Climate Action for Kids: 7 Ways to Inspire the Budding Environmentalist

Meaghan Weeden | August 4, 2022 | 5 min read

ways to protect the environment for kids

Climate change is an issue that will touch everyone on this planet, but rising temperatures, reduced air quality, extreme weather and other impacts will, without a doubt, impact kids throughout their lives. And while it shouldn't be up to them to solve a problem that they've inherited, they deserve to have a voice and play a part in our global efforts to curb climate change.

Studies show that talking and thinking about climate change makes kids feel stressed and anxious. And that's completely understandable: it's a huge issue and it's not going away on its own. But as adults, it's our job to reframe the issue and empower them to take climate action. Whether they choose to focus on fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases that burning them releases into the atmosphere, lowering their family or school's carbon footprint, dreaming up solutions to build a more sustainable future, or creating an art project that raises awareness in the community, kids can use their unique talents and interests to help the environment!

Here Are 7 Ways you can Inspire Kids To Help the Environment

young girl flowers rainbow

1. Give them hope

While it's important to give kids an age-appropriate understanding of the world and issues that affect them, this should be balanced with inspiration. Research shows that when it comes to taking action for the environment, people are typically empowered by more positive and solutions-based framing, than by doom and gloom. And kids are no exception to this. When they hear stories about what other kids are doing, like fundraising to plant trees, lobbying for local plastic bag bans or starting recycling programs in their schools, they're motivated and excited to start initiatives of their own! 

young girl making protest sign

2. Empower and uplift them

Kids have huge hearts for the environment, but they don’t always have access to the resources they need to take action. Whether they want to start a petition or letter writing campaign, clean up litter or organize a protest for an environmental cause they care about, there are plenty of ways you can give them a helping hand. Whether it’s working with them to craft a powerful message, organizing and helping them gather materials for a safe and successful cleanup event, or harnessing their creativity to make protest signs, your assistance can springboard their ideas into action!

One Tree Planted Environmental Education Program

3. Teach them about the environment

Our school T.R.E.E.S. Program is designed to empower teachers and homeschoolers to educate their classrooms and families about the environment. Filled with fun activities and in-depth lesson plans that range from forest fire recovery to biodiversity and why trees are important, it lays a solid foundation for any budding environmentalist. And while nobody needs to be an expert to make a difference for our planet, having a deeper understanding of nature and the threats it faces helps inform and inspire a lifetime of positive action.

girl giving presentation

4. Amplify Their Voices

Kids often feel like they don’t have a voice when it comes to climate change, but kids voices matter. From attending public hearings and town meetings to writing letters to representatives and meeting with their county and land commissions, kids absolutely can make their voices heard and make a difference. Thats how democracy works, and it’s an important lesson for them to learn. After all, as the next generation, they have an important and passionate role to play in shaping the future that they will live in.

kids playing in woods

5. Get them outside!

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average American kid spends just 30 minutes engaging in unstructured outdoor play — and over 7 hours in front of an electronic screen — each day. In addition to providing many health benefits that will help them throughout their lives, time spent in nature helps to reduce stress, improve performance in school and increase their critical thinking skills. Simply put, kids that are able to spend time in nature experience increased wellness.

young girl coloring on grass

6. Dare to Dream of a Greener Future

In a recent study, researchers found that 98% of preschoolers tested scored at the level of creative genius. By grade school, that number went down to 30%, 12% by high school, and just 2% at adulthood. In other words, we're all born with a high intrinsic level of creativity — and now more than ever, the world needs creative people who can dream up a brighter future. Supporting kids to dream big and reimagine the world may just be our best bet.

kids volunteer tree planters

7. Volunteer to plant trees!

Planting trees is a great way to give kids a tangible connection to nature and the environment. In celebration of Earth Day and Plant a Tree Day (as well as other times throughout the year), One Tree Planted offers tree planting events around the world. So be sure to check our community events page periodically so you have the opportunity to attend an event near you! Pair this with our Reforestation 101 for Kids lesson for a rich and inspiring learning experience!

We hope this list helps you inspire the kids in your life! Looking for more ways to teach kids about the environment? Check out our School T.R.E.E.S. program for lesson plans and fun activities that are sure to inspire the next generation of environmentalists — at home or in the classroom!

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