I was asked to ‘judge’ a pitch session of students creating change making environmental projects. That’s how found myself listening to four twelve year old girls talk passionately about saving the ocean. They had powerpoint, video, a logo, and killer theme song. Their ideas were thoughtful and enthusiasm contagious.

At twelve I think I was stealing chocolate bars from Libby’s and smoking pot in the blackberry bushes behind the school.

We may have fucked things up, but I have a lot of confidence there are many kids coming up behind who will more than make things right. Michael Jackson had a point.

Over the morning six different groups talked about filtration gardens for rain water run off, reducing dependence on plastics, recipes for homemade safe laundry soap, and teaching even younger kids the importance of clean water and conscious choices. I was not only impressed, I was challenged.

There was a tone of urgency in their presentations, a ‘no time left’ theme woven through most of them. I felt like a perpetrator listening to a victim impact statement. Beyond bus riding, I’ve got plenty of unconscious habits that still fall back on the idea that it’s not really my problem or my fault. Like our Government refusing to sign environmental accords just because some other country isn’t doing it, I don’t have to change until everyone does.

None of them were pointing or wagging fingers. They were talking like this is what you do as a human being – you reach beyond yourself and your needs. It seemed almost reflexive. I am sure there are kids who are out for themselves and don’t really give a shit. However, the 24 that I met yesterday, really do.