Many people are learning about climate change thanks to Greta Thunberg. The Swedish teenager started Fridays for Future in 2018 by skipping school once a week to call people’s attention to our warming planet. In this case, skipping school is called a “strike.” Her actions launched a movement of school strikes around the world.
Lots of other kids — even those who are much younger — have figured out ways to help save the Earth. They’ve gotten involved in environmental causes close to their hearts. Some of them are inspired by the “30 by 30” initiative: Fifty countries, including the United States, have promised to protect 30 percent of Earth’s land and waters by 2030.
One of the kids is 11-year-old Beckett McGrath from Georgetown, Texas. He wants to help conserve endangered species. In 2019, he began working with Rainforest Trust. “I was really interested in trying to stop climate change,” he said.
Beckett’s idea was to start a group called Protection of Earth. With his home-school classmates and other kids, the group organized a local Run for the Rainforest that raised more than $700. The money helped Rainforest Trust save more than 1,000 acres of rainforest land.
When the coronavirus pandemic stopped people from gathering in person to fundraise, Beckett put together an online event called Trivia for the Rainforest: People could log on and test their knowledge of birds, endangered species and climate change. That raised $600 for rainforest land.
Beckett says kids should remember that every effort to help the environment matters. “Even if you don’t do a huge amount, it still is good to do stuff,” he said. Most important, he said, “humans need to learn to be with nature.”
In Los Angeles, California, 10-year-old Justin Sather is obsessed with frogs. He calls them “magical, because they come in different colors and they start out as tadpoles.”
Last year he joined Rainforest Trust’s Reserva: The Youth Land Trust to help protect 244 acres of Ecuador’s Chocó Cloud Forest and its amazing frogs. Justin especially likes glass frogs, chachi tree frogs and tiger-striped leaf frogs, which he hopes to see when he visits Ecuador this summer.
Justin has been successful raising money for the land trust. He appeared on local TV news, and many people found out about his efforts. That helped him raise $2,000 to conserve almost three acres of the Chocó forest. Fundraising has been a great way for him to put his frog passion to use. Many species of frogs are becoming extinct because of climate change and habitat loss, so protecting habitats protects frogs, too.
Justin hopes he can inspire other people to understand why frogs are so cool.
“Frogs are indicator species, telling us the planet needs help,” he said. “If frogs are dying wherever you are, that’s bad because it means the water you’re drinking has pollution and pesticides.”
For anyone who’s still not convinced that frogs are worth protecting, Justin recites his favorite frog fact: “Their tongues are really long. If [it were in] a person instead of a frog, their tongue would go to their bellybutton!”
Help create the first nature reserve paid for entirely by kids. Reserva’s Youth Land Trust has raised about $115,000 toward its goal of about $178,000 to purchase a 244-acre site that is home to brown-headed spider monkeys, black-and-chestnut eagles and several species of toads and frogs. To find out more, visit rainforesttrust.org/reserva-youth-land-trust.