photo: Benno Kraehahn via National Geographic

Felix Finkbeiner was just nine years old when he discovered his life’s calling: saving the planet. Thanks to a fourth grade assignment on climate change, Felix challenged himself to plant one million trees in his home country of Germany. He rocked that goal by age 13, and now at 19 he’s on track to plant a trillion.

According to National Geographic, Felix planted his first tree just outside of his school two months after his class report on trees, which laid out the one million tree challenge. His story spread rapidly and soon he found himself speaking to the European Parliament and attending conferences across the globe. Not only did he plant that one-millionth tree by age 13 in 2011, but he did it by enlisting other kids like himself and launching Plant-for-the-Planet, an environmental group made up of child activists.

Today the organization has planted more than 14 billion trees in over 130 nations. It has also inspired over 55,000 kids to follow in Felix’s footsteps through its climate justice ambassador program, which provides workshops that help kids become climate activists in their local communities. All of that from one fourth grade assignment. Maybe homework is more beneficial than we thought!

What do you think of Felix’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments.