Skip to content

Every time I ride my bike, I save a penguin | NextGen Speaks Out on the Environment

12 year old Alixx Tanner has been able to do what many of us aim to do: understand the larger environmental impacts of her daily decisions.

In a science fair project on penguins, the Grade 7 Nellie McClung student looked outside of her immediate world to see how her decisions affect the environment, specifically penguin habitats. The population of these adorable waddling birds are declining at an alarming rate.


This blog is a small peak into Alixx’s world and how she views it.


When asked why she chose to learn more about the environment and penguins and what she learned, Alixx replied, “This project came about because I wanted to learn more about the environment and how what I do every day can change the environment for the future.

Alixx Tanner

I think the most interesting things I learned were that oil is more deadly than I thought it was and that there is way more garbage pollution than I thought.


Penguins are in the process of becoming extinct and they are very close to becoming extinct. This is mostly happening because of Global Warming. Global Warming is when lots of carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere and it increases the heat by one or two degrees. That may seem small, but in Antarctica it really makes a difference. Their entire home is melting due to humans.”


“Pollution is another big problem,”

said Alixx. “Oil coats the penguins and they can’t breathe or it causes ulcers and stomach bleeding. When oil coats the bird it can either make them have hypothermia or die of overheating. When garbage is in the penguins’ bodies it also causes ulcers and stomach bleeding.

People are too lazy to walk a few meters to a garbage can.

All over the world people just simply toss their trash on the ground or in the river, ocean or lake.


For those who want to learn how they can help, Alixx has some advice:

  • “Use less electricity by turning the lights off when you leave a room and turn off the lights in your whole house when you go out and nobody’s home
  • Walk to school (if you are close) instead of driving and burning carbon
  • Try and have more than one person driving with you at all times.”


Alixx has taken her own advice to heart:

“I ride my bike every day. The way I think about it is: every time I ride my bike I save a penguin; if everyone in the world were to ride their bike more than driving their cars all of the penguins would be saved.”


She recognizes it’s not an easy commitment, “It is very hard,” say Alixx, “I think that everyone who tries should be honored. And for me, like I said before, I think about it as every time I get on my bike instead of getting into my car it saves one penguin.

I know everyone has a car and it is way faster but you really can make a difference [by driving less].”


The border of hand-cut penguins on Alixx’s project shows that time and devotion have gone into the project – the environment and penguins have a great advocate on their side.


Lend a hand, or share a ride, to help reduce your own impact on their environment. This spring, why not help too by reducing your car trips by walking more, cycling to a destination, or trying not to drive alone as often. Visit: to learn more about how you can curb your travel habits to help the environment – and the penguins.

Alixx Tanner and Dot Laing


NextGen Speaks Out, our guest blogging series, is envisioned as a hub for information and discussion. NextGen is a non-political, non-denominational organization focused on giving all nextgeners a voice. NextGen does not represent the opinions expressed by the individual columnists.