One person, one action, three ideas


Karen Horsman

Karen Horsman was the CBC national parenting columnist for more than a decade. She is passionate about helping families and children thrive. As Earth Rangers' parenting blogger, Karen is excited about sharing topics and resources to help empower the next generation of conservationists.


When you were a kid, did you ever wish you could just skip school, build a fort, and hang out with your friends? (or was that just me!?) I dreamt about waving a magic wand that allowed me to make all the decisions – not the grown-ups. With a flick of the wrist, I would be in charge, and you can bet it involved chocolate for breakfast. But alas, as a child, the magic, and indeed the control over my daily routine and food choices, rested firmly with grown-ups.  With the issue of climate change dominating the headlines, it got me thinking about how today’s kids must feel like they want a magic wand too. Not just to add fun in their daily routine but for a sense of control about how the future looks for the planet. Our eco-anxiety research tells us, kids are concerned about climate change and need creative solutions for how they can help. As individuals, they are willing to chip in and support the animals they love. 
At the United Nation’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt, there was renewed debate in the media about the impact an individual can have on our warming planet versus government policy makers and corporations. It’s been argued that it might be more effective to focus on certain high emission sectors than ask the public to reduce their individual carbon footprint. One national story asked the question, “Can one person’s actions help stop climate change?” You’re probably not surprised to hear our answer at Earth Rangers is a resounding YES! Inspiring kids to take eco-action is woven into everything we do. Kids who participate in Earth Rangers are significantly more optimistic about the future of the planet and confident in their ability to make a difference. This has never been more important, as we increasingly see the impacts of climate change in real time and the corresponding media coverage of our planet becomes more bleak. It’s not just kids who need support! That’s why we developed a comprehensive parent guide to help talk with your child about climate change. 
There’s no doubt we face a daunting task and we want to be careful not to put pressure on kids by making them feel like they’re responsible for coming up with the solution. The answer lies in empowerment. We can all do something that collectively will make a difference. We have ideas to help: 1. Commit to an Earth Rangers Mission as a family. We have over 20 Missions that focus on a wide variety of eco-actions and activities to help protect animals and the planet. Certified Green, for example, empowers you and the kids to take a closer look at the products you buy. The Mission’s ecolabel guide helps you determine if your purchase is truly good for the environment.  2. Join our Project 2050 Climate Challenges. This is team work at its best. When kids join together by logging their climate-friendly habits in the app, they get a sense of what its like to collectively work towards a common goal.  3. Purchase a Wildlife Adoption Kit for the animal-lover in your life! The Earth Rangers Wildlife Adoptions program contributes to impactful initiatives that support conservation work on the ground across Canada.
As for the big players, the UN is calling on political leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. So far, virtually every country in the world has signed global agreements pledging to make their best efforts to stay below 1.6 Celsius of warming. We grown-ups know that is a daunting task and there is a ton of work to be done. Though a magic wand would be most helpful right about now, we simply have each other. When things feel overwhelming, it’s important to start small. One completed Earth Rangers Mission, a simple idea from a child for a neighbourhood litter clean-up, or a symbolic Wildlife Adoption may help for today. It could lead to even more eco-action tomorrow.