On the United Nations’ World Environment Day, Corus Entertainment brings families a new Corus Kids Original documentary, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First (1x22min), highlighting four Canadian youth activists with a shared passion for making the world a better place. Premiering on Friday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First follows Hannah Alper, Cooper Price, Charlene Rocha and Sophia Mathur as they set out to raise awareness of climate change issues and empower kids to take action. Produced by White Pine Pictures, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First is inspired by the award-winning CitizenKid book collection from Corus Entertainment’s Kids Can Press, designed to inspire kids to be better global citizens.
“In the midst of the challenging times we are currently facing, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First is a motivational, intelligent and stimulating take on climate change from the perspective of today’s youth,” said Colin Bohm, Executive Vice President, Content and Corporate Strategy, Corus Entertainment. “We hope families will watch this uplifting documentary together and discover, in their own big or small way, how they can make a difference within their community to help the planet.”
“Since its launch 11 years ago, the CitizenKid collection of books on global issues for young readers has sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide, in 21 languages and 28 territories, covering themes ranging from children’s rights to biodiversity to food and water security,” said Lisa Lyons Johnston, Publisher and President of Kids Can Press and Executive Producer of CitizenKid: Earth Comes First. “CitizenKid stories motivate young readers to look at their communities and the world, discover how they can contribute, and empower them to make change. With the growth of activism among younger and younger citizens, it only makes sense that the CitizenKid ethos would move from page to screen and involve these four inspiring young people in partnership with industry leaders White Pine Pictures and YTV.”
“The White Pine Pictures team has been honoured to partner with Lisa Lyons Johnston at Kids Can Press and the terrific folks at YTV to produce this important and entertaining documentary,” said Peter Raymont, President of White Pine Pictures. “Young people are way ahead of most of us on climate change. They get it. We should listen to them, and act.”
The inspirational documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at how these young activists use social media to amplify their voices to reach their peers, community, and people around the world, making it Corus Kids’ first original production to integrate social media outreach and engagement. To mobilize the country to unite on climate change issues, the documentary is asking Canadians to take part online in their #EarthComesFirst movement, which encourages people to pledge on social media how they put the Earth first in their everyday life, for example, shopping locally, walking or biking more often, or turning off the lights and electronics when not in use.. Starting today, Canadians can record a video with their pledge following the format below and post it on their social media account:
“Hi, my name is [Charlene Rocha] and I put Earth first by [using reusable water bottles.]” #EarthComesFirst @CitizenKidTV @ytvofficial #ytvofficial
Each a true activist in their own personal area of interest, Alper, Price, Rocha, and Mathur join forces in CitizenKid: Earth Comes First to raise awareness on a broad range of social and environmental issues. In the special, Alper and Price attend the Nature Based Climate Solutions Summit in Ottawa where they speak to Mandy Gull, member of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi and Deputy Grand Chief of the Cree First Nation; and Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Mathur and Rocha meet with the creators of Parachutes For The Planet, an initiative created by Mother Earth Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by internationally renowned sculptor and scientist Barton Rubenstein and his family. To raise awareness about the climate emergency, Mother Earth Project encourages individuals, schools, and communities around the world to decorate circular pieces of cloth with artwork and collective commitments to sustainable actions. Parachutes are a metaphor for bringing the planet back to a safe, sustainable world.
All four activists head to Washington, D.C. for Fridays For Future to meet youth involved in the climate strike event. Fridays For Future is a global movement that began in August 2018 after Greta Thunberg began striking every Friday outside the Swedish Parliament. Since then young people continue to gather and strike every Friday to demand more aggressive action from their governments and the international community.
Finally, inspired by the Nature Based Climate Solutions Summit, all four activists organize an environmental rally with the students at Equinox Holistic Alternative School, an environmentally conscious grade school in Toronto.
At the age of nine, Hannah launched her blog, Call Me Hannah, to share her growing concern for environmental issues. Now at 17, she has emerged as an author and impassioned public speaker having spoken at 37 WE Days across North America. In 2017, Hannah sat down with activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for a one-on-one interview. Hannah uses her voice to motivate and empower people of all ages to identify their passion and take action for a better world.
With a keen interest in politics, Cooper has joined the climate movement and devotes his time fighting for change by leading walkouts, protests and rallies at his school. Cooper is an ambassador for Climate Action Now, a volunteer climate change and environmental organization, and an active member with SSUNS, a high-school level model UN conference where youth leaders discuss and collaborate to discover solutions to global issues.
Committed to climate change and social justice, to advocating for gender and racial equality, Charlene got into environmental activism for her viral speech at a Fridays For Future strike. At the age of 16, she’s lobbying the government and has fought to get the city of Pickering, where she lives, to declare climate emergency. Along with being an eco-warrior, she’s an aspiring engineer and wants to encourage other women to follow their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they face.
At only seven years old, Sophia realized a current climate emergency and decided that she needed to start lobbying for a livable future. At 11 years old Sophia delivered her first speech at Queen’s Park. Now at the age of 12, she has since met Greta Thunberg and she spends her time organizing rallies for climate change and striking with Fridays For Future.
Produced by White Pine Pictures, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First is executive produced by White Pine Pictures′ Peter Raymont. For Corus Entertainment, Lisa Lyons Johnston is Executive Producer; Amanda Vaughan is Production Executive; and Colin Bohm is Executive Vice President, Content and Corporate Strategy. CitizenKid: Earth Comes First is produced by Stephen Paniccia and directed by Stefan Scaini.