open up the eyes of society to the problems our world has today, such as Al Gore had done with Inconvenient Truth, Michael Moore with Sicko, and Mark Achbar with The Corporation. I'm planning on going to one of the best film schools I can, such as USC, UCLA or AFI. There I hope to be able to express my views and speak out through film, where I'll be in the right location, with all the equipment, and the right people. So for now, I'm planning on only making smaller documentaries. I hope to start filming a movie this year, but right now I only have one written script, on the effects of junk food and its brainwashing advertising, inspired by Supersize Me and Junk Food Nation. The only thing is, it was aimed at New Zealanders, since I was living in New Zealand until just recently. So that particular movie has been postponed until I re-write the script to suit my new location and target audience.
So in the mean time, what do I do? Well, for one I have very strong views on what I eat; I'm a vegetarian. And since I have stopped eating meat, my views on vegetarianism have definitely strengthened. All I have to say with that is research what you're really eating, know how it got there and what it went through, and then decide whether you want to eat it or not. I think it's really important that people wake up to what's going on around them, because many just go about their own business, in their own little world, not thinking of the bigger picture or what's going on outside their own life. What seems to matter most is usually "I'm late for my meeting!" or "I have to schedule my hair appointment!"--- not "there's a child dying every 3 seconds!" or "the world's oil is at its peak!" - the issues that really matter.
My main goal is to make our society wake up to reality; what's happening to the world, and what each individual needs to do to help stop it. I'm not perfect though...no one is. But I do recycle, think about what I eat, and buy organic products when I can; the little things that would make a huge impact on our environment if everyone did them. And that is what I aim to get across in my future movies; even if what you're doing is something small, and doesn't seem like it would matter if you did it or not, it really does contribute to something much bigger than that... saving our planet. So, if a teenager can do it, I'm sure you could too, right?
Chloe Spencer is a 16 year old blogger who has been blogging about the hugely popular kids site Neopets for about two years. Some pages of her website, Neopets Fanatic.com, sport more than 3000 comments. Chloe monetizes her 11,000 daily pageviews into cold hard cash with Google AdSense. She's a busy girl and only blogs once a month, but still she makes between $10 and $30 per day -- money while she sleeps! Chloe has just started her newest blog, Quiz Fanatic.com, with personality tests for teenage girls, such as "How Boy Crazy Are You?" She spoke on a panel about professional blogging at BlogHer 2007 and will be speaking in a few weeks at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West.
Chloe is an aspiring documentary filmmaker who has lived in New Zealand for the past eight years. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her parents and two sisters.