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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February 2005, 18:56 GMT
"How I'd change the world..."
The future generation has an unenviable task: tomorrow they must tackle the environmental problems we are creating today. Ahead of the Kyoto treaty coming into force, we asked seven young people from around the world how they would do things differently.

Alex Lin
Alex Lin
11, USA

Aparna Bhasin
Aparna Bhasin
17, India

William Roper
William Roper
17, UK

Jean-Christophe Martel
JC Martel
17, Canada

Analiz Vergara
Analiz Vergara
16, Ecuador

Shoko Takahashi
Shoko Takahashi
14, Japan

Yvonne Maingey
Yvonne Maingey
17, Kenya

Georgina Viveash
15, UK

Georgina Viveash

If children are educated to do something now then we can pass it on to our children
We get taught all sorts of things in school, but we do very little on air pollution and the risk to our health. A lot of the students travel to school by car but we don't get told about the effects of that.

Some 3% of pollution is caused by parents on the school run. Driving kids to school doesn't just contribute to air pollution - it also contributes to stress, because of traffic jams.

People are always saying that children today aren't as healthy as they were and that is because they get driven everywhere. I think it would be a lot better for them if they were made to walk.

My parents prefer me to walk to school they only time I get a lift is if I'm going to or from a dental appointment or running very late.

If parents make children walk not only will it make us healthier, which is something the government is targeting at the moment, it will also make a start in solving pollution.

I don't think cars should be taxed higher, because parents will still drive as much as it they did before. They'll just complain about the higher tax.

If children are educated to do something now then we can pass it on to our children, and that will lead to a healthier Britain

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Adults need to walk more, too. It's hard when you're spread out like in backwater WI, but car-pooling works. Five people going to the same place at the same time don't need five cars, they could all fit into one.
Hanna, Viroqua, WI, USA

I gave up my car almost 3 years ago and started walking and taking the bus everywhere. It is a hard thing to get used to, and there are still times when I wish I had a car (I will accept rides from friends if they are going my way). But giving up my car was also the only way to get myself to walk. I think my personal health has improved a lot (my doctor told me I don't need to worry about cholesterol any more). I don't think I've saved the planet yet, but there's always hope.
Edo, Honolulu, USA

Georgina's views make a lot of sense. I always used to walk to school and am now fortunate enough to live near enough to walk to work. It keeps me healthy and saves me and others the hassle of using a car. Anyone old enough and able enough to walk to school/work (or indeed anywhere else) should do so, particularly if it takes less than half an hour.
Alan, Sheffield, UK


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