Environmental literacy for every global citizen is an important priority given the impact of climate change. Kenneth Xu (17, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) combined his love for nature and outdoor activities with community service, and founded Student Environmental Education Coalition to spread awareness about environmentalism among his peers. He teaches his fellow youth how to tackle climate change and cultivates the next generation of leaders who will shape environmental policy.
Kenneth was exposed to the negative effects of human activities on the environment after visiting his grandparents in China. A true nature-lover, Kenneth was horrified by the poor air quality and dangerous levels of pollution – the entire city he lived in was at times shrouded in smog, which resulted in low visibility and negative impacts on human health. To mitigate these negative effects, Kenneth decided to fight against environmental negligence and educate youth on how to protect our planet.
Kenneth believes that the key to effectively mitigate the consequences of climate change is to educate future leaders about the environment. Through a series of colloquium lessons, fun activities, free summer camps, education conservation initiatives and educational campaigns, the Student Environmental Education Coalition provides tools for kids and teenagers in North Carolina to learn about environmentally responsible behavior and practical environmental solutions. Through his work, Kenneth was able to reach out to hundreds of young people and to engage them in STEM studies. He hopes that his non-profit can result into a collective action addressing major environmental issues.