The Power of Children to Change the World

ford_harrison_us_felix_de_46681_web_20101029Thirteen year-old Felix Finkbeiner is a pretty amazing young man!

In 2007, at the age of only 9, he was required to give a talk to his class. Not knowing where to start, he browsed the web for inspiration. He came across the work of Wangari Maathai in Africa, who founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees.

He decided her work would be the basis for his talk – at the end of which, he shared his idea that children could plant one million trees in each country of the world and create a CO2 balance in the environment.

Now, for some kids, giving a talk to their class would have been the end of it. But not for Felix!

He continued to pursue his dream – not only writing his own book Tree by Tree, but also (with some help from others) developing Plant-for-the-Planet.

Here is an entry from Wikipedia:

Planting the first tree at his school marked the official launch his campaign. Students in Bavaria and across Germany also got involved and continued to plant trees under the Plant-for-the-Planet name. After one year 150,000 trees had already been planted. During the following year the organization effectively developed into a worldwide movement after Felix was elected to the United Nations Environment Programme children’s board during the group’s conference in Norway.

The Plant-for-the-Planet Children’s Initiative has become a worldwide movement, now with approximately 100,000 children in over 100 countries involved. Since March 2011 Plant-for-the-Planet has a democratic structure with a Global Board consisting of 14 children from eight nations. 

Apparently one newspaper also listed Felix as one of the 20 most influential ‘Green Power’ activists, along with Brad Pitt (a builder of environmentally responsible homes) and the Prince of Wales!

It’s a pretty amazing story! It also reminds us never to underestimate the wisdom and the potential of children, when they are given the opportunity and support to pursue their dreams.

Read this more detailed story from the Telegraph in the UK.

We also share two videos below. The first shows Felix speaking to the UN in February 2011, where he was also delighted to meet Professor Wangari Maathai who had been his inspiration. The other is a tribute to Wangari Maathai, who sadly passed away on 25 September that same year. 

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