Kids Heroes

HEROES

HEROES

You don’t have to wear a superhero suit to be a hero. You don’t need a force field, or an infinity stone. You don’t even need to be able to vote!

Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (who’s been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the second consecutive year) young people are now charging ahead in the climate change fight.

Kids are founding their own companiessearching to solve the removal of plastics from the oceans, planting millions of trees in partnership with the United Nationslitigating for the right to a world unplagued by global warming, and making massive change in their communities.

In October 2021, Earth911 recognized young environmentalists with annual its eco-hero awards.

Have climate heroes to share? Have you taken action to address the climate crisis? We’d love to hear about what you’re doing and who is inspiring you!

Here’s some of the kids who inspire us.

A Swedish Teenager's Compelling Plea on Climate

CURRENT NEWS

Welcome to the Solar Car Challenge web site!

02/05/24
The Solar Car Challenge was established in 1993 to help motivate students in science and engineering, and to increase alternative energy awareness. The Challenge teaches high school students around the world how to build roadworthy…
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The Climate Sleuth Uncovering Methane Leaks for the United Nations

By Aaron Clark 09/29/23
Like a detective gathering clues, Itziar Irakulis Loitxate scans her computer monitor looking for yellow-colored clouds in satellite data that suggest the presence of methane, a pernicious greenhouse gas that can escape from the Earth…
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Ocean CleanUp Launches Huge System in Pacific Garbage Patch to Clean a Football Field Every 5 Seconds

By Good News Network 09/03/23
Last week, The Ocean Cleanup organization that has been tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch deployed their System 03 for the first time—nearly three times larger than the previous technology and capable of cleaning the…
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His family fished for generations. Now he’s hauling plastic out of the sea.

By Michael Birnbaum 08/31/23
It was Lefteris Arapakis’s first expedition on a fishing boat, and he didn’t expect what the nets would pull up.
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The Montana climate kids’ lawsuit has energized activists, including this one

By Kate Selig 08/27/23
During a quiet Monday morning at home in Flagstaff, Ariz., Tia Hatton took a break from work and checked social media. What she saw left her stunned and exhilarated. “The Montana kids won!” she repeated…
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With TikTok and Lawsuits, Gen Z Takes on Climate Change

By David Gelles 08/19/23
As Kaliko Teruya was coming home from her hula lesson on August 8, her father called. The apartment in Lahaina was gone, he said, and he was running for his life. He was trying to…
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Greta Thunberg charged after blocking road at oil protest

By Nick Duffy 07/05/23
Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been charged with disobeying a police order at a climate protest in Sweden where she joined activists blocking a road.
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Greta Thunberg holds last school strike as climate activist graduates

By Sarah Dadouch 06/09/23
Climate advocate Greta Thunberg graduated from high school on Friday. In true fashion, she marked the day with her final school strike, bookending a journey that began in 2018 and grew into a powerful, worldwide…
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Meet the ‘Closer’ Who Finds the Right Words When Climate Talks Hit a Wall

By Lisa Friedman 11/17/22
Sometime in the next few days, the moment will come. Negotiators from among 200 countries with varied interests and motives will be sweating over terms and definitions as they strain to forge a global climate…
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UNICEF names climate activist Vanessa Nakate goodwill ambassador

09/17/22
U.N. children's agency UNICEF on Thursday named Vanessa Nakate, a 25-year-old Ugandan climate activist, goodwill ambassador. Inspired by Sweden's Greta Thunberg, Nakate began her climate action in 2019 and has since founded the Rise Up…
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A Los Angeles teen led a fight to shut down urban oil wells, survived cancer, and won a ‘Green Nobel’

By Morgan MCFall - Johnsen 05/26/22
Cobo lived in an apartment in South Los Angeles with three siblings, her great-grandparents, and her mother, who had immigrated there from Mexico. Talking with their neighbors, they learned that many people in the building…
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Greta Thunberg doesn’t want you to talk about her anymore

By Karl Mathiesen 04/28/22
Just a few months before the arrival of the coronavirus, the Swedish teenager and her fellow activists had organized a march of millions — possibly the largest climate protest in history. But lockdowns put an…
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Sophia Kianni

Climate Cardinals
Sophia Kianni is a 19-year-old climate activist, founder of Climate Cardinals and the youngest member of the United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. Kianni is fighting to correct the huge accessibility gap in climate change resources. When the U.N. publishes some of the most up-to-date and promising data on the climate crisis it only does so in six languages

Dylan D’Agate

Algae Blooms
Dylan D’Agate, a sixteen year old from Long Island, wrote a book, Monster in the Water , about the dangers of algae blooms (sometimes known as the “red tide”), which both teaches kids about the dangers of pesticides and pollutants and encourages them to take action. He became an “earth blogger” for the Sierra Club (one of many young environmentalists advocating for the planet).

Edgar McGregor

Climate science
High school Climate Science Blogger
Edgar McGregor, a California high school student, spends his after school hours analyzing climate trends and trying to understand his future. He keeps a blog called Where We Stand.
His latest focuses on Climate Change and California.

