The Next Generation of Environmentalists
When Olivia Ries, now 10, and her brother Carter, now 11, first heard about the vast number of animals and plants that need the protections of the Endangered Species Act, they had an appropriate reaction: tears. Always passionate about saving animals, they decided they wanted to commit to something to help all species avoid extinction and reach recovery. So with the help of their parents, they founded their very own nonprofit group, called One More Generation.
Since One More Generation filed for nonprofit status in January 2010, it’s already made huge strides. One of the group’s main current campaigns — started with some help from the Center for Biological Diversity — is to compel the end of rattlesnake roundups in the Ries’ home state of Georgia. Since a local craft fair in March 2010, the children and their parents have collected more than 1,100 signatures on a petition to stop the destructive and deadly snake-killing contests. That petition was presented in person to Georgia Rep. Matt Ramsey in May at the first annual “OMG Day” at Olivia and Carter’s school, an event to rally support for the organization and its causes. One More Generation is also currently working to raise $50,000 for saving cheetahs and other species in South Africa.
For his ninth birthday, Carter told his friends to forget the presents and give him money to donate to environmental organizations instead — and he raised $175. Since then, OMG has raised many more dollars — plus engaged in educational outreach in Georgia, helped save animals affected by the Gulf oil spill and won the Nestlé’s Drumstick Heroes Award for their good deeds.
“The name One More Generation comes from the fact that we know we cannot change the world and the situation for all endangered species overnight,” says Olivia, “so we all agreed that we should try to create an organization that can at least help save the animals that are endangered for one more generation. Our parents told us that if we really work at it and maintain our passion, we might just inspire our next generation to keep on fighting for the animals.”
Added Carter and Olivia together, “We just want to make a difference.”
Update: Olivia and Carter are finalists on the Toyota 100 Cars For Good program. To cast your vote for them, please click on the following link, where you will have the opportunity to pledge to vote.
You will then automatically receive a reminder on June 28th (the official day of voting for OMG) to cast your vote. Olivia and Carter thank you.
Want to share your story in our Activist Spotlight?
A sea change can begin with two young animal lovers — or maybe, it can begin with you. If you or someone you know has found a creative way to turn concern for the planet — and for endangered plants and animals — into change for the better, we'd like to share your story with the world. Send us your spotlight idea here.
And check out other activists we've honored here.
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