Kids speak out about climate change
From banning plastic bags to raising awareness about rising sea levels, kids are proving that they can be a powerful force in the battle against climate change.
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There are plenty of proposed laws and ongoing international negotiations trying to address rapid climate change, but for some kids the adults are moving way too slowly. One chronicler of the youth movement to fight climate disruption is Lynne Cherry, author of "How We Know What We Know About Climate Change." She's been interviewing young activists and recording them on video to give their voices a broader reach.
"When kids speak out, it really gets to your heart. I've been showing these. They're just three and a half minute shorts that we have right now, and people – they get tears in their eyes, they really get choked up, because they care about their kids and the kids are basically fighting for their future."
"My name is Alec Loorz I'm thirteen years old. I'm in eighth grade, and I go to Ventura Charter School. I never knew about climate change at all until I saw Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Kids are the ones who will be most affected by global warming. By the time we're middle aged, climate change will be a huge crisis if nothing is done today to help us."
Cherry says, "Alec's come up with several projects. One is his SLAP Project, Sea Level Awareness Project, and he's been with his group, they've been putting sea level awareness posts all around Ventura, coast of Ventura, to show with each degree of warming where the sea level will be. Alec also has a Declaration of Independence from fossil fuel."
"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to rid themselves of an energy system that has been found to threaten their lives and liberties, it is only decent that they should declare the causes of separation from the usage of fossil fuels," says Loorz.
Cherry continues, "The kids think that the adults just don't want to change their ways, but they also realize that a lot of adults are limited by the amount of time they have in their day. And so the kids are taking it upon themselves. On of these kids, Shannon McComb, she's says, 'If you adults won't do something about climate change, then we kids are going to take the reins.' That really is the sentiment of most of these kids. Some of these kids say you adults don't have that much time left on this planet, you know, we're very old to them. They think that their whole future is ahead of them, and they really care very much about saving the earth for themselves and for their children."
Erica Fernandez, from Mexico, had not been in the U.S. long when she helped organize her community against an LNG plant off the beach. "Being involved in stopping this company, it gave to youth a lot of confidence. And I personally can say that it gave me the power to believe that I could make a difference."
"I think that these kinds of projects really do give the kids' lives meaning. It's really exciting for them to find that their voices are important. Like in the movie Alec says, "Kids have power. Kids can make a difference," closes Cherry.
Lynne Cherry is an author, illustrator and environmental activist. Her movie shorts are playing right now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
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