News From Planet Three

A one-of-a-kind environmental magazine is helping children channel their fears about the environment into constructive activities in their homes, schools and communities.

P3 Magazine, which stands for planet No. three or Earth, was first published several years ago and has grown steadily in circulation size since then, said Publisher Randi Hacker. More than 20,000 children, parents and teachers now receive the publication.

“We were alarmed about what was happening to the environment and noticed there wasn’t an environmental publication for children,” Hacker said about her effort to start P3 with her partner, Jackie Kaufman. “Kids need a consistent source of information to tell them what is wrong with the environment and empower them to do something about it.”

Recent surveys have shown that environmental problems rank near the top of lists of children’s biggest fears, Hacker said. By prompting them to take action, she said the magazine helps children control that fear.

The 32-page magazine, aimed at a 4- to 13-year-old age group, is printed on recycled paper periodically when funds permit. Seven issues have been printed so far, but Hacker said her goal is to publish on a regular basis as soon as possible.

P3 is filled with stories about the environment, along with colorful graphics, puzzles and comics. One section, called Earth Patrol, honors children’s activities to help the environment, and letters to editor are printed in each issue as they were received, complete with the children’s accompanying artwork.

Response to the magazine from both children and adults has been “better than we ever dreamed of,” Hacker said. More than 4,000 letters of appreciation have been received since P3’s inception. A four-year-old in Florida reportedly sleeps with the magazine like a Teddy Bear or favorite blanket, Hacker added.

“Children are committed to making the future a cleaner and greener place,” she explained. “They just want to save everything. And everything is black and white — either it’s good for the environment or it’s not.”

Every article in the magazine concludes with an action children can take. In a story about snow leopards, P3 asked readers to write the director of the Wildlife Institute of India. Later, the director, inundated with the children’s letters, wrote to Hacker explaining he was doing all he could to save the leopards.

Another issue covered the affects of last year’s Gulf War on the animals and environment of the Persian Gulf, Hacker said. Letters from children voicing their concerns about the situation prompted the coverage.

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