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Kids recycle  Photo: Corbis/Veer Kids recycle. Photo: Corbis/Veer

Kids Environmental Report Card Is In

United States gets a "C minus" for its response to helping the environment

By Laura Leigh Davidson | April 16 , 2009

The results of the 2009 Kids' Environmental Report Card are in.

Scholastic asked for kids' opinions on environmental issues, and thousands responded via a multiple-choice online poll. Students answered questions about how people care for the environment in their homes, local communities, and around the world.

Kids who contributed to the report card gave the United States an average grade of "C minus" when asked, "How well is the U.S. doing to help the environment?" Kids say the U.S. definitely needs to improve its overall response.

The kids' report card says that "global climate change" is the most important environmental issue facing the world today. "Pollution" is second, and "wildlife conservation" came in third.

Another question that kids were asked was, "What is the most important thing the U.S. President can do to stop global warming?" Fifty-one percent of kids favored having the President "work with other world leaders to create a global solution."

Kids rated their individual families' and communities' efforts to help the environment with an average grade of "B minus."

Most kids who responded said their families are recycling the bottles, cans, paper, and plastic they use at home to help the environment. They also think the most important thing their communities can do to conserve energy is "add solar panels on new public buildings."

While the overall grades from the poll are not very good, kids say they are hopeful about the future of the planet. More than 50 percent of kids predict environmental problems will eventually improve, due to people changing their behaviors and scientists and researchers providing solutions.

And kids aren't expecting "someone else" to do the work of caring for the Earth. Sixty-six percent of students who responded believe that it is "mostly my generation" that is responsible for the environment.
 
Check out results for the entire poll at www.scholastic.com/reportcard. You can discuss the report card and share ideas about how to solve environmental problems on the "Save the Planet" message boards.

Here are some eco-activities to get the celebration of Earth Day started early:

• Customize and send Tree-Free e-Cards and check out eZines by other students about animals and environmental issues.

• There's also a letter-writing tool that you can use to communicate your environmental opinions to elected officials and the media. When politicians or newspapers/magazines receive mail, they assume at least 100 people have the same thoughts as the writer!

• And don't miss the Scholastic Kids Press Corps Earth Day report.

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