Youth Leaders Restore our Earth
April 22, 2020 marked the Golden Anniversary of Earth Day and Earth Day Network. Earth Day Network believes in the role of youth, and that the environment knows no boundaries. With this thought, Earth Day Network launched an initiative #MyFutureMyVoice that featured voices of 50 youths from around 16 countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. This initiative is significant as the youth population in the region is high – around 1.1 billion youth aged between 10 to 24 years in the region.
All the youth featured are united by their common aim – to work for the good of the environment. Through their video messages, each youth spoke of what they have done, the problems that need to be addressed by governments and by society. Each of them also took the #EarthDay pledge to do an #ActofGreen for Earth.
There are youth who described their personal efforts and many others speak about the groups they founded or those they volunteer with. Some as young as 8-year-old work to protect biodiversity, increase the green cover, help manage waste, aim for zero waste, save our precious natural resources and educate those less fortunate….
While some take traditional approaches to mitigate climate change, others adopt different avenues such as art, crafts, folk tradition and culture. A well-known fashion designer in India works with only natural fibres. In the Maldives, artists help revive traditional crafts to replace plastic items. In Cambodia, folk tradition of storytelling helps disseminate green messages. A well-known actress in Sri Lanka shares the knowledge about environmental affairs with all her followers. An author from India has written a best-seller book on air pollution. A journalist from Bhutan who regularly writes on the environment.
Some youth have developed effective strategies that utilize social media to widen awareness about climate change. Youth that study existing laws and examine if there is a need to formulate new legislation for climate change are another category. Our voice from Bangladesh provides inexpensive lighting – Bottle Lights that captures the rays of the sun. A doctor from Pakistan reaches out to people with scientific knowledge.
And there are many such inspiring stories of environmental action by these young leaders in the South & South-East Asia region…. It is remarkable how much they have achieved at such young ages. They are the future, which is why their voices matter the most.
MEET THE YOUTH LEADERS
Name: Aadya Joshi
About her: Founder, The Right Green
Aadya was recently selected for the EE 30 under 30 award by NAEEE (North American Association for Environmental Education). She is also a recipient of the Children’s Climate Prize. Her passion is to restore native biodiversity and natural ecosystems in urban environments. Toward this end, in 2018, she founded “The Right Green” (www.therightgreen.org), an organization with a mission to widen awareness about the vital ecological links between native plants, insects, and birds: all essential to maintain healthy ecosystems. To enable this, she has put together the first register of native plants for city spaces. Aadya not only conducts workshops for school children, adults, corporates, but also works with large municipal corporations to direct their greening of the city programs to plant only native species. Toward this end, she also launched a new initiative “Vocal for Trees” with support from India’s largest regional language media house, Lokmat. The media chain helps convey her message to plant native trees to their vast database of 700 schools that have around 100,000 students.
Name: Aditya Dubey
About him: Aditya is much in the news with his success in getting legal recourse against negative actions for the environment. His petition before India’s Green Tribunal against eCommerce platforms using plastic for packaging resulted in the court ordering the Central Pollution Control Board to review and report on the matter. Success is evident with Amazon shifting to plastic- free packaging and PVR and Burger King also announcing they would disallow single-use plastics in their facilities. Two other giants in the field – Flipkart and Patanjali were also issued the show-cause notice for flouting plastic waste management rules. Seeing the Air Quality Indexes in India’s capital way beyond permissible limits, Aditya filed a Public Interest Litigation before the Supreme Court of India. This has resulted in the government promulgating new legislation to deal with the issue and the announcement of the setting up of commission to monitor and eliminate major causes of the air pollution. Aditya strongly advocates for environmental education to be made mandatory in schools. Through the NGO he has set up named “Plant a Million Trees,” Aditya distributed 1,50,000 seed orbs to help fight air pollution.
