Max Horne is living proof that you’re never too young to make a difference. In May the 13-year-old environmentalist asked his friends and family to make donations to the Rainforest Alliance in lieu of gifts for his bar mitzvah, raising $8,383 for the organization. We spoke with Max about a few of his favorite things, including rainforests.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I really, really like gardening. My friends and I created a garden at our school in the Bronx, Riverdale Country School. I also take Chinese at school, and I love learning about China and Chinese culture. I was also in the school musical Oliver. And I was in Model UN, and I go to Hebrew School. But my main passion is gardening.
Do you get to spend much time in nature, living in Manhattan?
I do, actually, because my school is on a very large campus near Van Cortland Park. I spend a lot of time outside every day around trees and grass. I’ve also spent some time with other Riverdale students helping to clean up a really run-down local park, Endor Community Garden.
Why is conservation important to you?
It’s kind of the basis for all other issues that deal more directly with people, for example, hunger, clean drinking water and disease. There won’t be any food (or people) if we don’t conserve the Earth, which gives us food and natural resources. Fixing environmental issues would help to solve a lot of other problems.
Any favorite wildlife or other things in nature?
I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated by trees. They’re beautiful.
Why did you ask your guests to donate to a nonprofit in lieu of gifts?
My dad’s friend at the Natural Resources Defense Council recommended 10 environmental organizations to me. I researched them all, and the Rainforest Alliance stood out to me because of its work in rainforests.
What appeals to you about the rainforest?
I like rainforests because they are so rich with fertile soil and seem endless, though I know they’re not. There is so much forest that gives off so much oxygen and houses so much biodiversity.
What kind of work do you hope to support with your donation?
Conserving the rainforest itself. Of course I think helping people is very important, but this gift was mainly to help the rainforest and make farming and agricultural practices more sustainable.
Inspired by Max’s contribution? Visit our website to learn how you can make a difference, too.