11-year-old Girl is the Bees-Knees: Her Mission to Save the Bees
Scarlett Harper, an 11-year-old girl from Illinois, recently learned that the bees in her neighborhood were being eradicated by mosquito pesticides. This prompted her to start a campaign to save the bees.
“Go make some phone calls, get some state reps on board, let’s do this!” she wrote on Instagram in May.
Harper’s plan was then set into action when she helped create the “Bee Bill,” or Illinois HB 3118, with State Representative Robyn Gabel. The bill aims to restrict mosquito control pesticides that can be deadly to bees. Harper cold-called lawmakers and was able to lock in 22 co-sponsor. The piece of legislation made it through Illinois’ Energy and Environment Committee with a unanimous vote of 29-0.
“Bees are completely vital to humans,” said Harper. “They pollinate a third of our food supply, and without them, we really can’t survive.”
Her parents say that her passion for the environment is something she formed all on her own, starting at an early age. At nine years old, Harper learned of a plan to cut down trees for a construction project in her town. She joined the Environmental Forestry Commission and spoke to officials to try and stop the project from happening.
“As a kid trying to make an impact stopping the climate crisis, I have been lucky to be given a little extra leeway to be blunt and impatient with how slow progress is,” she said. “I realized that early on and started using my voice to state the elephant in the room.
“Instead of thinking of my age as a disadvantage, I try to use it as a tool, because I’m a little bit younger. I can not get bogged down in what might go wrong.”
The Bee Bill faced opposition from pesticide companies and landscapers, but this pushed Harper to fight even harder. “We’re going to win,” she said.
Image source: CBS News