Grist, Goethe Institut-New York, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding hosted a conversation with the theme Modern Day Clark Kents—a talk about how there is a super hero in all of us.Last night a group of New Yorkers gathered at the Goethe Institut-New York’s downtown alternative art and performance space, The Wyoming Building to learn more about the real people behind three of the environmental movement’s most exciting characters: No Impact Man, the Yes Men, and Ask Umbra.

Jennifer Prediger, creator of Grist’s popular online eco-advice column Ask Umbra, moderated the evening with insightful poise and keen wit. She explored the motivations that sparked these people to take action and incite change. Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, captured the world’s attention when he took on a mission to live in New York City with his family for a year with zero impact on the environment.Colin delivered inspiring remarks about how each person is capable of making this world a better place in their own unique way.Andy Bichlbaum, one of the Yes Men, spoke about the power of humor, provocation, and “lying in order to tell the truth.”He recalled several of the Yes Men’s efforts including a happening that occurred just the day before involving Apple’s new “conflict-free” IPhone. As part of the evening, both Colin and Andy premiered video footage of their most recent work—Colin’s public chanting in Times Square on Election Day and the Yes Men’s press stunt at COP-15 Copenhagen.They left the audience wondering how much more these two—and people like them, and really, people like all of us—have in store, and how the possibilities are truly endless for making a positive impact on our earth, our communities, and ourselves.

All photos courtesy of Jason Andrew.