A Kid’s Five-Week Adventure to Create an Earth-friendly Life

“Journey for the Planet is an environmental adventure. Much more than planting seeds in a milk carton and watching them grow, the focus is on everyday habits and how to take action. There was no mistaking the feeling of empowerment and seriousness of purpose which rippled through the fifth graders.”
—New York Times

Journey for the Planet is a children’s version of Green Living Program and Low Carbon Diet for kids 8 to 12 years old. This program can be delivered in a classroom, after-school club, youth organization or for children of adults taking part in an EcoTeam. It is complemented by a twenty-six-lesson plan educator’s curriculum called the “Coach’s Guide.” Empowerment Institute offers a Journey for the Planet teacher certification.


Children instinctively realize the importance of saving the planet—not simply because it’s their inheritance, but because it’s the right thing to do. But many children are held back from taking action because they don’t know what to do or how to do it. To be empowered, children need a step-by-step program that gives them support to translate their caring for the Earth into effective action.

Journey for the Planet: A Kid’s 5-Week Adventure to Create an Earth-friendly Life is a fun, engaging illustrated workbook for children ages 8 to 12 who want to make a difference for the world. Following the tried and tested methodology of the Green Living and Low Carbon Diet programs, this children’s version guides young people through a series of action steps that can impact both climate change and the environment as a whole.

The book’s core message is one of empowerment. Taught by a series of animal characters, each of its forty-six-action lessons illustrates in clear, accessible language exactly how a simple change in the child’s behavior can help them better conserve natural reduces and reduce any adverse impact on the environment. The book has engaged thousands of children in schools and environmental programs across the country and been praised by teachers, students and parents alike.

If you have students, children, nieces, or nephews you’ve probably seen the concern they feel for what is happening to our environment. Now, they have a program to help them translate that concern into concrete action, and feel their power to make a difference.

Children are able to do the program as part of a classroom, a club, or on their own. The adult leader’s “Coach’s Guide” (Curriculum) has twenty-six lesson plans to enrich the child’s educational experience. 


The Journey for the Planet program has five sections dealing with garbage, water, energy, eco-wise consuming, and empowering others. Each has its own cartoon animal guide to lead the way. The forty-six actions in the program include:

  • “No Garbage Lunches”—using reusable packaging,
  • “AquaCop”—hunting down dripping faucets,
  • “Chill Out in Your Room”—finding air leaks that cause energy loss,
  • “Squash Party”—carpooling,
  • “Charge It!”—switching to rechargeable batteries,
  • “What Goes Around Came Around”—buying recycled paper products.

Each action is worth a certain number of points. Children who complete enough actions earn a “Global Hero” certificate which can be downloaded.

The children who participate in the program are excited, and find the program easy to use. The following are the reasons we have observed that Journey for the Planet has been so well received by children.  

  • Children see how their actions make a difference. They understand an issue and immediately see how what they can do affects that issue.
  • Children in classrooms are excited about the program because they see it as fun and not as schoolwork.
  • Actions are presented in an easy-to-do, exciting graphic format.
  • It is not about thinking of taking action, or studying possible actions, it’s about actually taking action.
  • It’s about what the child can do himself or herself. It’s not about what someone else can or should do.
  • Since the program is hands-on and practical, it allows non-academically oriented students to shine.

Look inside the book

Table of Contents
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5


The Coach’s Guide assumes that you, the coach, are working with a group of children. This allows you to add two important features to the children’s program: a peer support system and an adult support system. This support increases the likelihood of a successful journey for the children.

The Coach’s Guide provides a set of suggested activities for each of the Journey’s five sections. Each section is designed to be completed in one week, and each section has a menu of five activities. If you work with the children throughout the week, you can choose to do an activity each day for five days. Although, the program is designed for each section to be completed in one week, you can design any number of variations for the program’s delivery.

The Coach’s Guide lengthens the program to seven weeks. The children’s journey is still five weeks. Plan on starting your preparation for the program two weeks in advance. An introductory lesson is recommended a few days before the journey begins. A celebration following the completion of the Journey is recommended two weeks after the children complete the program.

Design a program that fits your context and your needs. The total amount of actual time with the children can vary from a minimum of ten activity hours to a maximum of thirty activity hours over the seven weeks of the program.

Peer Support EcoTeams

Business tells us that the skills of working on a team are important in the workplace. Schools are moving to more “cooperative learning” instruction to help students develop these skills. The EcoTeams are an opportunity for the children to develop teamwork skills as well as learn how to live an Earth-friendly lifestyle.

The EcoTeams provide support for the children during the most critical moments of the journey—the actual doing of the actions. When difficulties arise, the child has a friend right there. The team can problem-solve or be creative. In addition, children love being with their friends. This teaming allows the children to be social, and to enjoy their friends as they do the action steps together.

Adult Support

Children travel their Journey for the Planet in an independent manner. The activities of the Coach’s Guide support the journey. A key feature of this support is to assist the children’s work without taking it over. The children can only develop new behaviors if they maintain ownership of their actions and their actions’ impacts. The coach must reach a balance in providing support without doing too much for the children.

Parental Involvement

There is parent communication built into the Journey for the Planet despite the fact that the Journey is an independent program for children. The communication ensures that the child’s actions will not catch parents by surprise, since the child will share his/her plans before action begins. Most of this activity happens in the household, so it is important to have informed parents.

The communication also helps build support from parents for the child’s actions, and helps build the parents’ interest in living a more sustainable lifestyle.



Empowerment Institute offers a teacher certification in leading Journey for the Planet. It can be used to teach the program directly and train other teachers to deliver the program in both formal and nonformal education settings. This certification program includes consultation on how to customize Journey for the Planet to the unique needs of a school or other educational setting, training and training scripts for teaching about the program, and empowerment training and coaching skills to support teachers in facilitating the program.


Journey for the Planet, A KId’s Five Week Adventure to Create an Earth-friendly Life




Journey for the Planet, A KId’s Five Week Adventure to Create an Earth-friendly Life

Global Hero Certificate


“I learned a lot of different ways to help the environment. It wasn’t hard at all. I will definitely continue to do Earth Actions such as wear a sweater to conserve energy. It’s up to us to make a difference.”
– Paul Drexhage, 6th grade, Sturbridge, MA

“The children’s enthusiasm is fabulous and their desire to do more and more, beyond the original plan, is very satisfying. When two 4th grade students came in the garden and very proudly shared their “no-garbage lunches” with me, I knew this was a fantastic journey they were on indeed.”
– Caprice Potter, 4th grade teacher, Santa Cruz, CA