Dylan D’Agate is a New York high school student and young author of the children’s environmental book, Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms. Dylan also runs Earth Blogger, a blog and video interview series where he writes about and discusses the most pressing environmental issues and explores positive actions kids (and adults) can take to combat climate change. Read our interview with Dylan below!
What drives you to protect the environment and promote environmental education?
Living on Long Island and next to a nature preserve, I have always felt deeply connected to water and the environment.
From picture books about aquatic life, to examining rocks, to visiting the Museum of Natural History in NYC, I developed a passion for science and the environment at an early age. Protecting and respecting our planet is of utmost importance to me.
Given that scientific concepts can often be complex, my goal is to teach others, especially young people, in a manner that is easily understandable and interesting.
Why did you decide to write your children’s environmental book Monster in the Water?
I wrote Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms after witnessing the damage caused by harmful algal blooms (HABs) in my local community and communities worldwide.
Given that many HABs result from human practices, my goal is to raise awareness about sustainable environmental practices and encourage young people to take action in their local communities and beyond.
Tell us about your successful environmental blog called Earth Blogger through the Sierra Club. What impact has this made?
I started the blog in September of 2020. I am very grateful to the Sierra Club for supporting my blog and interview series. My goal has been to present information in a way that is both easily understandable and appealing to readers and viewers, especially young people.
While it started as a blog, I decided to add the interview component as I felt it would be a great way to engage the audience and hopefully increase readership, viewership, and Sierra Club membership.
It is an honor to meet and speak with environmental experts from around the world. Presently, I have over 1,000 readers/viewers per post. I hope to continue to spread this very important message.
What have been the biggest challenges of advocacy work through Earth Blogger? What is most rewarding?
I would have to say that adding the interview component to Earth Blogger has probably been the biggest challenge thus far.
Interviewing some of the world’s leading environmental experts has been exciting and I feel very fortunate. This experience has been tremendously rewarding.
I enjoy meeting new people, especially those who can share their environmental expertise with others. While my goal has been to educate others, I too have learned a great deal from this experience.
Can you describe how you balance your time?
I am currently a senior in high school. Finding the right balance (i.e. school, extracurricular activities, and a social life) can be challenging, but important.
I really enjoy all of my commitments, so I rarely feel that anything is “work.” Tennis has been a great outlet for me, both as a fan and player.
What is your best advice to other students who want to launch an initiative like this?
Figure out what really matters to you and just go for it. Although it is hard work, the satisfaction in knowing you are helping to make a difference is worth every minute.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy playing tennis, Ping-Pong, pickleball, and spending time with my friends and family. The beach is my summertime happy place.
What does the future hold for you?
Through my book and blog, I hope to continue to educate people, especially younger generations, for years to come.
Learn more about Monster in the Water. Read more Rustic Spirit stories.