Felix Finkbeiner

Reforestation
Started planting trees at 9 years old
Founder of the environmental group Plant-for-the-Planet when he was ten, he then partnered with the UN’s Billion Tree campaign and speaking in front of the full assembly when he was 13. This partnership is now responsible for the planting of more than 15 billion trees in more than 130 nations. The group has also pushed the planting goal upward to one trillion trees—150 for every person on the Earth. You can order your own Tree Card from his website.

Fionn Ferreira

Fionn Ferreira developed a project on microplastic extraction from water for the annual Google Science Fair. The project won the grand prize of $50,000 in educational funding at this year’s event.

Greta Thunberg

Politics
Climate change activist

At 15, Greta Thunberg decided to take matters into her own hands: she went on strike and sat on the steps of the parliament building, in Stockholm, every day during school hours for weeks. Her regular actions inspired other kids around the world to start striking for the climate. By 2019, she helped organize the world’s largest climate strike. In over 1000 events worldwide, more than 4 million people showed up around the world. She gave an inspiring talk at a TEDx event and also spoke in Switzerland and Poland.

Haven Coleman

Climate Change Activist
Co-founder and co-director for the Youth for Climate Strike
Haven says, “My parents have always taught me that if there’s a problem, I can fix it. Growing up with parents who supported my ideas I grew up into a lets do it kind of person. I’ve always been vocal about injustices, but climate change has become my focus the past three years. I help groups with furthering their initiatives, by organizing, speaking and showing up. Weekly school strikes though are unlike any other activism I’ve done, connecting me with the world and creating tangible change rapidly. I’m excited to see how this movement connects and engages the youth of America to fight for climate solutions. It’s our future, our lives. Join us!”

Isha Clarke

Student Activist
Isha first made headlines asking California Senator Dianne Feinstein to support a Green New Deal. She has a passion for intersectional activism and feels it is essential to pair environmental activism with environmental justice so we can can create a just and equitable world, while maintaining a livable climate. Read an interview with her at The Guardian.

Isra Hirsi

Climate Change Activist
Co-founder and co-director for the Youth for Climate Strike
Isra, a student at South High School in Minneapolis, is one of thousands of students around the world planning a massive Youth Climate Strike for March 15. With a few weeks to go, there are already strikes planned for 47 countries and almost all 50 states. Isra is one of three organizers who are bringing the movement — inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s weekly climate strikes — to the United States.

Jonas Haller

Youth Delegate
Built a website and solved negotiators’ problem
If you want talk, put 195 national negotiators in a room. If you want a website built, ask a youth delegate. As countries fought over whether to have one online registry or two for national carbon-cutting and climate adaptation plans, Jonas Haller went ahead and created a webpage with all the technical features they had asked for and more.

Milo Cress

Anti-waste
9 year old started “Be Straw Free” campaign
Americans use about 500 million straws each day. The number is based on research conducted years ago by an enterprising 9-year-old Vermont boy named Milo Cress. He started “Be Straw Free,” a campaign to persuade restaurants to offer straws optionally rather than automatically. His anti-waste campaign received early coverage from local media in Vermont, but soon the fourth grader’s campaign was featured by outlets across the country, earning wide coverage for his cause — and the startling statistic.

Molly Burhans

In  2016, Molly Burhans, a young cartographer and environmentalist, began documenting the global landholdings of the Catholic Church. In 2019 she won the UN Young Champions of Earth Award . In February, 2021 The New Yorker wrote a spectacular article about the work she is doing to help Pope Francis battle climate change. More here.

Rose Strauss

Environmental Science
Climate change activist
A politician called her “young and naive,” and Rose Strauss is turning this newfound fame into action with Sunrise Movement, an activist group composed of young people concerned about the environment.

Shalvi Shakshi

Politics
CO23 Speaker
Shalvi Shakshi is a 10 year-old Fijian student who urged leaders to act quickly at the COP23 Climate Conference in Bonn. In her speech, she explains the connection between atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation and sea level rise.

Sophie Dickinson

Protest Artist
Concepted an organized art protest
On May 17, 2018 in Australia, an 11-year-old 6th grader created an idea where 5,000 people gathered together to send the message: “climate change – our future is in your hands.” People formed the sign to highlight their frustration at a lack of action by Federal and State governments to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Timoci Naulusala

Politics
COP23 Speaker
Timoci Naulusala, is the incredible year 7 student who detailed the impacts of climate change on his native country Fiji, challenging the leaders of the COP23 Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany to lead more strongly to solve the current environmental crisis.

Jamie Margolin

Community activism
Teenage activist and journalist
Jamie Margolin started This Is Zero Hour at only 16 years old, by organizing her friends in Washington D.C. to start demanding common sense climate laws from their political representatives. She has started a national youth movement demanding the right to a sustainable future.

