What began around a kitchen table soon grew to include chapters in middle and high schools in the Bay Area and beyond.
Sixteen years ago, Turning Green began as Teens for Safe Cosmetics, a campaign that opposed hazardous chemicals in beauty and personal care products. Executive Director Judi Shils, who founded Search for the Cause in 2002 to probe into Marin County’s skyrocketing cancer rates, and her daughter, then 13-year-old Erin Schrode, began organizing meetings with local students. What began around their kitchen table soon had chapters throughout middle and high schools in the Bay Area.
As the campaign grew in size and scope, the organization’s work began reaching outside the realm of cosmetics and into all aspects of an eco-conscious lifestyle, from fashion to food, school campuses to dorm rooms, prom to graduation.
Thus, the name transitioned to Teens Turning Green in 2007, to represent the organization’s broader mission of empowering future leaders. The name then changed to Turning Green in 2015, to honor the organization’s 10-year anniversary, as well as its growing audience of students of all ages, with a particular focus on the college demographic. With a robust slate of education and advocacy initiatives, the organization now has a presence at school communities across the United States and around the world, as well as strong digital platforms and social media following. Turning Green chapters support student leaders on campuses to raise awareness, encourage behavior change, and work toward policy to ensure a healthy planet.
Turning Green’s work encompasses a wide spectrum of advocacy platforms and initiatives. Programs including Project Green Challenge mobilize students through 30-days of environmentally themed challenges, providing them with mentorship, advocacy, and leadership skills. The Conscious College Road Tour encourages and inspires students to rethink mindset, practice and action, working together toward developing intentional and sustainable campuses. Conscious Kitchen serves as an incubator for implementing solutions around school food service and proving that real change is not only possible but imperative.
Turning Green empowers students to realize their own agency, sparking exploration, discovery and action. Inspired to make conscious choices in daily life students become active around issues that directly impact personal and environmental health. With resources, powerful online and offline programs, lifestyle and campus initiatives, as well as strong leadership and mentorship opportunities, we ignite changemaking in collaboration with academic institutions, corporate, non-profit and media partners, policy makers, community and global leaders.
With guidance and mentorship, students develop sustainability platforms, plan impactful projects, engage key people and resources, and implement youth-driven initiatives on campuses. Our programs prompt the sharing of vision, ideas and tactics among students, faculty and staff, while inspiring a generation of collaborative leaders and scaling positive impact.
Turning Green has worked directly with over 3.5 million students on more than 13,675 campuses in all 50 United States and 118 countries around the world. Our interns and campus reps total over 3,858, digital reach 23.1 million, database messages 46,000, and we have collaborated with over 520 partners that represent business, non-profit and media organizations… and counting.