Author at 11: Romario Valentine’s planet-saving tips

An 11-year-old eco-warrior from Durban hopes his first book will inspire children to become “earth guardians”.

Romario Valentine’s 64-page book, Protecting Our Planet: Take Action With Romario, is aimed at seven-to-11-year-olds and was published in September.

“My passion to protect our planet inspired me to create an environmental guidebook for the youth and myself,” the young author says. “I found it challenging to get access to information that was simple yet educational and creative. I hope it will encourage kids to become earth guardians.”

Romario has participated in more than 200 beach clean-ups, raised funds to buy and plant 450 trees in 20 countries and crowdfunded bird conservation projects. He is the youngest ambassador of Ocean Sole, a marine conservation non-profit organisation in Kenya, and has ties to dozens of environmental organisations across the world, including the United Nations.

He believes that being involved in environmentalism from a young age will help children become “better citizens” and leave a legacy for future generations. “When we take care of nature, we take care of ourselves.”

A book to educate and inspire

His book encompasses key environmental topics, including climate change, pollution, recycling and reforestation and features projects for children such as building bug hotels, bird feeders and water filters. 

“It is super fun and colourful too,” Romario says. “There are topics on sustainability, ocean and bird conservation, the importance of water, plastic pollution and e-waste plus exciting scientific experiments, art activities and guidance on environmental jobs the youth can do.”

The youngster hopes his book will educate and inspire children to become “champions of the earth. Hopefully it can also be used for outreach programmes too and help children to find innovative ways to protect biodiversity”.

The feedback has been positive. “I believe it is doing well, which is super amazing. I’m grateful to my parents and to everyone who has supported me on my environmental journey. I’m honoured to be given such an opportunity at my age. We can only protect our planet when we work together.”

For Romario, the most challenging aspect was putting his ideas on paper, and “making time to do research, answer numerous questions and balance schoolwork, sports and exams”. He now understands the “mammoth task of creating a book”.

“The most exciting aspect … was the creative ideas and testing out the experiments.

I had a phenomenal project manager who was artistic like me. She knew how to bring my visions to life … This project taught me the importance of teamwork and having positive people who uplift you.”

His parents say they are honoured to have a “visionary child” like Romario. “He is a kind-hearted and humble boy who cares for our environment, wildlife and children,” says his mother, Delsha. “We will continue to assist him where we can and help him elevate to his highest potential. We are grateful for all the support he has been given to date.”

Protect Our Planet: Take Action With Romario costs R190 at Struik Nature, Wordsworth Books, Exclusive Books, Readers Warehouse, Loot, Takealot and Amazon.

The post Author at 11: Romario Valentine’s planet-saving tips appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

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