Almanac

News - September 8, 2010

Saving the planet pledge by pledge

Holland sisters urge children around the world to join their club

by Jane Knoerle

The Holland sisters of Portola Valley are little girls who think big ... really big. Kylie, 11, Devon, 10, and Piper, 8, are founders of the Earth Saver's Club for Kids.

The club started more than two years ago, using a spare room in their house as clubhouse, but then, as they tell it, "We decided to make a website (www.EarthSaversClubforKids.com) so kids around the world could join the club, too."

The website, www.eathsaversclubforkids.com, is a beauty. It was created by River Coyote Designs, with all three Piper kids participating. The girls designed the earth logo and illustrated each segment of the site with colorful crayon drawings.

There are tips to save the earth, projects to do with friends or family, links to organizations saving the earth, games to play and videos from fellow Earth Saver's Club members. There is also a weekly blog.

The club encourages other children to share their art, stories, poetry, photographs and videos about ways to save the earth.

The text can be translated into 57 languages, from Arabic to Urdu. So far, the club has gained members in Spain, Ireland, and France, as well as the United States.

To join the club, each child is asked to make a pledge.

"Anybody can join the Earth Saver's Club for kids ... all you have to do is promise to do one thing to save the earth. Type in what you are going to do and hit the 'Save the Earth' button," says the website.

Club member Rhianna pledged to eat organic food, Jessie volunteered to take public transportation once a week, another pledged to pick up garbage and do more recycling.

The club made its web debut on Earth Day, April 22, 2010, but hasn't had the girls' full attention this summer. They and their parents have been busy visiting national parks in a recreational vehicle, attending Stanford Sierra Camp, and backpacking at Yosemite. The girls also attended "Rock 'n' Roll" camp, culminating in a grand finale show with Kylie playing electric violin, Piper on electric guitar, and Devon as vocalist.

With school starting, Kylie will attend Castilleja. Devon will go to Corte Madera, and Piper to Ormondale School in Portola Valley. The girls are involved in a myriad of activities ... almost every kind of sport, plus violin, piano, theater, and girls chorus. They spend time with their pony, Candy, and miniature horse, Pumpkin. However, they intend to devote one day a week to promoting their club.

As part of their tech-savvy generation, each girl has her own laptop. Piper made a PowerPoint presentation to her class when she was in second grade.

Obviously, these youngsters are not the progeny of couch potato parents. Their mom, Linda Yates, has a management consulting background, working with Global 500 companies. She is a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute and has served on several private, public and nonprofit boards. Their dad, Paul Holland, is a venture capitalist who coordinates the clean-tech practice for Foundation Capital in Menlo Park.

The family is living temporarily with Linda's parents, Don and Jane Yates, while they are building "the greenest house in America" — a LEED Platinum house in Portola Valley. They hope to move into the house in January.

After listening to the dazzling array of activities and ambitions of these young ladies, this reporter asked, "Which one of you is going to become president of the United States?" "Not me," says Kylie. "I want to find a cure for cancer."

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