Name: Aditya Mukarji
About him: Aditya Mukarji leads wide campaigns that work to stop the use of single-use plastics, in particular drinking straws. Instead, he provides information on eco-friendly alternatives. To date, his efforts have led to over 150 restaurants and cafes in India’s capital city replacing 26 million plastic straws with sustainable alternatives like paper
straws/bamboo straws etc. Aditya regularly organizes and takes part in climate strikes and awareness drives. He was invited to be a part of the UN Youth Climate Action Summit in 2019. Several leading national and international media such as the NDTV that has a viewership of 15,000,000 and the BBC have featured him as an emerging young climate activist. Recently, he was chosen by UNICEF to a dialogue with famous actress Priyanka Chopra on the role of youth and his journey to help end plastic pollution.
Name: Afa Hussain
About her: Founder, BeLeaf, Maldives
Concerned by the negative impacts of development and urbanization, Afa Hussain founded a youth led environmental movement called BeLeaf, Maldives. With leadership from Afa, the members engage in several projects that encourage community cleanups, ocean cleanups, tree plantation programs and awareness sessions (for school kids, island councillors among several others). Thanks to the inspirational role she plays, hundreds of youth in her island country have come forward to volunteer, and speak up for the environment. Afa uses her voice in various international and national platforms to raise awareness about climate change, conservation and unsustainable development and has made sure that her voice reaches up to the policy level. She has been featured by UNICEF, and by the well-known Maldives magazine DW Women, to name a few.
Name: Aibek Samakov
About Him: Aibek Samakov contributes to enhancing the scholarship and environmental studies in Central Asia, with major focus on Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. His areas of interest include the role of indigenous people and communities in conservation effort, traditional ecological knowledge and practices, as well as indigenous climate change adaptation strategies. Aibek contributed to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which can be found at https://ipbes.net/global-assessment.
Aibek also serves as a consultant to the Ysyk-Kol Biosphere Reserve in Kyrgyzstan and support its administration with advice on incorporation of biocultural approaches to conservation and promoting approaches of co-management of protected areas. Aibek is the member of the ICCA Consortium (https://iccaconsortium.org), of which the GEF/UNDP Small Grants Programme is part of.
Name: Aman Sharma
About him: Climate Activist and Founding Member, Re-Earth initiative
The World Economic Forum featured climate activist Aman Sharma’s petition that called upon India to declare a National Climate Emergency. The signatories to this are over 373, 768. His other demands to the environment ministry include increasing the country’s green cover and the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution made at the Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015. Aman was invited to speak at the Climate and Peace Summit “Oslo Pax”. An avid bird watcher, nature enthusiast and wildlife
photographer, Aman is the co-founder of a bird watchers club for children named “Cuckoo About Nature”. This aims to widen environmental awareness among the younger generation through a unique concept – kids leading bird walks for other kids. On Earth Day 2020, along with other climate activists around the world, he led a digital campaign called Re-Earth initiative that led to thousands of people from 40 countries taking part in digital climate protests. They asked each person to make 2 climate pledges for Earth Day – 1 individual and 1 systemic. Since then, it has grown into a full-fledged initiative that is aimed to make climate movement accessible to all. One of the leading online news portals in India, India Times recently announced Aman as the Face of a Hero, 2020.
Name: Bindu Bhandari
About her: Program Associate, Climate Interactive
Bindu has received several awards and recognitions for her campaigns for sustainable communities and for youth empowerment. These include: The Inspiring UN Volunteers Award, Collegiate Ambassador for Peace, Young Achiever by Nepal TV and
Eco-generation’s Best Regional Ambassador, to name a few. She was recently listed as 1 of 25 female climate leaders shaping 2019 by the Ecologist. As an Asia Regional Officer of CliMates and also a World Climate Ambassador of Climate Interactive she has facilitated many World Climate Simulations in Nepal, India, France, and Morocco. Bindu works with the Climate and Energy team at the Climate Interactive, contributing to international diffusion of the interactive tools developed by her organization. Motivated by the philosophy that “youth are the present”, she leads by example and has coordinated several grassroots campaigns in Nepal and beyond.
