The Kids are Alright
The kids are alright. In fact, they’re better than alright. As Whitney sang: the children are our future. She probably wasn’t referring to how they were literally going to save the planet. But that is exactly what they are going to do.
Adults are diffidently, recklessly, letting the world go hang. But the kids aren’t being apathetic. Far from it, they are infuriated, inspired and utterly motivated by the careless attitudes they see from their elders and betters.
As we listen to Donald scorch the climate change accord, we are failing to realise what the younger generation knows - it's people, not politicians who can make a difference. Kids don't need to be heard over the sound and fury; their actions speak louder than words. These could be small gestures - like switching off all the electrical appliances, guerrilla gardening and something as easy as walking in to school this week. Or they could be simple but majestic campaigns, as delivered by these fine eco warriors.
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez might be a mere 16. But he is the youth director of Earth Guardians and has been a speaker on climate change at the UN. He actually took the US government to court for climate change in 2015 and has been agitating for over ten years: “When I was 5-years-old, I wanted to go to all the factories and shut them down with my little brother,” he said in a speech delivered at the age of six. “But once I turned six I realized that it was us that were buying from the factories.” He knows you’re never too young to start saving the future.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen, 15 and 13, have achieved the unthinkable –their campaign, byebyeplasticbags, is attempting the biggest garbage clean up on the island of the gods. Their aim to completely eradicate plastic bags from their home island of Bali. Their determination, drive and a few million signatures, meant that in the space of three years they are managing to start clearing the epidemic of plastic bags. They don't want to stop there either and aim to do the same for the whole of Indonesia by 2021. Why think small?
Daisy Kendrick, in her twenties, is a little older and a little closer to home and is already putting Michael Gove, secretary of state for the environment, to shame. She makes the case clearly: “my generation was born into a world where climate change is an immutable fact”. Founder of The Ocean Generation, a global collective dedicated to saving the planet by protecting the sea, she’s also a disruptive campaigner, using gaming and technology to raise awareness. She knows who will make the change - the consumers, employees and leaders of the future.
And she’s right. About a quarter of the world’s population is made up of 0-14 year olds. That’s nearly 2 million voices and a whole lot of passion to harness. And their bid to save the planet can start first thing in the morning, as they head to school on foot.
To learn more about how kids have been making a difference one step at a time, check out the living streets 'Walk to School Week’ campaign - and remember, it doesn't have to end this week!