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Educating Kids About Climate Change: An Interview With Young Environmentalist Romario Valentine

October 21, 2022 - Martina Igini

We recently spoke to 11-year-old Romario Valentine, a young eco-warrior and author of Protect our Planet – Take action with Romario. Renowned globally for his beach clean-ups, tree planting, avian art, and other conservation projects, the young environmental enthusiast believes it is his mission to inspire and empower the youth to become earth guardians. Read on to find out how he became interested in the environment and what inspires him to invest his time in our planet and in educating other kids about climate change. 

EO: What made you first become interested in the environment and motivated you to educate other kids and teenagers about the dangers of climate change?

Romario: I have always cared for nature from a young age. However, when I was 6 years old, I was an orca in a school play. I did research with my mother and discovered the damage that pollutants were causing to these animals and other marine life. It could lead to their extinction and cause an imbalance in the ocean’s ecosystem. I believe kids and teenagers can make a positive impact in their communities if they are given opportunities. 

Check this out next: 10 of the Most Endangered Animal Species in the Ocean

EO: What inspired you to write a book?

Romario: My passion to protect nature inspired me to write my book, ”Protect Our Planet – Take Action With Romario”. I wanted to encourage children to become earth guardians and protect our beautiful planet.

EO: What’s the book about and what are the main topics?

Romario: It’s a colourful and vibrant book that addresses climate change and other environmental challenges. It has topics on ocean and bird conservation, plastic pollution, e-waste, and circular economy. There are also some really fun scientific activities and much more.

EO: What are some of your biggest inspirations? 

Romario: My mission is to protect biodiversity, to prevent endangered birds from extinction, and to help empower other children. My parents are also my biggest inspirations. They teach me to respect nature. It’s important because when we take care of nature, we take care of ourselves.

EO: Do you think young environmental activists can make a difference in this world?

Romario: Yes. All young environmental activists living sustainably and raising awareness in their own unique ways have a positive effect on the world.

Check this out next: Fridays for Future and the Importance of Young Climate Change Activists

EO: You are collaborating with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other environmental organisations. In what ways are you supporting their work?

Romario: The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is part of a project in the Sahel region called the Great Green Wall (GGW). It will be an 8,000 kilometres (4,970 miles) forest strip of drought-resistant trees across Northern Africa. These trees will eventually stop land degradation, and provide food for the surrounding communities and animal species. I was part of their Drought and Desertification Day and the launch of the UNEP’s Generation Restoration UN Sustainable Goals. I also have a baobab tree at the GGW. It could live for 1000s of years. 

I am also Ocean Sole’s youngest ambassador. They are a non-profit organisation in Kenya that recycles flip-flops found on the beach. They create sculptures of marine and wildlife animals to promote the conservation of the ocean. All sculptures are hand carved by people from the community.

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Ocean Sole’s sculptures are realised with flip-flops found on the beach (Photo by: Flickr

EO: Since you’re part of the current younger generation, how optimistic or hopeful are you about the future and climate change?

Romario: We can’t stop climate change, but we can slow it down and find ways to adapt. And it all starts with the younger generation. We can only become better citizens of the future if adults support us more. Children need access to environmental and tech education. It will allow us to innovate, to play our part in solving some of the current challenges we face. 

Millions of children around the world are being impacted by the effects of global warming. Many kids struggle with poor sanitation, poverty, no access to quality education, and no water, food, or shelter. This has to change! We can all protect the environment and help improve the lives of others.

Check this out next: ‘The Conservation Kid’ Cash Daniels Wants to Pick up 1 Million Pounds of Trash By End of 2022

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is an environmental journalist based in Hong Kong. She holds two Bachelor's degrees, one in Journalism and one in Translation and Interpreting Studies as well as a Master's degree in International Development. Passionate about writing and languages, her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection, especially in developing countries. She has extensive experience working as a journalist and in 2020, she joined the outreach team of the United Nations Global Communication Department. She currently works for Earth.Org and is the website's main writer and editor.