Kids' Environmental Report Card: The Big Picture poll

"The planet is not at risk. We are," a recent headline in the International Herald Tribune proclaimed.

Thirty weeks before Earth Day, kids were asked to talk about "The Big Picture" - that is, to identify what they viewed as the most important issue confronting our planet today. The top-rated issue was climate change. It garnered more than three times the number of votes cast for water resources, energy resources, or wildlife conservation. It was a decisive way to kick off the Kid's Environmental Report Card.

Time to Take Action

Global climate change is grabbing the attention everywhere. With greater frequency, important questions are being asked: do global climate changes occur in natural cycles and to what degree do human activities contribute to them? People of all ages and from all walks of life are now asking what sorts of threats will stem from climate change — and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them from happening.

What's being done to address what Scholastic kids identified as the Number One issue facing the Earth and its inhabitants? The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement adopted in 1997 in Japan, entered into force in February 2005. The Protocol sets targets for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — regarded as the main cause of global warming. To date, more than 160 nations have signed aboard, in full agreement. Although the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty has not been fully approved by the U.S. Senate.