​​​​​​​“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

Thursday, June 2, 2022

“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”[1] 

By Kerin Ord, Global Sector Lead for Education

2 June 2022


The theme for World Environment Day 2022 global campaign #OnlyOneEarth calls for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener, and sustainable living in harmony with nature. It focuses on the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature, and our possibilities for shifting to a greener lifestyle through both policies and individual choices. 

However, it is hard not to be anxious by what science is telling us about climate change, and what more and more of us are now seeing in our own lives.  Children born in 2020 will face on average two to seven times more extreme weather events than their grandparents.[2]  UNICEF estimates that 88 percent of the global burden of disease attributable to climate change is borne by children under the age of five.[3]  Rather than leaving the world in a better state than when we found it, we run the risk of leaving a planet that will no longer be able to provide sustenance to those who live on it.

One ray of hope for the future is that children are speaking out and getting engaged in actions and activism to spark a change.  Whether it be on a global stage with young activists such as Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate, or more local heroes such as Peter in Kenya who is starting his own green revolution through the practice of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, the heirs of the Earth are not waiting for us but rather they are leading the way.

World Vision hopes to encourage more children and young people to become environment champions and to this end, as part of our partnership in the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, we are collating a package of children’s books that will become part of the starter packs for our Book Clubs in communities implementing our Unlock Literacy programme.  You can find examples of  these books in the Bloom Library, at Storyweaver and some sourced through All Children Reading is “Aristotle the Water Bottle”.

  • Layla’s Project, a story about a grandfather who inspires his granddaughter to lead the way in fighting global warming that features the impact of empowering girls to take leadership to effect change and make the world a better place (also read in its original Arabic). 
  • The Garbage Monster, an imaginative story that features a boy who innovatively solves problems in his community by introducing them to recycling and repurposing their garbage (also read in its original Arabic). 
  • Grandpa’s Car, a storybook about a girl and her friends who recycle and transform her Grandpa’s old car into a piece of art.
  • Aristotle the Water Bottle, a story that focuses on recycling through the journey of a water bottle who has big dreams and won’t stop until he achieves them.


Learn more about World Vision's Education programming here 

Kerin Ord has been Global Sector Lead for Education at World Vision International since 2017, leading efforts to ensure all children in our education programmes experience nurturing care and have timely, quality, inclusive learning opportunities in their homes, communities and schools.


[1] Attributed to many authors inter alia Chief Seattle, Oscar Wilde, Wendell Barry 

[2] https://www.savethechildren.net/born-climate-crisis

[3] https://www.unicef.org/media/105376/file/UNICEF-climate-crisis-child-rights-crisis.pdf