Black and white aerial shot of Midtown and Lower Manhattan. The skyline is obscured by a thick smog.


Want more information about what you can do to help keep our Earth clean? Read about kids working to fight climate change through environmental activism, then take a look at some of the resources provided below to learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint and recycle.

Plus: check out the Activist New York website to find out more information about the history of Earth Day, and learn more about the image below.

Poster with the words "Give Earth A Chance" above, a room with blue walls and a green floor and a globe hovering in the middle below.
Milton Glaser. Give Earth a Chance, 1970. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Milton Glaser, 2019. 2019.27.1

Kids fighting for the environment

Taking care of the Earth and providing a safe, clean place for future generations is not just for grown-ups - kids have to play a part too. You have voices, platforms, and the power to advocate for any change you wish to see in your world. More and more kids like you are standing up and speaking about environmental action and the need for better legislation on a global scale. Read the stories below to learn about youth activists who are fighting for a cleaner world.

What can you do - big or small - to help encourage change in your own community?

Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier sits in front of a superimposed city skyline. She is wearing a garment with blue, red, green and yellow flowers embroidered on a black fabric which covers the front of a red checkered fabric. Peltier has two braids wrapped in beige ribbons, and she wears colorful beaded earrings. Peltier smiles directly at the camera.
Autumn Peltier @autumn.peltier

Peltier is a Canadian water activist who advocates for clean drinking water in First Nation communities and across Mother Earth. She comes from Wikwemikong First Nation/Manitoulin Island and is from Ojibway/Odawa heritage. Peltier has traveled far and wide to carry the message of the importance of clean water and the Sacredness of Water. She has spoken at the United Nations World Water Day on March 22, 2018, been honored by the Assembly of First Nations as a water protector, and traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, for World Water Week in August 2018, invited by the United Nations as a keynote speaker.

Check out Peltier in action below as she addresses the UN: 

Autumn Peltier, 13 Year Old Water Advocate, Addresses the UN  
Autumn Peltier, Water Protector, Addresses the UN 

Alexandria Villaseñor

Alexandria Villaseñor sits in front of the UN in New York City. She sits on a silver bench in between to handmade signs. One says “School Strike 4 climate” and the other reads “COP24 Failed Us.”
Alexandria Villaseñor @alexandriav2005

Villaseñor's fight for climate action was sparked when she was caught in a smoke cloud from the November 2018 Camp Fire in California during a family visit. Since December 14, 2018, she has skipped school every Friday in order to protest against the lack of climate action in front of the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Villaseñor also founded the climate change education group Earth Uprising to organize for direct action and design a school curriculum, written by scientists, about climate change — with a slight twist: students will be distributing it to teachers rather than vice-versa. 

Isra Hirsi

Isra Hirsi is in front of a burgundy door covered in ivy. She wears a black mock turtle neck and smiles directly at the camera.
Isra Hirsi @israhirsi

Hirsi is an American environmental activist. She co-founded and serves as the co-executive director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, the American arm of a global youth climate change movement. Hirsi also coordinated the organization of hundreds of student-led strikes across the United States on March 15 and May 3, 2019. Hirsi won a Brower Youth Award for her climate activism. 

Want to know more about what Hirsi is taking a stand for? Read the articles she wrote about being a youth activist below: 

Adults Won’t Take Climate Change Seriously, So We Youth Are Forced to Strike - The Bulletin, March 7, 2019  
The Climate Movement Needs More People Like Me - Grist, March 25, 2019 

Jamie Margolin

Jamie Margolin holds a blue and white bullhorn that she is actively speaking into. A crowd of youths follows behind her shouting and holding signs that read “Reduce your carbon footprint today.”
Zero Hour Strike, Jamie Margolin @jamie_s_margolin

In 2017, at age 15, Margolin founded the youth climate action organization  Zero Hour  with Nadia Nazar. She serves as the co-executive director of the organization. Margolin co-founded Zero Hour in reaction to the response she saw after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and her personal experience during the 2017 Washington wildfires. She has garnered some notoriety as a plaintiff in the  Aji P. v. Washington case, suing the state of Washington for their inaction against climate change on the basis of a stable climate being a human right. 

Go Further:

For more information about how to help keep both our city and Earth clean and sustainable, and for more information about Earth Day, check out these websites: 

Websites about how to keep the Earth clean: 
How to reduce your carbon footprint  
Hudson River Park Recycling 101  
GrowNYC Recycling  

Websites about how New York City is doing its part: 
NYC Zero Waste Initiative   

Websites about climate change: 
MCNY Future City Lab Symposium Series 
Earth Day 2020  
Activist New York   


Family and Community Engagement Programs are made possible in part by the Margaret S. Ogden and Stephen A. Ogden Memorial Fund, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Sy Syms Foundation, and the Frank J. Antun Foundation.

The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center is endowed by grants from The Thompson Family Foundation Fund, the F.A.O. Schwarz Family Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment, and other generous donors.

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