Photo by Meagan Honnold
Tom Jensen, a Sierra Club organizer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, looks younger than his 23 years, but his accomplishments bespeak someone twice his age. Jensen has worked on two dozen political campaigns, writes weekly columns for a local newspaper, helps edit a local political blog, and sits on Chapel Hill's planning board. The 2006 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill got his feet wet in politics as a high schooler in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when he worked on a school bond campaign for his local school district.
Jensen's latest endeavor is trying to persuade North Carolina cities to sign a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The North Carolina Sierra Club's goal is to get 12 cities on board by the end of this year, and five have already committed. But Jensen plans to get far more than that number on board, including smaller cities. "There's no reason small cities shouldn't be environmental leaders, too," he told the Raleigh News & Observer in a feature that ran over the New Year's weekend on seven local residents to watch in 2007. Practicing what he preaches, Jensen rides the bus from Chapel Hill to his job in Raleigh each day.