Preserving the Environment

When it Comes to the Planet, Children (Not the Government) Really Are the Future

June 9, 2014
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When it Comes to the Planet, Children (Not the Government) Really Are the Future
Students from Lincoln Avenue School in Orange, New Jersey take learning the basics of reducing, reusing and recycling and go one step farther. Screengrab via YouTube
As Whitney Houston said, teach them well and let them lead the way.

Warmer temperatures. Rising sea levels. Toxic air. Overflowing landfills. The world our children will inherit has taken quite a beating.

So with lawmakers unable to agree on plans to cut carbon, children are taking matters into their own hands.

In an inspiring (and ridiculously adorable) video from Good Will Students for Peace, students from Lincoln Avenue School in Orange, New Jersey aren’t just learning the basics of reducing, reusing and recycling.

With this semester’s theme, “My Home is the Planet Earth, Our Role as Environmentally Aware Citizens,” students are taking action and becoming leaders in their local community. Students upcycle paper, plastic bottles, cans and cardboard rolls, plus each classroom also has their own perennial garden.

MORE: How One School Is Using the Forest to Improve Education

They also really get their hands dirty with community clean-ups. In the video, one student poignantly points out after one such project, “To the people who didn’t participate in this activity…you should have, ’cause it was actually a fun experience.”

She adds, “This is your community — not just mine. We all live here and other people would like to live here but can’t because of the way we treat our community.” (Don’t you just want to give her a hug?)

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It’s not just the kids in New Jersey who are taking charge in saving the planet. It’s happening all over the country. As Al-Jazeera America reported last month, children as young as 13 are tying to sue the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights for failing to develop a climate change recovery plan.

The suit — dubbed Kids vs. Global Warming — is backed by more than 30 climate scientists and legal scholars. The complaint reads, “The welfare of youth is directly affected by the failure of government to confront human-made climate change, and unless the government acts immediately to rapidly reduce carbon emissions … youth will face irrevocable harm: the collapse of natural resource systems and a largely uninhabitable nation.”

Looks like children can teach us a thing or two.

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