Name: Clarence Gio S Almoite
About him: Founder, Youth for Earth Society
Clarence leads the organisation “Youth for Earth Society” also known as YES. This is a youth-led, non-profit, and socio-civic organization that paves the way for the youth to experience socio-civic involvement through a series of advocacy-based projects and initiatives. YES is an environmental wing of the Youth Advocates for the Philippines an NGO that inspires youth to advocate and formulate action-based solutions through meaningful outreach projects. Clarence strongly advocates for environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem restoration. Recently, he became one of the 14 youth representatives (Youth Task Force) for the World Environment Day organised by the UNEP-Major Group for Children and Youth. He is studying forestry.
Name: Chinzorig Belgutei
About him: Environmentalist
Belgutei Chinzorig is studying for a degree in Environmental Sciences at the National University of Mongolia. Established in 1942, it is the oldest institution of higher learning
in Mongolia. An ardent environmentalist, Belgutei regularly conducts field researches on soil, river and lakes under the supervision of his University Professor. He has also taken part in several researches that were conducted with the foreign research teams. For instance: he has worked in collaboration with Chinese research team that consisted of new bachelor graduates and with Japanese researcher Professor Tanaka Yukiya from Kyung Hee University where they undertook researches every summer. Belgutei was also a trainee in environmental department of Boroo Gold LLC Mining for about a month and has worked on rehabilitation and monitoring of mining sites.
Name: Dircia Sarmento Belo
Dircia Sarmento Belo is citizen of Timor-Leste, an island nation that is highly vulnerable to natural hazards. Dircia has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management and Planning. who has worked in past with UNDP Timor-Leste as an Environmental and Solid Waste Management consultant under recycling and youth actions projects. She has provided technical and advisory supports in the area of awareness and behavior change activities. She also supports youths in areas of leadership, innovation, youth voices, and opportunities at one of the youth hubs in Dili. Besides, she is the Co-Founder and
vice-coordinator of a Timorese Youths Initiative For Development (TYIFD) youth group, where members volunteer to provide mentoring, lead environmental awareness activities, leadership development program. As a young leader, her aim is to work together with fellow youths to promote awareness-raising campaigns and behavioral change to increase sustainable practices across the country.
Name: Dmitry Pak
About him: National Director at Human Nature Projects (Kazakhstan branch)
Dmitriy joined the International environmental and conservational NGO – Human Nature Projects that unites over 1500 volunteers from more than 160 countries to reimagine conservation through community and collaboration. Dmitriy works with them as their National Director and is the first representative of Kazakhstan in the movement. In the year 2018, he was named as the Leader of Youth for his active position in the youth advocacy movement in Kazakhstan. Dmitriy is involved with several international organizations with a focus on public policy implementation, conservation and environmental movement promotion, educational initiatives, and world cultural exchange. With Human Nature Projects, he formed the national branch and recruited youth to participate in the organization. Some of the work undertaken by group in the country includes: creation of educational materials which are shared with schools and environmental clubs, regular cleanups in the countryside, environmental training for schoolchildren and wiring a partner blog for social-educational project, among several others.
Name: Ehab Al Amleh
About him: Project Coordinator, Green Generation Foundation
Ehab is a dynamic professional recognized for the excellent research he conducts on regional issues that relate to the environment and to renewable energy. His in-depth knowledge about the management of natural wealth (in particular, water), documentation of climate change effects the MENA region faces, and tried-and tested strategies to meet the environmental challenges, provide him a head start for his research. As the Project Coordinator for the Green Generation Foundation, he has coordinated, managed and implemented the Young Climate Leaders Project. This had over 400 participants who represented Jordan’s 13 governorates. The initiative was conducted in collaboration with UNICEF. Ehab has received several regional and international awards for his work. These include The Global Summit Hackathon, Best of Thriving Cities Stream 2018, Total Renewable Energy Innovation Exhibition 2017, Final Debates Tournament of the Climate Change Youth on COP 23. Ehab is a noted speaker on speaker environmental issues, both at national and international platforms. His presentations include those on “Sustainable Finance and the Green Economy: Tackling Climate Change and Resource Shortage in the MENA Region”, “Opportunities and Risks of Digitalization for Climate Change Mitigation/Adaptation and Resource Security in the Middle East and North Africa.” Ehab has co-authored the “Energy in Jordan: A Youth Perspective Position Paper”.
