Have you ever looked at some part of the world and thought, “Gosh, this really stinks! When I am old enough, I am going to do something to make a change!” Well, guess what? You don’t have to wait! You are never too young to act if there is something you really care about.
There are many children all over the world fighting to make a difference in their communities and beyond. Let’s take a look at two of them.
Amariyanna Copeny, “Little Miss Flint”
When she was only 8 years old, Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama about the water crisis happening in Flint, Michigan. Her heartfelt letter encouraged Obama to visit the town. After visiting, the crisis became listed as a federal state of emergency and funds were provided to help to fix the problem.
Since then, Copeny has continued to care and fight. She has raised money for many different causes like providing bottled water, movie tickets and school supplies to low-income families. Now 14, she continues raising awareness about world’s water crisis and raising money to help poorer communities get access to clean, safe water. Copeny plans to keep on helping people, and she plans to run for president in 2044!
Alexandra Collins is a young hero living in Illinois. She was 17 years old when she won the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes in 2021.
When Collins learned a local factory was polluting the air near her school and neighborhood, she decided to fight back. She attended a public meeting on the subject but was treated disrespectfully because she was so young. That didn’t discourage her. With her sister’s help, they organized Students Against Ethylene Oxide. Ethylene oxide, or EtO, is a cancer-causing chemical that is emitted from factories and used in certain products.
First, the sisters researched and collected data. Then, armed with knowledge, they started making presentations, speaking to health officials, attending legislative hearings and organizing mass mailings. Through her efforts, Collins was able to get the factory shut down within a year, providing cleaner air for her community.
She continues to fight for clean air and against ethylene oxide. She has also started a website called EtO-Free that shares reviews of beauty products made without the harmful ingredient.
Are you an environmental hero?
You don’t need to meet the president, win awards or start organizations to be an environmental hero. There is plenty you can do! Just look around you. Where do you want to start? What’s the problem? Do you have a solution? Do you need to research? Is there an existing organization trying to make a difference that you can join? Do you have friends who want to help? Here are some things you can start with:
Start a club.
Write your representatives. You can find your local, county, state and federal representatives by looking up your address online.
Start a letter-writing campaign by encouraging your family, friends and classmates to write letters as well.
Host a fundraiser for your cause.
Plan an educational campaign at your school or local community buildings.
Don’t give up or let your age stop you. “How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank
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