by Andrew Blok
The past year was a year of the youth environmental activist. Greta Thunberg and the climate strikes were the obvious examples, but young people nearer to home are making a difference, too.
The recently formed environmental club at Stepping Stones Montessori recently held a fundraiser in support of WMEAC. The group, which includes Terrance, son of Elaine Isely, WMEAC’s director of water programs, made keychains and sold them to their classmates, raising six dollars in support of environmental care in west Michigan.
The keychains featured hand-drawn pictures of the natural world—mostly trees—on paper circles, Terrance said.
“I had no idea he was doing this,” Isely said. “He just came home and said he was doing it.”
While the idea of a fundraiser came from their teachers, club membership and causes are chosen by students. Finding an organization protecting the earth to support first wasn’t difficult for the group; family made it easy.
“Lucky for us, we did know who could do that,” Terrance said. More fundraisers are likely in the club’s future.
As a first time venture, the fundraiser wasn’t difficult to pull off, Terrance said. It’s a message he has for other students considering a fundraiser or starting a club.
“Fundraising works the best because it’s easiest, but there are a few other things you can do. An example would be putting up signs saying to help the earth,” Terrance said.
The interest of young people is a good thing for the environmental movement. Ultimately, today’s young people will take leadership and ownership for a natural world facing significant degradation and challenges, including the effects of climate change.
“I think it’s great that young students are so passionate about protecting the environment,” said Mary Robinson, WMEAC’s director of development, to whom Terrance hand delivered the funds. “They’re our future leaders.”
WMEAC has previously engaged with young people’s efforts to save the earth.
In 2017, Milo, a student at Congress Elementary, engaged with WMEAC in the Earth Saving Club he started.
In September 2019, the Drawdown conference, which WMEAC had a hand in organizing, featured young people’s concern and activism around climate change.
Now, the members of the environmental club at Stepping Stones Montessori—Terrance, Lucy, Myra, Jackson and Oliver—join their ranks.
How did it feel to hand off the money to WMEAC?
“Good,” Terrance said.
It’s good for the earth, too.