Name: Elliese Judge
About her: Co-Founder of Fundación Arvita
Elliese co-founded Fundación Arvita, dedicated to improving livelihoods in rural communities through environmental education, community capacity-building, technical support in areas related to forestry. As of 2019, she helps coordinate Panama’s national program of Independent Forestry Monitoring. This has citizens verify timber permits in natural forests to combat illegal logging. Over the years, her organization Fundación Arvita continues their work on small-scale reforestations of fruit and native species. They conduct this in 5 provinces of Panama. The organization is the first to offer environmental field volunteer opportunities in Panamá. They are proud to say that they have over 1000 volunteers who help analyse socio-environmental issues, regrow the forests, collect seeds, etc. The volunteers have also helped construct greenhouse for community use. Fundación Arvita document their work meticulously for wider dissemination so that others too can benefit. Understanding the benefits of inspiring students to be stewards for the environment, Arvita works with 14 rural public schools where she leads her team to hold 3-month long environmental education pilot projects. Elliese works to raise awareness in the public as well about how valuable forests are and how each citizen of Panama needs to help protect this ecosystem. She is the author of several writings on the subject. These include: ‘’Reforestation in 7 Basic Steps”, the “Independent Forestry Monitoring Manual (Manual de Veeduría Forestal) and a handbook for volunteers. Elliese is presently finishing a workbook on environmental education in public schools.
Name: Farhad Wajdi
Farhad’s organization is unique in Afghanistan. With an initial funding from UNDP’s small Grants Program, EIEAO promotes renewable energy in the country with a social business model that also aims to raise awareness about climate change related issues. Farhad and his team have introduced the concept of solar powered food carts to inspire people to take action towards climate change mitigation by replacing fossil fuel combustion with renewable energy sources. These solar carts eliminate emissions of 805 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide per day and help educate people about the benefits of renewable energy to meet their energy demands. Just as importantly, it demonstrates the value of including women in socio-economic activities and the value of their efforts towards mitigating climate change in Afghanistan. 70 women from underprivileged communities in Kabul benefit from the employment opportunities the solar carts provide. Farhad and his team train the women to run their food business in 35 solar food carts developed by the project. Each earns around $11 per day through the initiative. In COVID 19 times, they have adapted the project to the changing realities of the pandemic by converting the solar food carts into mobile disinfectant carts, now used to distribute soap, masks, sanitizer and water to local communities. The Afghanistan Government supports this initiative. The project has created a lot of media hype as an example of resilience and COVID 19 adaptation. These include BBC, Al Jazeera, and the Guardian. It also received the Waislitz Global Citizens’ Choice Award.
Name: Hedy Chen
About her: Co-Founder of Edgier Tableware
Hedy Chen is very aware of the negative effects of plastic as she studied medicine at the China Medical University in Taiwan. She is the co-founder of Edgier Tableware, an enterprise that aims at solving the tons of waste plastic generated by the popular online food delivery systems. To reduce this, she and her team are working on reusable alternatives (as against the single use ones) that food providers can switch to. Her organization has drawn in youth from diverse backgrounds: businessmen, technologists, medical practitioners, among others. The organization is also working with the government for the 2020 Global Youth Action Plan. This is an initiative to promote
start-ups. In the first phase, they have connected with vendors in three cities in Taiwan. With a focus to encourage youth to take up “green” food habits, Hedy and her team conduct sessions at university food courts. Hedy was a delegate at the 70th WHA Taiwan Healthcare Youth Summit and the 2017 Asia Medical Student Conference in Taiwan.
Name: Heeta Lakhani
About her: Global Focal Point, YOUNGO (Children and Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
Heeta Lakhani is presently one of two focal points for YOUNGO, the vibrant, global network of youth activists, who contribute to shaping the intergovernmental climate change policies. Heeta is a firm believer in the power of the young people in grassroots as well as international processes and policies. She has attended multiple United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate change negotiations since COP21, Paris in 2015. She is a Global Mentor with the POP (Protect Our Planet) Movement, Inc. a youth movement aimed to address the issues of climate change faced by our planet using knowledge-based solutions. In 2017, Heeta started her own program in Mumbai, India called Green Warriors. She educates school students on climate change and aims to bridge the knowledge gap on climate science as well as international processes among the children in Mumbai, who are at the forefront of facing the impacts of climate change in the coming years. Earlier initiatives she has been engaged with include: Executive Director (India) for the 11th World Wilderness Congress that aimed to straddle the overarching issues related to biodiversity conservation, economics and climate change.
Name: Jose Manuel Rodriguez
About him: Agroforestry Engineer and Co-Founder, Jóvenes frente al cambio climático de Panamá (Youth of Panamá face climate change)
Jose is an agroforestry engineer. He aims to preserve the forests of his country. In 2018, along with a group of professionals and students from across the country, he established Jóvenes frente al cambio climático de Panamá (Youth of Panamá face climate change).
This foundation works to widen awareness among Panamanians about the need for a multidisciplinary approach to mitigate climate change. Members regularly document the composition of tree species in cattle farms located in the Chucunaque river basin. Their goal is to interconnect the existing forest fragments on farms through silvopastoral – the practice of integrating trees, forage, and the grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. Other notable projects he works with include mapping community forest reserves in partnership with the well-known organization Fundación Almanaque Azul, community-directed environmental projects with support from UNDP. With the Ancón Foundation he is developing a sustainable livestock project in the Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve.
Name: Kanika Prajapat
About her: Co-Founder of Kriya Labs
Kanika is a technology graduate from India’s premier institute the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. Along with two other batchmates, she co-founded Kriya Labs. Kriya Labs’ vision is to create impact and usability of products made from agro-waste (a valuable resource otherwise going to waste), and to solve the problem of environmental degradation with decentralised models. As an example, the viable solution they developed to address the menace of the common practice of burning straw post-harvest. This is something that has a huge negative impact on air quality of not just the direct spot but wider as well as winds carry the residue further afield. The technology
developed by Kriya Labs converts agricultural residue into products farmers can sell to supplement their incomes. The straw is pulped and moulded into biodegradable tableware and packaging material – much needed alternatives to plastic. The
easy-to-setup production units now dot many villages with benefits that are so valuable to people and the planet.
Name: Kaylee Giramur
About her: Marine Lakes Research Assistant, Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) Kaylee Giramur is with the Coral Reef Research Foundation in Palau, the island country located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Kaylee is a marine lakes research assistant with the organization who is engaged to monitor the jellyfish population in Jellyfish Lake. This daily engagement with nature as she measures the water quality of the lake and analyses water samples adds to Kaylee’s inherent love for nature. In addition, Kalylee conducts nature exploration drives and workshops to help students get better educated about nature. Along with her colleagues at CRRF, she helps students aged 11- 25 explore and experience the Jellyfish Lake so that they appreciate their natural heritage and develop a sense of ownership to Palau’s environment and culture. She is so pleased with the results evidenced. The formal lessons, tours that are both science and heritage-based have not only educated the students but also invoked a sense of responsibility among the young Palauans. Kaylee graduated from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she studied environmental science.
Name: Kyaw Zin Myo
About him: Environmental Activist and Member of Trash Hero
Kyaw is with Trash Hero, an organization that extends to 17 countries around the world. He heads their chapter in Mandalay, Myanmar. At the nation-wide “Beat Plastic Pollution” event in 2019, the Honorable President of Myanmar described their work as “fantastic,” highlighting the need for such young, active heroes committed to fighting the imminent threat plastic pollution poses to the environment. Kyaw organizes cleanup events and awareness-raising talks about plastic pollution for students from schools and universities. A committed environmentalist, his team and he help bring communities together to clean and reduce waste. They lead by example and pick up every bit of trash sighted, inspiring others to follow their example and also understand the consequences of being careless about waste. The multilingual kids’ program he works with connect the young with the impact that trash has on local and global environment. They learn experientially, backed up with information and workshops provided by Trash Hero. He also helps spread messages for public awareness by writing articles in newspapers and magazines about plastic pollution and creating videos on social media. His efforts to reduce plastic pollution in Myanmar have to date attracted over 1,000 volunteers and 150 kids who have collected 6,650 kilograms of trash over 28 cleanups, with more and more people showing interest in each subsequent cleanup.
