We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming of rad women in amazing jobs to bring you a very special Earth Day career column. Because, ICYMI, the world—particularly Mother Nature—needs our help. Climate change deniers are currently chilling in the Oval Office, while glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and animals are stranded without homes. Throw in increased meat production, massive food waste, and record-setting temperatures, and we’ve got a dire situation on our hands. But! We’ve also got some amazing girl heroes who are stepping up. Below, meet five young environmental activists who aren’t waiting until it’s too late to help save the planet (and hopefully they’ll inspire all of us to do the same).
Elizabeth Farrell aka Glacier Girl: According to her Insta handle, this London teen wants us all to “remember the glaciers.” And she’s helping everyone consider these melting ice caps in the coolest (no pun intended) ways: from her dreamy—but bitingly relevant—Instagram pics to her modeling appearances wearing “Save the planet” shirts, she uses art, fashion, and boundary-pushing creative pursuits to raise awareness within her generation.
Andini Makosinski: She’s given five TED Talks, won Google’s Science Fair, and landed on the coveted Forbes 30 Under 30 list. And she's only 19. Best of all, she captures it all on her YouTube channel. This Canadian entrepreneur-slash-activist first made a name for herself at age 15 as the brains behind genius inventions such as a flashlight that runs off the heat of your hands. Living proof that you’re never too young to see the light (yes, literally).
Victoria Barrett: Victoria’s a New York high school student, who, in the midst of exams and college applications, found a unique extracurricular: suing the government. She teamed up with dozens of other teens to pursue a lawsuit against the U.S. administration for failing to protect young people from global warming—and in turn, failure to let them fully pursue life, liberty and property. “It is undeniable that we have been exposed to the best and the worst of humanity,” she wrote in Clover. This is why, she said, “I fight for humanity in the footsteps of many.”
Delaney Reynolds: This climate change hero has written three children’s books, started two companies, and given one illuminating TED talk, all by the age of 16. The Sink or Swim Project and MiamiSeaRise.com are community educational programs aimed to teach people about the risks of global warming—especially ever-rising sea levels, which directly impacts the Miami native and her community. Best of all, she makes it super easy to get involved.