Preserving the Environment

Meet the Impressive Girl Who’s Working to Save the Planet Before Her 18th Birthday

January 30, 2015
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Meet the Impressive Girl Who’s Working to Save the Planet Before Her 18th Birthday
Maya started an eco-friendly clothing and accessories company in 2008. Facebook
At just age 14, she's already made a huge difference; imagine what she’ll do next.

Every once in a while, you come across one of those kids who’s extra special. Maya Penn is one of them.

At just age 14, Penn has been doing everything she can to achieve her mission of saving the environment. And with everything she’s accomplished so far, she just might do it.

Penn’s mission first took life six years ago when she started her own eco-fashion line Maya’s Ideas. Not only does she design the clothing and the accessories, she also makes them herself using organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, vintage silks and wools. According to Grist, 10 to 20 percent of her profits are donated to charities such as Live Thrive Atlanta and Captain Planet Foundation.

By age 11, the Canton, Ga., resident decided to expand her enterprise by starting Maya’s Ideas for the Planet, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

And if that isn’t enough, Penn has also given a TED Talk and written and illustrated two children’s books about the environment: Lucy and Sammy Save the Environment and Wild Rhymes. Her books are printed on recycled paper, thanks to a grant from The Pollination Project, on whose Youth Grantmaking Advisory Board she now sits. As a member, she assists in bringing to fruition environmental projects for youths.

“I think it’s really cool that I’m able to help other people,” she tells Grist. “It’s always been my goal to inspire youth.”

Her latest projects involves technology, and she’s actively developing an animated series on pollination.

So, how does she have time for all of this? Well, Penn is homeschooled giving her leeway in how she manages her time, but she believes that anyone can become involved — regardless of their schedule.

“The smallest action leads to the biggest changes,” she says. “It has a big ripple effect, whether that person knows it or not. And that person might have been scared and might have been doubtful. But they went ahead and did it anyway.”

So, if a 14 year old can do it, why can’t you?

MORE: Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson Give a First Grader Terrific Advice About Saving the Earth

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