Today’s youth well-versed in climate change

Cory Hurley
Published on July 18, 2014
Aidan Keeping participates in a Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador Green Team activity called the iceberg jump at the Grenfell Campus Week of Wonders Day camp Thursday, July 17, 2014.
Geraldine Brophy

The education never ends for Michael Watton.

The team leader of Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador’s Green Team based out of Corner Brook is a recent graduate of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University with a science degree majoring in psychology.

The young man, formerly from Corner Brook and now residing in Meadows, thought he would take his environmental consciousness to a new level as a member of the Green Team this summer. As expected, his knowledge of the world around him has been expanding.

So, he put on his teaching hat Thursday. He, and his team, got together with the children at the Week of Wonders Day Camp at Grenfell.

Watton had a wealth of knowledge to pass along about “Climate Change 101.” He was prepared to pass along the information in a way that would be valuable to the youthful minds, whose ages appeared to span the elementary school range.

What he wasn’t prepared for was another lesson about the world around him: These kids know their environment.

“I was very surprised at the things they knew already,” he said. “The schools are doing an excellent job right now at teaching the kids early.”

Watton said the goal was to let the children know that each of them can make a difference in the world through their own small actions.

Preaching to the choir, it seemed.

Aidan Keeping, 10, of St. Anthony and Molly Grimes, 9, of Corner Brook are just two of the children well versed in the environment.

“There’s this thing called greenhouse gases that cover the Earth, and they stop the heat from getting out into the galaxy,” Keeping said. “It’s trapping it inside and making the earth a lot warmer.”

Grimes said climate change in Newfoundland means a shorter, hotter summer and a longer, colder winter.

Is she concerned about climate change at the age of 9?

“Yes and no,” she said. “Yes, because I don’t want the Earth to flood. No, because if I start recycling that has a smaller chance of happening.”

They both recognize they have that chance to make a difference.

Even if they already knew, Watton can walk away proud.