Name: Nawid Soofizada
About Him: Senior Climate Change Mitigation Projects Specialist, National Environmental Protection Agency Afghanistan
Nawid Soofizada is a senior climate change mitigation projects specialist at Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency. His work is an excellent example of youth helping shape Afghanistan’s first environmental policy. This is much needed in a country that has faced over 40 decades of conflict and violence, drought and earthquakes, affects of which have devastated the country’s natural environment, once pristine and rich in biological diversity. Nawid is recognized as a skilled and highly motivated Youth Climate Leader, and Global Shaper whose expertise is called upon to train officials, and members of NGOs alike for them to have a better understanding of ways to mitigate the existing climate crisis. Nawid is also a board member of Environment Watch Afghanistan. The organization is recognized as one of very first community-based organisations that work for the environment, in particular climate change issues. Through it, Nawid plays an important role. He helps to lead initiatives in Afghanistan that help increase environmental awareness among the people. His is a powerful voice that advocates for policies that are environment-friendly. Nawid also helps monitor existing environmental markers. He continues his efforts to achieve these goals, building on previous achievements of implementing the National Climate Change Dialogues in Afghanistan over the past 3 years, conducting over a dozen Eco-Talk events, cycling event to focus on cleaner transport to beat air pollution and several tree planning initiatives in a land laid barren by years of war. Nawid’s leadership and organizational qualities have helped put together several significant youth empowerment events such as TEDx.
Name: Neel Tamhane
About him: Solar Project Lead, SPACE10
Nick leads the solar project at SPACE 10, an IKEA-backed independent research and design lab in Delhi, India. At a young age Neel has made it to this top position, a responsibility that comes thanks to a proven track record: Neel is well known for leading research explorations and identifying opportunities on ways solar energy can be an enabler for communities with limited means to improve their everyday life at home.
Neel is also part of Global Energy Nutrition Initiative (GENI), a group founded by students of social entrepreneurship of the Copenhagen Business School. GENI aims to serve the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world by bringing renewable energy to them at the lowest price and by promoting healthy, nutritious meals for all. Neel’s work attracts international coverage as well. Earlier this year TIME for Kids featured him. He is also part of the 2020 much-viewed documentary “2040” that stars Australian actor Damon Gameau. His articles have featured in the World Economic Forum’s magazine.
Neel’s amazing work serves as the torchlight that inspires hundreds of youths across the globe to develop initiatives that help contain earth’s temperature rise to below 1.5 Degrees Celsius – the point of runaway climate change that will cause disastrous consequences for humans and for natural systems.
Name: Neten Dorji
About him: Leader, Earth Guardians of Bhutan- College of Natural Resources
Neten Dorji leads “Earth Guardians of Bhutan” at the College of Natural Resources in Bhutan. Earth Guardians Bhutan is a chapter of Earth Guardians an international
non-profit organization committed to protecting Earth, Water, Air and Atmosphere The organization Neten leads in Bhutan has over a hundred members. Neten says the club inspires and trains youth to be effective leaders for environmental, climate and social justice movements. Using art, music, civic engagement, and legal action as powerful modes of communication, they create impactful solutions to some local environment issues in Bhutan. With Neten’s leadership, several activities are organized on a regular basis. These include cleanup campaigns in academic institutions with students, and those with the active participation of local communities such as that of the Metsina stream, the environmental health of which is of paramount importance to innumerable aquatic lives in it, on its banks and downstream as well where growers use the same stream to feed their paddy fields. They put different art genres to use to sensitize locals about the need to do their bit for a greener, cleaner, and less polluted planet.
