It’s The Children Who Will Save the World

By Larry Siegel

Some of the most stirring and moving accounts of efforts I have come across to save the world have been made by children. The sheer goodness of their big hearts can be overwhelming and they don’t let anything stop them. Ever hear of Ryan Hrelijac? This Canadian youth learned in school at age 7 that people were dying in Uganda from the lack of clean drinking water.

This amazing child raised enough money by doing chores at home to build a well in Uganda in 1999. Oh, but that was just the beginning. This child (now a young man) has gone on, through the Ryan’s Well Foundation (a Canadian registered charity), to raise the money to build over 700 wells and 900 latrines bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 750,900 people. (You can learn about Ryan and his foundation and, if you want, you can obtain a very moving documentary called “Ryan’s Well” through the Video Project that tells the story of what he did as a child. You can Google “Ryan’s Well” and see clips of the documentary on YouTube.

I thought about Ryan when I read about how students from 116 schools in 22 states collectively prevented 1,567,562 pounds of global warming carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere in just four weeks during the 2012 national Green Cup Challenge® (GCC).

The GCC is an inter-school energy conservation challenge for grades K-12 and it is sponsored by the non-profit Green Schools Alliance. The friendly challenge empowers students and staff to conserve electricity, raise environmental awareness and decrease their campus’ carbon footprint. The Green Cup Video Challenge has helped student videos go viral on YouTube. Among the top reducing schools this year were the Buckly School (-8.7%) and the Lycee Francais School (-8.7%) both in New York City.

If anybody is going to save the world it’s going to be the children.

About the Author: Larry Siegel has worked as a writer of corporate policies and procedures and as a technical writer. He currently works as a Pesticide Community Outreach Specialist for the Pesticide and Toxic Substances Branch in Edison, NJ

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.