This month’s Spotlight is all about Tim, Moby and the BrainPOP UK team going on a rescue mission so we looked far and wide for some green inspiration. And, thanks to Ian Pittman (@IPittman) from The Alice Smith School, Kuala Lumpur, we found it!
It began with a tweet…
The Alice Smith School is a keen BrainPOPpping school in Malaysia. So we jumped at the chance to talk to the Kids who choose to go green.
We’re glad to say that Gabriel and the Kids for Earth team were very happy to answer a few questions from us and spread the word about their great efforts in the name of saving the planet. If you can believe it, there are only 6 of them, aged 11 to 15.
Kids For Earth’s vision is to inspire children and teenagers to become active eco citizens for the future of our world. A simple presentation about the life of Billy the plastic bag has led to the Kids for Earth team presenting their message to hundreds of children in local schools, a constantly updated blog, and even national media coverage. They’ve certainly inspired us and we hope you enjoy meeting them!
What inspired you in the first place? Was it a lesson on looking after the environment that made you think, “we have to do something!”?
When I was smaller, we lived in Europe so we regularly visited our grandpa, in France. He is a very outdoorsy person and he has his own garden, where he plants vegetables and fruits. Every time we visited our grandparents, we therefore spent a lot of time outside, with our grandpa lecturing us on how organic and home grown foods were better for the environment and healthier than foods grown on fertilizers. I think its from that moment that we really began to feel a connection with the environment. After that, lots of lessons on topics such as environmental chemistry really spurred my passion for the environment.
What came first – Billy the plastic bag or Kids for Earth? Why did you decide to promote reusable bags?
I created Billy the plastic bag after watching a video called Message in the Waves, which showed some videos of albatross chicks rotting, and you could see all the plastic they had eaten in their stomachs. After that, I really felt the urge to make a larger impact and try to influence the environment in a positive manner.
After making the presentation, I founded Kids for Earth to be able to expand the presentation and be able to encourage the children to keep on acting after we’d shown the presentation in their school; Kids for Earth has allowed me to conduct competitions between schools that would have been more difficult if I’d just had the presentation.
How much support did you get from your teachers and parents? Did your teachers suggest you create the Kids for Earth blog?
My parents were very encouraging, right from the beginning. They have been helping me and my sister lots and it would have taken us much longer to get this far if not for their encouragement and guidance. Similarly, our teachers have been very helpful, especially in organising talks in schools.
For example, one of the teachers here at my school, Alice Smith, really encouraged me to do the talk in front of my year group, despite me being very nervous. If not for his encouragement, I doubt I would have gone through with the talk.
How did the national media find out about your campaign?
Our parents encourage us to look for sponsors when we require extra means and resources to realise our ideas and projects for Kids for Earth, and this is the reason why we started to talk to corporates and medias, and gained attention from some of the medias in Malaysia, such as the inflight magazine of Malaysian Airlines, the BFM ratio, and Astro, Malaysia’s largest cable TV company. Astro has an educational channel called TVIQ and they were planning for a “Kids Go Green” week.
We were referred to them by the father of one of our members. After our Billy the Plastic Bag presentation, they have decided to turn our presentation into a minute long filler. We have also agreed to help them come up with ideas for 3 more fillers and jointly conducted workshops in 3 local schools, in addition to the press conference we had with them.
Wow! How are you adjusting to your recent celebrity status?
We’re not celebrities! Though we are really reaching out to kids, it is the presentation that they remember, and not the people who showed it. What we want to show is that, as children, we can make an impact on how we treat the environment, and as sons and daughters, we can impact the way our parents treat the environment. Therefore, we really are playing an important role in preserving the environment. Who we are is not important. However, I must admit that getting recognition for what we do is very gratifying and makes us strive to perform better.
What’s next for Kids for Earth?
We’ve printed our presentation into a book in collaboration with YTL corporation. It is going to be released on the 22nd May, during YTL’s Climate Change week. Also, like I mentioned above, we are working with Astro TVIQ and they started airing our filler today…However, the next thing we really want to do is reach out to children and expand by getting children passionate about preserving the environment and wanting to spread the message. Kids for Earth is an open platform and we welcome kids who care about our Earth and would like to take care of it to join us. Please visit our website at www.kidsforearthasia.com or email me at email@example.com
If you hadn’t heard about Kids for Earth before then we recommend you read about what they’re getting up to on their website. We’re going to be watching Kids for Earth very closely from now on – we’re pretty sure they’re on their way to being future world leaders – and we’d love to hear even more inspirational stories from schools in the UK.
As a special treat, here’s a Reboot, Recycle, Reuse poster for you to download to get your kids thinking.
Click image to start download
PS: You will need a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the poster. Download the latest version here: http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/