Can we really unite to change the world? These kids think so.
With the global pandemic wreaking havoc on our economies, big elections looming and the world generally feeling a little gloomy, it’s easy to forget the profound impact our little ones can have on the planet. Yet recently, the team here at Ethicool HQ were very much reminded.
In celebration of Plastic-Free July, in conjunction with our good friends the People Planet Pages Book Club and the Community Climate Council, we hosted a kids’ art competition. And oh-boy, were we blown away with the results. We had stunning submissions from every corner of the globe, with some truly exceptional creative ideas and some even better colouring in (Ethicool illustrators, watch out!). But what buoyed us the most was these little peoples’ desire to make the world a better place.
It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner, so much so that we ended up choosing three! Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of three Ethicool kids from all corners of our planet, why they don’t like plastic, and how they plan to create positive change when they grow up.
One big planet, one small world
On the sunny shores of the Caribbean, in a small town at the foothills of beautiful mountains, lives our runner-up prize winner, eight year old Adithya Bally. The famous dance contest the limbo originated in Trinidad and Tobago where Adithya lives, and it is also home to the world's hottest chilli! If you travel there to try it and get hot under the collar, you won't get much reprieve from the weather, though - it's a balmy 27 degrees celsius pretty much year round!
Yet young Adithya takes this all in her stride. She lives with her parents, sister, three dogs, and one rabbit, Sophie. She loves riding her scooter and as an aspiring artist, she draws every day.
Things couldn’t be more different for three year old Dante, who won first prize in our contest with his adorable octopus. Dante calls Toronto home, which in winter sees lots of snow and ice, and can be as cold as -22 degrees!
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the cold weather is a bit of a shock for Dante, but it doesn’t stop him doing what he loves, which includes playing with his friends, reading books, and dancing for no reason whatsoever (we love that about you, Dante!). Dante speaks to his grandparents via Whatsapp in Brazil just about every day, and he is very passionate about the environment.
Our final prize winner, seven year old Finley, hales from Brisbane, Australia. Surrounded by beaches and beautiful coral reefs, including the famous Great Barrier Reef, Finley knows first-hand the awful consequences plastic can have on our ocean life. He’s also a big fan of reading, and enjoys creating battles for his Warhammer figures. We loved that his fish looked a little like it was going out to battle!
Uniting in the fight against plastic
Our Ethicool kids come from very different corners of the planet, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t like plastic!
At home, Dante and his mum, Luiza, actively avoid plastic:
“We try to limit plastic as much as we can … because it can take hundreds or even thousands of years for it to break down, so the environmental damage can be long-lasting.”
Even at seven years old, Finley can easily see the damaging effects plastic can have. He says:
“Plastic is so bad because lots of creatures in the sea get caught by it and get killed.”
Adithya also proactively tries to limit her plastic and do her bit, regularly going with her dad to collect plastic bottles and containers for recycling.
Parents role-modelling important behaviours
Our little superheroes are all yet to drive, finish primary school, or cook their own dinners. But despite this, they’re already making a difference in the world, and one of the reasons for this is that their parents are truly leading by example.
Finley’s mum, Annaleise, believes that it’s critical to set the right example for our little ones, and thinks that we should even incentivize them to do the right thing:
“What we teach our children now will stay with them as they grow up. If we talk to them about sustainability, these habits will become second nature to them, and they’ll become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”
“As a family, we take our boys to the recycling centre, and Finley gets to keep the money if he helped collect and wash the bottles. We also avoid purchasing bottled water and we carry reusable straws and cutlery with us whenever we need them."
Teaching responsibility and creating positive habits from a young age was something that was important to Neesa, Adithya’s mum, and Luiza, Dante’s mum, too. Luiza feels that even at age three, Dante already has a sophisticated understanding of his impact:
“Dante is just three years old but he’s already in love with nature and the environment and knows he has an important role in protecting it, as do all of us.”
“He knows his choices have consequences for him and others.”
Making the world a better place
If you added the ages of all of our Ethicool kids together, in most countries of the world they still wouldn’t be classified as an adult. Yet still, they all have big dreams for the future.
Adithya hopes to positively influence the world through her illustrations:
‘I would love to be an illustrator of children’s books. I hope that through my art, I can bring joy and happiness to children and their parents” (Psst: You can follow Adithya on Instagram @ditiart2011).
Dante, at the humble age of three, already has a strong conservation agenda:
“I want to protect nature. I love animals and we need to take care of them. And the trees too, because they are important and give us shade and fresh air. And I won’t ever throw rubbish on the ground, or on the beach, or in the ocean or the forest.”
And finally, Finley’s ambitions are bold, yet something we should all aspire to:
“I want to make the world better by being a good person.”
We couldn’t agree more, Finley! Put your hand up if you’re ready for kids to take over the world?!?
Ethicool’s gorgeous kids’ books about nature inspire your little one to love everything that’s precious about our planet and fight to protect it. Browse our titles here.