Our collective misuse and mistreatment of the environment has created a serious concern for future generations. Unfortunately, many of our mistakes - excessive fuel, food and material consumption - are likely to be inherited by the youth. However, it's certainly not too late to reverse this downward trend and prevent what could become a very real tragedy for the Earth and its inhabitants. Parents, adults and kids - every single person is responsible and every person has the power to change it.

Surprisingly, you don't have to take on a noble quest of heroic proportions to reverse all negative impacts to the environment. Simply being responsible for your own actions is enough. Be the change you would like to see in the world and others will follow suit. Luckily, many people are awakening to this concept and adopting a "go green" mentality. For children and teens, here are 10 ways you can do your part to keep the environment a green paradise for years to come.

1. Don't litter. Whether it's a plastic bag loaded with trash or a plastic toothpick wrapper, improperly disposing of your garbage has a crippling cumulative effect on the environment.

2. Always recycle bottles, cans, paper and plastic. This is a good habit to get into early on and one that can really make a difference. If your school does not have a recycling program, ask how one can be started.

3. Conserve energy by switching off lights and electronic devices that are not being used.

4. Ask your parents to buy organic foods and see whether your school offers organic food options. If not, perhaps you could be part of the group that starts such a program.

5. Talk to your parents about replacing your home's incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs.

6. Use your bike or walk to nearby locations rather than riding in a car. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

7. Don't throw your old clothes and toys away. Give them to a local charity or a friend that may be able to use them. This reduces your overall waste and embraces a recycling-based philosophy.

8. Avoid wasting plastic bags by bringing your own reusable cloth bags to stores. Some supermarkets will even give you a small discount for using environmentally friendly shopping bags.

9. If you see a can or piece of trash on the beach or out in the open, throw it away. This kind of thoughtfulness goes a long way in protecting the environment.

10. Encourage your friends to adopt a similar environmental attitude. Show them these simple steps to creating a better world and work together.

By following these tips and using them in your everyday life, you will definitely make the world a greener place. Hopefully, you will be able to pass this knowledge to your children as well. It's never too late to create positive change, and what better time is there than right now?