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by Blythe Copeland, Great Neck, New York

Sometimes it takes the simple clarity of a child to change the world as we know it.

Among all the social change, political maneuvering, and serious issues facing the environment today, there are plenty of savvy kids taking matters into their own hands: Coming up with plans to save countless gallons of water in their cities, tackling Mcdonalds, fighting to stop mountaintop removal mining, raising money for Gulf Coast relief efforts, and more.

1. Caitlyn Larsen

Ten-year-old Caitlyn Larsen of Orogrande, New Mexico, was just one of the locals who got an uneasy feeling when she saw a new hole, filled with mining equipment, in the side of a mountain — but she was also one of the most vocal.

Caitlyn sent out a press release to draw attention to the environmental devastation that the mining effort would leave in its wake. The release caught the attention of the director of the New Mexico mining and Mineral Division, who checked a little further into the operation and found that the company behind the mine was “less than above the board.”

The company was forced to withdraw and the mountain is still standing. Read the full story