Preserving the environment and ensuring it will be around for future generations is an idea that is still being debated and researched even in our age of advanced technology. Today’s youth are beginning to be exposed to these ideas but these issues are very complex, so how can a child who still sees the world in simple terms and who is not in control of things understand these big ideas and make a difference?

In actuality, teaching youth has a huge influence on the future of the planet by implementing responsible views towards aspects of the environment. By learning these habits at a younger age, kids are more apt to continue these practices into adulthood. In fact, there are kids today all over the world that are already making a difference in the environment. Severn Suzuki is one example of a child making a significant positive difference in the world. She is recognized for her speech at the UN Earth Summit in 1992 that inspired millions around the globe. Referred to as ‘The Girl who silenced the World’, Severn’s incredible speech before government delegates and politicians urged adults to ‘stop breaking what they cannot fix’ and to take responsibility today for actions to prevent further destruction in the future. Her speech has brought many people to tears with her influential words, including myself, and is still relevant today. To view her speech, click here.

More recently, another influential 10-year-old, Ta’Kaiya, has grabbed the attention of Canadian MPs on the 22nd anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. The young environmentalist is from the Sliammon First Nation and her name means “special water.” With the help of her singing teacher, Ta’Kaiya wrote a song in response to the proposed twin 1,170 km pipelines to bring dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands to B.C.’s north coast. That would mean oil supertankers would trek through the Great Bear Rainforest, destroying a beautiful and ecologically-significant region. Her video was viewed over 5000 times on Youtube and emailed directly to MPs with the general message of taking responsibility for what happens in the environment and to realize the consequences of our actions.

In today’s society, more and more children’s books and t.v. shows are focusing on aspects of the environment to teach children environmental responsibility early on. Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” and Philip Hoose’s “It’s Our World Too” are just a couple examples of literature trying to make youth aware of being environmentally responsible. PBS kids also has resources for kids already keen on helping the environment which can be found here.

Teaching kids to care for the Earth is one of the best ways to ensure a better future for them and other generations. Therefore, this week’s myth is BUSTED!