2020 in Review – Finding Our Best Selves

2020 Reception of Champions Climate Awards Celebration

Remarks by the Executive Director

Pamela S. Ellis, Ph.D.

Over the past year, a lot of planning and administration took place with Books Motivate Foundation involvement with community supporters to be able to sponsor climate environmental conservation community outreach, which includes our two successful film screenings, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, by the Climate Reality, and Racing Extinction by Oceanic Preservation Society. Both events where held in conjunction with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, VA. Sponsoring partners also included members and friends from Citizens Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, NAACP, and the Audubon Society in mutual support of clean air, clean water, renewable energy, energy efficiency, food security, green jobs, and education with social justice. We know that through science, journalism, art, and climate policy advocacy, our presence is making a difference throughout the United States and abroad.

Even during an Anthropocene climate crisis, historic hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, and raging wildfires in Western states, and since January of this year, a COVID-19 evolving pandemic, and a 1619 American Education Democracy project, thrown into stark relief by social media and police misconduct shown in the disproportionate deaths of black, brown, and marginalized people, because of it all, and in spite of it all, many of us continue to sense an urgent need to secure a sustainable life that we believe is our unalienable right. The film, Unbreathable, created and funded by American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking in partnership with the American Lung Association released this year, highlighted by our event further validates our efforts to fight for universal social and environmental justice.

Yes, an interpretation of our statement of purpose bears repeating. Many of us continue to sense an urgent need to secure a just, environmentally sustainable life, for we believe this to be our unalienable right. A life without degradation, devaluation, and decimation for others, and for ourselves. This understanding gives us meaning and purpose.

We ask ourselves what life lessons are important? What does the current generation, generation Z, need to know (young people born between 1996 and 2015, who are currently between 5 and 24 years of age)? What will be the legacy provided by preceding generations for subsequent generations?

Together, as educators, parents, siblings, coworkers, friends, frenemies, and community members, we are passing a symbolic torch of wisdom, knowledge, and commitment to generation Z and future generations to come.

An admission that prior generations feel a sense of responsibility for those following what is now known as misdirected paths is good. Misdirected paths require “A New Normal.” Special thanks to well-known Futurist Keynote Author, Chet W. Sisk for providing persuasive thought leadership on this topic for the 2020 Reception of Champions Climate Fundraiser event. How many of us truly want a new normal? How many of us really want everything, to basically, remain the same, with little if any improvements, by our acknowledged or unacknowledged inactions? Subsequent generations have, and will be affected, either adversely or beneficially by our choices. Intergenerational, multiethnic, diverse shared leadership and responsibility is what defines excellence in education and in organizations as showcased by individual, and group, life achievements and community outcomes. 

The reality is that American civic and education priorities have been misplaced from its beginning. In an effort to Find our Best Selves, it is crucial for us as individuals, families, and communities, in the American homeland, and in the other homelands from which we originate, to achieve this personal and civic goal of self-transformation. Our one planet needs our commitment to cooperation as opposed to mutual extinction from willful choices of annihilation.

We need a profound acknowledgement, or metanoia, that we cannot do everything ourselves. We cannot be everywhere ourselves. We need shared leadership across every demographic cross-section. In order to win climate sustainability, our mindset must be, as much as possible, how can I help people who I know personally, and those I don’t know everywhere, to achieve success in their quest for self-determination responsibly within a shared Earth understanding. Only then, will we have a chance for individual survival and a sustainable shared existence.

From this foundation of mission, we celebrate the 2020 Reception of Champions Climate Awards program. We are showcasing and expanding upon our actions by highlighting our signature program, the phenomenal National Climate Student Essay Competition, wherein high school students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are invited to submit climate essays to U.S. newspapers and for adjudication for awards with Books Motivate Foundation annually over the next decade.

The recipient of the 2020 National Climate Student Essayist Award

Stella Carman, Pullman High School, Pullman, WA


The recipient of the 2020 National Climate Teacher Award

Joanna Brown, Pullman High School. Pullman, WA

The recipient of the 2020 Books Motivate Volunteer Award

Nicole Maddern, Martinsburg, WV

Climate Award Presentations

 Our award winners each received monetary awards from the Books Motivate Foundation organization.

Thank you to all who helped make the 2020 Reception of Champions Climate Fundraiser magnanimous.

Subscribe to the Books Motivate YouTube Channel via the URL here.

Thank you for continuing this work with our organization on behalf of Our Common Home, An Oasis in Space, Our Mother Earth, throughout 2020. We look forward to mutually supportive climate opportunities over the next year and decade with you, and for you.

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