Literary Activism for Kids
Literary Activism for Kids
Literary activism in its basic sense is using words to elicit positive change in the world. It could be political, social, economic, or an environmental change.
Words can form letters, poems, stories, posters, placards, signs, leaflets,flyers,petitions, podcasts, You Tube videos,blog posts, articles, reports, speeches, debates, social media posts, etc.
Words have the actual power to change our planet for the better, especially if people work together. Kids and words are a powerful combination!
We can help the planet and our kids future, by providing them with opportunities to learn about our planet and its environmental problems.
Knowledge and understanding will give the young generation reasons to care, and the motivation to make a difference.
But more importantly our kids will be empowered to believe that they can make a difference. No matter how small the difference. Lots of small differences from lots of different people, come together to equal a humongous difference!
Examples Of Kids Literary Activism.
My family watched the BBC documentary in June, 2019 ‘War on Plastic’ which featured 2 young people, Ella and Caitlin, trying to convince McDonalds that their plastic toys were not welcomed by kids, and that the toys were contributing to the worldwide plastic problem.
The programme highlighted that McDonalds is the biggest toy manufacturer worldwide! Ella and Caitlin, displayed immense dedication to their cause, and it was sad when at first McDonald’s tried to ignore the girls. But these amazing girls persevered and are achieving success with their actions and petition.
The girl’s are so close to their half a million signatures, help the planet by signing their amazing petition HERE
Also check out five year old Ava’s letter to Pizza Hut asking them to reconsider their plastic straw policy. And Pizza Hut listened!
Encourage your kids to be active in their community. And to extend their local area to encompass the wide world.
Be aware of what’s happening in the world, watch the news, read young people’s newspapers, listen to the radio and actively discuss what you hear and read.
News is often biased, and it’s crucial to learn the difference between real and fake news. The BBC TEACH site has resources for kids to learn about fake news.
When your child spots an injustice or something they care about, that’s the magic moment for action.
Write letters, emails, poems, posters, articles, blog posts, film a little documentary,You Tube video, podcast, create petitions, etc.
Send your letters away to the relevant people, and wait for a response. If no response is forthcoming, resend! Find out who your local MP or councillor is. Share your actions on social media to raise awareness.
Even alert your local newspaper. Write to their readers letters column.
Also, if your child is between the ages of 6-15 years, they can write a letter to Blue Peter, detailing their actions and receive a badge in recognition of their awesomeness! There’s 7 different badges to earn.
You don’t even have to leave your home to be a literary activist!
Learning About Planet People.
Planet people encompasses part of the motto for Earth Cadets Education; ‘Planet, People and Plant-based Education’.
I think a good definition for Planet People is someone who aims to make a positive difference in the world. Many young people all over the world are doing just that.
Discover fourteen young activists here, and seven young activists here, and ten more here, and twenty here! You get the picture! It’s amazing that so many young people are beginning to realize that their actions do make a difference.
My Son’s Homeschool Challenges.
My son has sent a few letters, one to the local council and one to our local supermarket. As well as created quite a few posters, poems and digital drawings that highlight various planet problems. I have included a few of them below. My son has also just been offered a Young Social Media Journalist role with a local project. So, I’m sure some more literary activism is in the works!
To extend my son’s learning I decided to create a few journaling pages so he could discover some of the inspirational role models, both past and present.
You can use these journaling pages for your own home learning, access the pdf HERE.
There are 10 journaling pages to complete: 3 examples of young activists, 3 examples of activists from history, and 3 examples of famous, present-day activists. There is also a page titled ‘Future Me’.
The Future Me page, is a reflective activity where your child can have a think about what change they would like to achieve perhaps now, or even ten years into the future. And fill out the page as though it has already happened. Regardless of whether they intend to do the action or not. It’s a bit like reverse goal setting!
I have included a glossary of different types of activist’s, such as civil rights activists and disability activists. The Glossary definitions contain lots of links to further information and educational resources.
