The world's youngest philanthropic author?

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The world's youngest philanthropic author?
After learning about the dangers that wild animals face today, Kate Gilman Williams was determined to raise awareness among young people.

Cheetahs that chirp like birds. Giant bull elephants. Majestic white rhinos. Kate Gilman Williams was just seven years old when her parents took her on safari in South Africa – and she was utterly enchanted by what she saw.

"I had always had a natural love for animals," Williams tells the BBC. Then not long into her trip, she discovered an unsettling reality – the menagerie of iconic savannah creatures that we are all so familiar with from early childhood, in story books and nursery songs, is under threat.

"I had a game driver named Michelle, and she taught me everything I know about animals. But she also told me that humans are killing animals and I wanted to do something to help," says Williams, who is now 11 years old. "It was incredible seeing animals in their natural habitats. But you can be watching elephants and learning that every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its tusks."

When she returned to her home in Austin, Texas, Williams did not forget about the ecological tragedy that's currently unfolding. She decided to write a book with her wildlife guide Michelle Campbell – Let's Go On Safari – in which she describes her experiences on that memorable holiday and intersperses them with facts about the man-made dangers facing the animals she met.

The book is entirely not-for-profit, with 100% of proceeds going to her conservation partners: the Jane Goodall Institute, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Re:Wild. As a result, Williams is thought to be the youngest philanthropic author in world history – and so far, she has raised over $15,000 (£10,976) by selling copies.

"It feels so great being a young conservationist because I know you don't have to wait until you're an adult to make a difference. You can make a difference right now," says Williams.

Bright Sparks: Sustainability

This article is part of BBC Future's Bright Sparks: Sustainability series, which sets out to find the young minds who are finding new and innovative ways of tackling environmental problems. They are the next generation of engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs who are taking control of their own future by seeking solutions to climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and over-consumption.


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