These days, we live in a tricky world full of technology, social media, cyberspace and a volatile political climate. Our children are facing things at a rate which we, as adults, never had to and they are having to process things at an alarming rate. Often times, the topics flying at our children are hard to understand or laced with strong opinions.
We all struggle with how to explain such complicated issues to our children but within these conversations, one thing that all children seem to easily unite about is our environment and the world around us. When you speak to a child about preserving our planet, none of their answers ever come with political subtext. Sometimes listening to what comes “out of the mouth of babes” can provide a simpler and clearer view of what the future should look like. After all, these babes are the future leaders of tomorrow.
We decided to take a deep look into these awesome future leaders and share what thoughtful, challenging and inquisitive young minds can do for our world.
Lesein Mutunkei (Kenya)
Lesein, an avid lover of football (American Soccer) and the outdoors, was inspired to do his part for the planet after studying the damaging effects of pollution, deforestation and climate change. Lesein has made changes around his school and his local community by encouraging healthier habits for recycling. He also plants a tree for every goal he scores in his football club.
Isra Hirsi (USA)
Isra is a 16 year old, black, Muslim woman and co-founder and co-executive of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, the organization that leads the student climate strikes around the country. Isra started her fight for climate justice after the Flint water crisis. She advocates for intersectionality in the movement for climate justice. Isra is also a member of MN Can’t Wait, a coalition of youth organizations calling upon the Minnesota government to take action.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (USA)
Xiuhtexcatl started speaking out about the environment at the ripe age of 6 years old. He is now a 19-year-old indigenous activist, musician, and the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization that trains youth across the world to use civic engagement and the arts to help solve environmental issues. He often uses his hip-hop music to spread environmental messages he is so passionate about. He is unafraid to challenge adults and the government as he was one of the 21 plaintiffs that sued the federal government for their lack of action on climate change.
Lilly Platt (The Netherlands)
Lilly started her crusade against plastic pollution at age 9. When she first moved to Holland, she spoke no Dutch and in her grandfather’s efforts to help her learn, they collected pieces of plastic trash around their community and practiced counting them in Dutch. Now, Lilly is a Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition and a Child Ambassador for HOW Global and World Cleanup Day.
Greta Thunberg (Sweden)
So many of today’s youth activists have been inspired by Greta. She is 16 years old and has been seen striking outside the parliament building in Stockholm for the past year. She is the founder of the “Fridays for Future youth” climate strike movement, inspiring an entire youth activist movement in its wake, bringing more than 1.6 million young people into the streets around the world to demand better for our planet.
Greta sailed across the Atlantic ocean on a two week journey from Sweden to New York on an emissions-free racing yacht. She is now advocating and giving speeches to Congress and members of the United Nations on climate change.
The best part about these awesome activists? They are just your average kids who wanted to make a change! Our advice for your budding environmentalists: start small and every little bit counts!