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'You don't have to wait' | Meteorologist Paul Douglas encourages kids to act on climate change in new book

Paul Douglas, who after decades of forecasts, is now looking to educate the next generation on what will be its greatest challenge: climate change.

MINNEAPOLIS — As day broke Tuesday, you might have felt like the day was, well, broke. 

We did, so Breaking the News anchor Jana Shortal dialed up long-time KARE 11 meteorologist Paul Douglas.

"Jana, we are supposed to earn our springs in Minnesota," Douglas said.

That's one way to say that we're in spring training.

"A year ago, it was 85 [degrees] and I'm just happy and proud to be living in a place where one year it can be 85, and the next year it can be 35. It makes life interesting, all the variety," Douglas said.

This spice-of-life mode of thinking comes from a man, who after decades of forecasts, is now looking to educate the next generation on what will be its greatest challenge: climate change.

To do that, Douglas wrote a book for young kids called, "A Kid's Guide to Saving the Planet: It's not Hopeless and We're Not Helpless."

"We are called to be stewards, and this is Stewardship 101," Douglas said. "I wanted to write a book for my grandson, for your child — for viewers who are watching for their kids and grandkids — that is hopeful, upbeat, life-affirming."

In words and illustration, Paul has penned a primer for kids ages 8 to 13 in a way they can understand — and act.

"This is about climate change, but its also about air pollution, water pollution, plastic pollution, and young people really leading the way into a cleaner, more sustainable future," he said.

But are kids too young to dive into something so big? Paul doesn't think so.

"They are already stepping up — inventing new things, new ways of looking at the world, recycling clothing...it's a long list, so I wanted kids to be hopeful and optimistic that they are gonna figure this out, things will get better," Douglas said. "There's a lot of climate anxiety out there, and my goal was to try to address that head on, and focus as much on solutions as the science itself."

Paul describes himself as a "naive optimist" at times, but not when it comes to the next greatest generation. He really believes they've got this.

"I just wanted to encourage our kids and our grandkids not to be afraid. Start young; you don't have to wait until you are an adult. Adults have done a pretty good job screwing things up," Douglas said, adding, "I think young people have a chance to make things better — clean sheet of paper. Is there a smarter way to move forward?"

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