Name: Nguyen Ba Khang Hung
About him: Nguyen Ba Khang Hung is a youth leader much concerned about the environment. His efforts focus on the reduction and better management of electronic waste. This is of primary importance in his country Vietnam, where the electronics industry is one of the fastest-growing of all industries. Nguyen is aware of the great fascination youth in Vietnam have for electronic items such as phones and computers. It saddens him to see his peer discard unwanted ones randomly leading to a growth in eWaste. And, knowing that eWaste can cause harmful environmental pollution with the release of toxic substances into soil and water of products not properly disposed off, he has designed and led campaigns for youth that make them sit up and take action to both reduce their demand for electronic items, and ensure that items get discarded only in eWaste management facilities. His ability to lead and his natural talent as an inspiring speaker led to his selection as an Electronic Waste Ambassador at his school. Nguyen is much in demand as a speaker and has addressed significant platforms such as at the Vietnam Youth Summit on Sustainable Development. UNICEF also awarded him for his paper on “Finding a National Solution” for improving the environment and funded him to run a project to achieve this. He is also the recipient of awards for the innovative strategies he employs to get his message across to youth such as through creative web designs.
Name: Dr. Hifza Khan
Age: 25 years
About her: Founder and Chairperson, Saya Khudaya Zuljalal (SKZ) organization and CEO, Hifza Khan Enterprise
A doctor by profession, at a young age, Hifza is a well-known leader, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and social activist in Pakistan. She strongly believes that all those who
inhabit Earth need to understand the urgent need to adopt environment-friendly lifestyles. With an emphasis on all, she has set up the NGO Saya-e-Khudaya-e-Zuljalal (SKZ), an organization that works for those less privileged. The first venture SKZ undertook was to develop schools for children of nomadic communities, many of whom rarely have the privilege of a formal education. The knowledge shared in these schools ensures has a strong lean towards environmental issues. In addition, students have opportunities to develop environmental literacy and encouragement towards stewardship. The success of these had Hifza lead action for widening similar education and skill training to children living in slum areas. All students admitted receive free education, making it attractive for hundreds to join. Her other initiative Hifza Khan Enterprise provides coaching for expertise in several technical fields. This enables youth to upgrade their abilities to earn from ventures that support a green economy. This organization also encourages those trained to undertake community services and put their learning to good use for a greener planet. Dr Hifza is the recipient of several awards. These include the 25 under 25 award that recognizes young women who give back to society with their exceptional work.
Name: Manusha D. Navarathna
Country: Sri Lanka
Age: 24 years
About her: Director of Hope of the Nation (NGO)
Manusha is a resident of Sri Lanka, the island country in the Indian Ocean. Although geographically small, the country’s varied climate and topographical conditions have given rise to rich species diversity, believed to be the highest in Asia in terms of unit land area. It is no wonder that Sri Lanka is called the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.’’ From childhood, Manusha has a bent toward community service. Today, this has translated into being an environmental activist who works in Sir Lanka to reverse present conditions of deforestation, degradation of mangroves, death of a majority of the coral reefs, as also over fishing and insufficient waste management. As Director of “Hope of the Nation”, a non-governmental organization that focuses on community development services, she works shoulder-to-shoulder with several volunteers for a greener world.
Added to their on-the-ground efforts that include cleanups of the Negombo beach and tree plantations, for example, is their persistent outreach to students in schools and colleges to inspire in them reverence for the natural world. Her efforts have drawn in many significant personalities, the famous Sri Lankan actress Michelle Dilhara included, to lend support for campaigns “Hope of the Nation” organizes to reduce environmental degradation and bring back Sri Lanka’s incredible natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity.