Alexandria Villaseñor

Climate Change Activist
Co-founder and co-director for the Youth for Climate Strike
13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor has, every week since December 2018, made a pilgrimage to the United Nations’ headquarters demanding action on climate change. She is one of a cadre of young, fierce and mostly female activists behind the School Strike 4 Climate movement. On March 15, 2019, with the support of some of the world’s biggest environmental groups, tens of thousands of kids in at least two dozen countries and nearly 30 U.S. states plan to skip school to protest.

Alec Loorz

Climate Change Activist
Founded Kids vs. Global Warming and iMatter
Alec Loorz was 12 when he put up his SLAP (Sea Level Awareness Posts) on a Ventura, California beach. At 15, he presented a Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels to senator Barbara Boxer on Capitol Hill. He believes his generation is poised to inherit a world where mass production, environmental degradation and the burning of fossil fuels has put the future of human society at risk. He is one of seven youth plaintiffs who sued the federal government on behalf of youth everywhere in an attempt to take Washington to task on climate change (they lost). He is a youth leader with the Alliance for Climate Education.

Boyan Slat

Oceans
Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup when he was only 16. Using technology patented by Slat himself, this organization uses the oceans natural currents to congregate plastic into one area, making it easier to extract and recycle.

MORE NEWS

Greta Thunberg on the state of the climate movement

Interview by KK Ottesen   12/27/21  
Student and climate activist Greta Thunberg, 18, burst improbably onto the world stage in late 2018 when what began as a one-person school strike outside the Swedish parliament ended up galvanizing a global climate movement…
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Youth Climate Plaintiffs Try Again

05/28/21  
Back in 2015 a group of young people sued the United States for failing to protect the climate and therefore their rights to a livable future, but the case was eventually dismissed. Now the Juliana…
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Young Change Makers: Why and How Nick Guthman of Blue Future Is Helping To Change Our World

By Penny Bauder   05/27/21  
Build a team. Never do anything alone. Ask your friends and family to pitch in whatever they can and create an environment where people want to be on your team. Some will give money, others…
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2 kid activists raise awareness and money to help save the rainforest

By Lela Nargi   05/18/21  
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…
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3 Youth Living and Organizing on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis

By Maia Wikler   04/23/21  
The year 2020 illustrated to the world that the overlapping issues of climate and racial justice can no longer be ignored. A pandemic that disproportionately killed people of color and record-breaking wildfires that displaced thousands…
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7 Young Activists Share What Made Them Join the Climate Movement

By Joe McCarthy   04/22/21  
Many young people know how many carbon dioxide particles were in the atmosphere the year they were born. For those born at the turn of the century, there were 369.55 CO2 particles per million (PPM)…
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Why youth climate change activists are pushing Biden to do more

By Stephanie Ebbs and others   04/12/21  
The faces of climate change activism have been dominated by young people in recent years, from Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg to thousands of young people organizing and protesting in the United States. As Joe Biden…
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Meet the Climate Kids Who Are Mobilizing a Generation of Parents

By Angely Mercado   03/22/21  
What is now known as the youth climate movement burst onto the international stage when Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager and climate activist, began to skip school in the fall of 2018. Every Friday, Greta,…
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Young Climate Activist Fights to Save Indiana Wetlands

By Mary Jo DiLonardo   03/15/21  
Early this year, youth activist Leo Berry was at the Indiana State House with his mom and a couple of friends to support a climate resolution study and research bill that was being introduced. While…
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Amanda Gorman’s Climate Poem Says, Act ‘Now, Now, Now’

By Mark Fischetti   02/02/21  
Amanda Gorman captured the world’s attention with her passionate delivery of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. For most viewers, this was probably the moment Gorman burst upon their consciousness.
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Young climate activists demand action and inspire hope

By UNICEF   01/19/21  
Climate change impacts everyone but the future belongs to young people. Meet some of the youth activists on the frontline.
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‘I Am Greta’ Review: Birth of a Climate Warrior

By Nicolas Rapold   11/13/20  
In September 2019 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg made headlines by condemning world leaders for abandoning today’s children to the ravages of climate change. “How dare you?” she asked, her voice…
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7 young eco-activists we should be talking about

By Isabelle Chauzy   10/16/20  
Most would say Greta Thunberg is the poster child of the climate crisis. The 16-year-old activist’s profile has rocketed in the past year with her Fridays for Future strikes going international, followed by a two-week…
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How Greta Thunberg Transformed Existential Dread Into a Movement

By Emily Witt   04/06/20  
Greta Thunberg began her “School Strike for Climate Change” on August 20, 2018, when she was fifteen years old. Her plan was to demonstrate in front of the Swedish parliament from the first day of…
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Greta wasn’t the first to demand climate action. Meet more young activists.

By Laura Parker   03/25/20  
In what they see as a battle for their future, youths are taking action and demanding their elders do more to protect the planet. DELANEY REYNOLDS, 20, is five foot two. When she is 60, she…
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19 youth climate activists you should be following on social media

06/14/19  
Around the world, young people are mobilizing by the hundreds of thousands to demand greater action on climate change. Driven by the understanding that the action that leaders take — or do not take —…
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