Entertainment

Celeb influencers including Yara Shahidi help support UN environmental goals

Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi is among young celebrity influencers who want young people to know that little by little, it's possible to make a difference in the world.

Grown-ish star is part of movement called Little x Little encouraging Generation Z to make a difference

Yara Shahidi is among influencers joining the Little x Little project, designed to support the United Nations' sustainable development goals. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/The Associated Press)

Actress Yara Shahidi wants young people to know that little by little, it's possible to make a difference in the world.

The star of Grown-ish is one of a group of influencers across the globe taking part in a movement called Little x Little.

There are more than two billion people worldwide born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s making up Generation Z. Little x Little's goal is to inspire as many of those Gen Z'ers as they can to do two billion tiny acts of good by 2030 in support of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (a list of 17 ways to make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.)

Little by little

Participants are encouraged to post their own efforts to do good on social media — using the tag #LittlexLittle — and share ideas, which range from reducing meat consumption to ditching the car and biking instead. In the two weeks since a Little x Little anthem video launched on YouTube explaining the project, it's been viewed more than 15 million times.

Shahidi, 18, says to look no further than this week's student walkout to protest gun violence and the upcoming March for Our Lives rallies as an example that young people are socially engaged and want to make the world better.

She also says there's a benefit to the abundance of time spent on their phones.

"Because of our interconnectivity, we see people that aren't directly in front of us and understand there's something greater to contribute to," she said.

'Every single person has a voice'

Her own personal examples of doing good include contributing money and time to causes within a close radius of her own home.

Another influencer taking part is disabled model Jillian Mercado. She posted a video online to remind others that small acts to slow down climate change can add up to a big difference.

"Everybody wants to feel like a superhero in their own way," Mercado said. "With social media we can literally connect with the whole world, have conversations and see that every single person has a voice."