Nine-year-old Cash Daniels, aka ‘The Conservation Kid’ shares his thoughts and ideas on how we can all do our bit to build a positive travel legacy.
Cash Daniels, currently at school is just nine years old and lives with his family in the city of Chattanooga in Hamilton County, Tennessee.
Not only has this remarkable young human already launched his own company (The Conservation Kid), he’s had a shout-out from actor Mark Wahlberg on Instagram, independently published his own book (One Small Piece), and was also awarded Tennesse ‘Youth Conservationist of the Year’ for 2019.
Did we mention he’s only nine years old?
Tell us a bit about yourself
I have always loved fish and aquatic animals. The more I learned about them and how humans make their lives harder I knew I had to do something to help.
In the last year, I’ve removed 1,360kgs of trash out of the Tennessee River. I mostly focus on freshwater, mostly river conservation and love raising awareness for our rivers, plastic pollution and what we can all do to help.
What inspired you to start taking action to protect our environment?
I was playing on the beach with my brother when I saw something that caught my attention. It was a piece of plastic and I thought “how can just a tiny piece of plastic infect the whole big ocean?” On the way home from the beach I realised that while we live a long way from the ocean, the rivers where we live are polluted too.
I organise regular monthly river cleanups near my home. If we can all make or do little things to change the world, it adds up. We don’t have to take on changing everything at one time.
80% of ocean trash starts on land and makes its way to the ocean via our rivers, so cleaning our rivers is very important while bringing awareness that does matter.
A lot of people know something needs to be done but don’t really know where to start.
“Everyone can be a voice for change and you can’t be afraid. People have told me what I do isn’t really helping or making a difference but I don’t believe that.”Cash Daniels
Even a little voice can be heard and makes an impact even if it’s small.
What worries you about the long term impact of travel on people and the planet?
I know travel can affect climate change and adds so much pollution but I think travel is also important for people to see other parts of the world and realise it’s worth saving.
It’s all about what we can all do together to make a difference.
Do you think travel can change the world?
YES! I believe travel can help people see what’s out there in the wild and see the beauty in nature. When you see it for yourself you can see and feel that it is worth saving.
There is so much beauty to be seen with animals that live in only certain parts of the world. If we don’t ever travel we can’t see and feel connected to nature and our earth.
Are you seeing positive change happen around you?
Definitely! I just got back from OceanHeroes Bootcamp in Canada and met with 300 other youths about how we can raise our voices and make change happen.
It was so cool to be in a place with so many kids who care. I learned so much and met with so many people who also love sustainability and conservation.
What advice would you give to others who want to do something to protect our earth?
Don’t be afraid! Your voice does matter! People will listen!
You may not know where to start but anything is better than nothing. You don’t have to start big – start small and listen to others about how they think about conservation and wildlife.
Don’t try to change other people but change yourself and people will eventually follow.
People don’t want to be told what to do and made to feel bad, lead by example because that’s the best thing.
Follow Cash on Instagram @theconservationkid
How can you travel to change the world?
Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.
Now you can easily create your own impact by sharing your new-found knowledge. Share this link to a friend who you think would be interested or post it on your own social media.
Ultimately, it all comes down to staying curious, keeping yourself up-to-date and making yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.