Jeff Kinney, author-illustrator of the wildly popular book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid BUILDS GREEN to help the environment and inspire younger generations

When I was a kid, I thought of the natural world as an inexhaustible bounty. It never occurred to me that one day we might lose the treasures of nature that I took for granted.

In my lifetime, the world has changed faster than at any other time in history. Technology has enhanced and enriched our lives. Information travels more quickly than we ever could have imagined. So much good has come with the rapid advancements of the past forty years.

As human beings, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and about our world. And the most important thing we’ve learned is how much human activity can effect our environment.

I’ve read Time magazine almost my whole life. I seen hundreds of covers over the years, but the ones that always get my attention are those that feature the state of Planet Earth.

If Time is any indication, the healthfulness of our planet is in jeopardy. Cover stories over the past four decades have featured everything from the depleted ozone layer to vanishing wildlife species to the effects of global warming.

I have to admit, when I see a cover that disturbs me (like a recent one about the world’s bees vanishing), I’m tempted to bury my head in the sand and to hope that the next week’s issue will have something more entertaining on the cover (like, say, a debate on whether or not college athletes should be paid). But the truth is, the drumbeat of environmental concerns has become so deafening that it’s impossible to ignore.

What’s undeniable is that the activities of human beings are wreaking havoc on the natural world. If we don’t take action to protect our environment, we’ll destroy it, and faster than we think.

architectural drawing for the Kinneys' eco-friendly building

There’s hope that we can turn things around. There’s a growing body of information on ways we can act to help ensure that the world’s natural wonders will survive and thrive.

My wife and I are taking this information to heart. We’re constructing a three-story building in the center of our town, and we’re doing it in an environmentally-conscience way. The building will have solar panels, a charging bay for electric cars, energy-efficient toilets and sinks, and use reclaimed wood throughout. We hope this building can be a model that might inspire others to create energy-efficient buildings and homes.

There’s a term for kids who are growing up with computers as a part of their lives from the beginning… “digital natives.” Let’s raise a generation of “environmental natives” who value the world’s precious treasures and acts to protect them.

Jeff Kinney is the author and cartoonist of  the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, international award winning and bestselling teen titles, which have spawned several popular movies. He was named one of the TIME 100 World’s Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2009. Jeff is also a game designer and creator of the website Poptropica. Discover more about his books at

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