While I was busy researching, I ran into articles like the one entitled, “Want to Fight Climate Change? Have Fewer Children.” I glanced guiltily at the chubby legs of my five month old. I cared about the environment? Was having a child my contradiction?
The more I researched, the more I realized that children could be the change rather than the problem. Kids have the energy and the fortitude to affect change while many of us may have become so world weary, we consider awareness of a problem via a Netflix documentary “our part.”
It is time to feel better about the world through the eyes of children who are forming companies, forging alliances, and fighting back. These five “envirokidz” will make us all see that you are never too little to make a difference.
1. Mikaila Ulmer
Mikaila Ulmer considers herself a social entrepreneur and bee emabassador. She founded the company Me and The Bees when she was just four years old after being encouraged by her family to make a product for a children’s business competition. Me and the Bees flaxseed lemonade donates a percentage of the proceeds to save the honeybee, claiming “Buy a bottle, save a bee.” Almost ten years later, you can find her everywhere, including on Shark Tank where she was offered a $60,000 investment for a stake in her company.
2. Ta’Kaiya Blaney
Ta’Kaiya Blaney is now a teenager, but when she was just 11 years old she caught the attention of Canadian MPs on the 22ndanniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She filmed a video plea at the Greenpeace office in Vancouver and introduced a video for an original song that she wrote entitled, “Shallow Waters.” More recently, she wrote a song called, “Earth Revolution.” Her name itself means “special waters” and she is now adept at giving speeches for the UN.
3. Adeline Tiffany Suwana
Adeline Tiffany Suwana saw the effects of natural disasters and flooding in her country, Indonesia. At just twelve years old, she formed a community of young people called “Sahabat Alam” which means “friends of nature,” which almost ten years later has gained the attention of over 25,000 activists and young people. Her organization helps with projects such as planting coral reefs, helping with turtle protection and environmental cleanups. “I want to encourage other youth leaders worldwide to initiate similar environmental actions,” Adeline says.
4. Maya Penn
Imagine being a kid comfortable enough to give a TED Talk. That is true of Maya Penn, an American entrepreneur and the CEO of eco-friendly fashion line Maya’s Ideas. At 18 years old, her company was created when she was just 8, giving 10% of the profits to local and global charities and environmental non-profit organizations. On her website, she writes, “I am an environmentalist first, which for me means that I am doing everything that I can as an individual to make the planet livable for both people and animals alike.” We’re not the only ones impressed. On her homepage, she has a picture with Oprah.
5. Rachel Parent
At 11 years old, Rachel Parent became alarmed by what she learned about GMOs when working on a school project. She began fighting for making GMO labeling a law in Canada and ended up founding the organization, Kids Right To Know to inform other kids about the importance of food transparency and safety.
She was marked as an emerging leader by the Clean50 Summit in Toronto and challenged CBC’s Kevin O’Leary to a debate. Still in high school, she continues to educate and motivate others to take action, no matter what their age.
One can only wonder what these kids will be up to in ten years. Anyone standing in their way better watch out.