Anti-creationist activist Zack Kopplin wins award for being ‘troublemaker’ of the year

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Last month we told you about Zack Kopplin, the 19-year old activist who’s making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists. Kopplin, in addition to his campaign to get the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act repealed, is seeking to reform the U.S. school voucher system, which currently funds schools that teach creationist ideas. He’s given numerous interviews, spoken in front of the Louisiana State Legislature, and held rallies. Now, in recognition of his efforts, Kopplin has been awarded $10,000 by the TroubleMaker Award committee.

The recently founded TroubleMaker Award is a global contest for individuals (and groups of people) under the age of 20 whose “unconventional activist efforts make a positive and lasting impact.” It’s a unique award in that it celebrates and recognizes the work being done by young activists. The award committee is actively searching for teens who bend the rules and question the status quo. “Their activism not only turns heads, but also delivers tangible positive impact on their local community, home town, country, or perhaps the entire planet Earth,” they write.

“It’s a huge honour,” Kopplin told io9. “This award fits the ethos I have — a very strong sense of what I believe is right and what I believe is wrong. Initially, when I first began this campaign, I didn’t think of myself as causing trouble or speaking truth to power. I was just a high school kid who was doing what he knew was right. I didn’t begin my campaign to challenge social norms, but I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older, when I see something that is wrong, I must speak up and act out to change it.”

TroubleMakers can address any number of issues, including women’s rights, poverty, bullying, environment and nuclear energy.

Kopplin says he will use the $10,000 to fund his efforts to reform the rules on school vouchers, and to help build the Second Giant Leap movement. Kopplin is hoping to see an end to science denial legislation and for a trillion dollars of new science funding in the next decade.

“The President just said ‘Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race’ — and he also called for Americans to ‘believe in the overwhelming judgment of science,'” said Kopplin. “I think the President has just affirmed our mission, more science funding and an end to science denial,” he told us. “Our movement is going to continue growing and we’re calling on scientists, students, teachers, celebrities, politicians, business leaders across the country to publicly endorse it.”