Finally there is a Quiz! I do like quizzes! The quiz is about learning some activist and social studies terminology. I think researching answers helps us to think more deeply about an idea, and I just feel that kids learn more when they are actively searching for their own information. As opposed to just reading.
Literary Activism for Kids
Below is my son’s letter to the local supermarket. Followed by another one he penned for our local council enquiring why we don’t have a food waste recycling collection:
‘‘Dear co-op manger
We all know palm oil sustainable products are where the futures at. I believe that the co-op should change the co-ops own brand products that currently contain palm oil and create sustainable palm oil ones to replace the old unsustainable products. Sustainable palm oil helps do a lot less damage to the rain forest and the species that live in it. Palm oil is a form of vegetable oil that is produced mainly from the slash and burn technique of harvesting.
This technique requires cutting down huge areas of the rainforest and then setting it alight, burning the plants and killing many native species, even making many animals such as poor orangutans orphans. This is causing crisis situations in the rainforest as animals end up having nowhere to live and nothing to eat.
Local people are also affected by this technique. People that are near the burning rainforests are suffering from severe lung problems due to acrid smoke and pollution from the fire. As a result locals need to wear masks to stop breathing in the smog and often their schools are closed and they can’t leave their homes as pollution levels are so high.
I know the co-op doesn’t want to be contributing to this problem. Should’nt we want the co-op to offer what most super markets don’t: sustainable palm oil products? You would get more attention and more customers that want to stay eco friendly.
You could start by creating a stand or display. For example: An extra large salad bowl, filled with fruits and veg, that has an eco crafted tree in the middle, with examples of the sustainable palm oil products currently on offer at the supermarket dotted over the branches, like a Christmas tree with gifts on. This will show what products are now currently sustainable and available in your supermarkets.
A sustainable palm oil tree display could be In every co-op across the UK promoting these products to drum up interest and get the word out. The tree could become an attraction encouraging new customers. Then the co-op could start replacing all your own brand products with sustainable palm oil. With these new products your business will grow even bigger.
Yours sincerely R.J”
Literary Activism for Kids
”Dear Highland council,
For my home education I was learning about climate change and food recycling. When I discovered that the people on the Isle of Skye do not have food recycling bins or a food waste centre, I was shocked. I implore you to add food waste bins to help combat the very real danger that is climate change.987,890 tonnes of food is wasted each year in Scotland with 60% of this waste coming from households.
We are wasting so much money on food that is destined for the bin! Why don’t you have a campaign to advice the public on how to cut their food waste down?
A food waste recycling collection will help prevent the harmful methane that is released from rotten food while it sits festering at the tip. Methane gases are highly toxic, pollute our atmosphere and can cause breathing problems. Inverness, Culloden and the surrounding areas have food waste collection weekly. Those places are in the Highlands and so are we so why is my area excluded?
Food waste is a large problem with no easy solution but putting bins out for food waste, collecting and recycling them correctly, is really the only way to go towards a brighter future and a new tomorrow.
What change would your child like to see within their community? What social injustice would they like to take a stand on?
The following is a poem and digital artwork that my son created, to illustrate to others the reality of the planet without trees.
”The squirrels, the birds, the bees,
they all like me, for I am their sanctuary,
I am the strength of the wood.
I keep all safe,
I grow from the bottom,
I grow to the top,
I am the humble almighty tree.
But with me gone there would be no air, there would be no life, there would only be a husk of what once was’
Find out about Amnesty International Write For Rights Campaign, the world’s biggest human rights campaign
Read a letter by an 8 year old activist to the previous US president Obama asking him to come visit her hometown which was experiencing a water crisis
Learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on this fun website with the Eco girls and boys!
For 365 ideas, tips and educational resources for learning about the planet, saving the planet and being the change the planet needs, check out my post:
To find out about citizen science for kids, and a huge list of projects, check out my post:
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