Kyle Thiermann

Kyle Theirmann is a pro surfer and activist with a passion to systematically affect world change. His first documentary video, Claim Your Change, details how money kept in multinational banks is used to finance destructive projects all over the world. One such project, a proposed coal-fired power plant in Constitucion, Chile, is the focus of the video.

The Claim Your Change Project has had a global impact, inspiring over ten thousand account holders in South America, Africa and Europe, to move more than $110 million dollars of lending power out of centralized banks into local banks. Kyle is now developing a second video which will track a product sold in the US back to its manufacture in Sri Lanka. The goal of the project is to show people the power they have to create change – every day – by raising their consciousness about the geographical origin of the products they buy and the people who make them.

Kyle has surfed his way across Indonesia, Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, Hawaii and the US. The flexible structure of Gaia University enables him to travel and surf professionally while earning a BA in Green Business by actively working on social and environmental justice projects around the world. He uses the support from his sponsors, including Patagonia, to generate publicity that encourages people to take action to transform their communities, and the world.

Kyle speaks at universities and high schools throughout California. He has been the keynote speaker at One World Children’s Fund and was the 2010 recipient of the Peter Benchley Blue Vision Youth Award. Kyle’s work has been featured in dozens of media outlets worldwide, including The Huffington Post and Surfer Magazine.

Kyle lives in Santa Cruz, California and is currently building a skateboard ramp in his backyard with friends. In 2011 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Green Business from Gaia University.

Gaia University has given me the opportunity to design the life of my dreams in a practical way. My advisors take the well-being of my whole life into account as we design my year. It's the perfect combination of freedom and support.

Gaia University has created an extremely effective model for learning. It’s the opposite of cramming for a test and regurgitating information – and then forgetting the information once the test is over. Gaia U supports you to follow your passion and incorporate your learning into your life.

Have you ever been sitting in a classroom and asked yourself, 'When am I ever going to use this information in the real world?' I haven’t once asked myself that question during my time at Gaia U. That’s because my classroom is the world, and my curriculum is learning to be an effective world-changer.

I don't need to wait until I get out of school to be able to change the world – I can do it right now!