Here’s a special thanks to Sam, Chayse, Jocelyn, Matthew, Tyler, Ryan, Sydney, Hailey, Ronni, Dani, Michaela, and Owen – last year’s Grade Six students at Eastview Public School in Oakville, Ontario

There are many reasons to give thanks this year as Thanksgiving rolls around.  Friends of the Earth Canada has a lot of wonderful people to whom we say a warm thank you – thanks for signing petitions, lending your voice, raising money and making donations, planting bee-friendly flowers and more.  But there’s a special group of students and their teacher to whom I want to say a special thank you.

Last year these students researched environmental issues and the effects they have on biodiversity. They learned that the rate of deforestation on our planet is equal to 20 football fields every minute.

Forest with sun rays

They learned that air pollution is one of the most serious problems in the world.  And then they decided to do something about these issues. They decided to raise money and send it to Friends of the Earth Canada.

Here’s how they did it. They wrote, “We worked really hard to raise money at a movie night we hosted at our school.  At our movie night we showed “The Lorax” because it related to our environmental issues.  We had to buy a movie license so we could screen the movie, and in order to obtain the license we decided to do another fundraiser.  Our class offered to be “Personal Assistants” for a day, where other students paid to have us carry their books, provide a place setting at lunch, and assist them with games at recess.  Once we raised enough money to purchase our movie license, we hosted our movie night and invited the entire community to attend.  The movie night was a big success and everyone had a great time.  The popcorn and cotton candy we sold at the movie night was a hit and lucky for us we had extra snacks left over.  We decided to sell these snacks at break times to the rest of the school so we could raise even more money.”

I am impressed with their caring and their tenacity – they decided what they cared about, came up with a plan, made adjustments as they carried it out and delivered their result – a cheque for $466. to Friends of the Earth Canada hoping that we can help solve the problems of deforestation and air pollution.

So here’s what touches me, what I am especially thankful for this year –  their hopefulness that we can and will make a difference.  These students and their teacher have touched hundreds of people in Oakville and the Halton District School Board because they decided to care about air pollution and deforestation.  They are hopeful that children everywhere can breathe clean air and live with forests and nature.

So I say a very special thank you to these twelve students who are now in Grade Seven at Eastview Public School.  Thank you to their teacher, Connie Herbert, and their parents and friends who attended the events organized.  Thank you for the inspiration and hope that comes along with their special donation to inspire me and colleagues at Friends of the Earth to do more to solve air pollution and deforestation problems.  Children and people everywhere have a right to clean air and healthy forests and we’ll continue to do all we can to make it so.  Happy thanksgiving.