Name: Maricres Valdez Castro
Age: 25 years
About her: Founder, Mothers for Earth
If we look for a true ambassador for the environment, one whose strong beliefs and knowledge (she is a student of biology) about the environment has ready huge platforms from where to expound her appeal to the world to do something for our planet before we reach that tipping point, we have one in Maricres, our youth ambassador in the
Philippines. This well-known beauty queen puts her huge social media following and the many prestigious media platforms she is called to be on, to inspire a call to action for the environment to the thousands that hear her speak. At many beauty pageant platforms (her latest as Philippines representative for Ms Universe 2020), her green messages come through loud and clear with statements such as “My environmental advocacy is a focus on sustainability and sustainable business practices.” Inspired by her time spent working with village women in East Africa, she started a movement in the Philippines called “Mothers for Earth”. This networks with women of different ethnicities works to inspire them to turn their villages eco-friendly. Maricres says: “I want to empower our people with the skills and inspire their hearts to find innovative and sustainable ways to practice business like creating bio-charcoal from leftover coconut husks, composting techniques, sustainable agriculture techniques and aquaponics. These practical and sustainable skills are methods. A great believer in the power of environmental education, she says: “I want to teach to inspire the next generation of Philippine’s green leaders in protecting our Mother Earth in a way where both God’s creations are protected and the needs of God’s people met.”
Name: Michelle Dilhara
Country: Sri Lanka
Age: 24 years
About her: Actor, Environmentalist, Philanthropist and Author
Michelle is a famous Sri Lankan actress, an author, philanthropist and environmental activist. Inspired at a young age by the Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” she always takes out time from her busy film shoots, her writing assignments and the demands on her time by people who want her at their events, to work for the environment. Michelle leads continuously leads campaigns to draw attention to the ongoing climate crisis and others that help mitigate the ravages of climate change. These include drawing her huge fan following in to follow her example as she whole-heartedly takes part in beach cleanups and in planting trees. Just as important are the awareness programs she conducts at Rajarata University and several schools in Sri Lanka. Michelle founded “The Invisible to Visible Movement”, to bring in those who remain shrouded in invisibility because of caste, ethnic, and status biases to also be a part of movements for earth. Michelle has continued her work as an avid activist while also maintaining her career passion as an actress. In the year 2020, she was nominated as the Best Upcoming Actress and also for the Raigam Tele’es Most Popular Actress Award of the year 2019.
She has also won the Asia Inspiration Award at the South Asian Youth Summit held in Colombo in the year 2018 for her contribution towards social invisibility. In 2019, she received the National Youth Icon Award 2019 at the World Youth Summit held in New Delhi, India.
Name: Mitzi Jonelle Tan
Country: The Philippines
Age: 22 years
About her: Co-Founder, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP).
Mitzi Jonelle Tan is the co-founder of “Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines” (YACAP). This alliance of individuals, youth organizations, and student councils actively as a youth focus. YACAP works to convince youth of the urgent need to immediately
combine efforts towards global actions to stymie climate change, be it through climate strikes or other means. Mitzi has built the present movement on experiences gained when she was with Agham Youth, a student organization established for the utilization of science and technology for the benefit of the common people and through their actions, the environment. Her lengthy interactions with indigenous people that Agham Youth reached out to convinced her for the success of efforts to tackle the climate crisis in the Philippines, marginalized sections of society must be included. Mitzi also believes that social media and digital media are powerful tools about environmental issues and has put different forms of these to effective use. Mitzi also works on advocacy to policy makers on the need for environment-friendly legislation.
Name: Nanticha Ocharoenchai (Lynn)
Age: 22 years
About her: Founder, Climate Strike Thailand
Nanticha Ocharoenchai is an environmental writer and climate activist who started the climate strike movement in Thailand, referred to as Climate Strike Thailand. Nanticha is a consultant for the WWF-Greater Mekong project. This is a 6-year trans-border initiative that aims to protect and regenerate over 250,000 hectares of unique forest in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Central Annamite Mountains. Nanticha is
well-recognized for her very effective communication strategy – story telling. She puts this means to great use whether via the written word, or through films, or photography, to widen awareness in the Thai public about conservation, nature appreciation and environmental science. Lynn also lends her expertise to other NGOs such as SOS Earth, Mongabay.com, 350.org, to name a few. etc. She is in the forefront to petition government for positive actin for the environment. Nanticha led a campaign to Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, that demanded the government declare declare a climate emergency in Thailand and also commit to work for Thailand to be a net zero carbon economy by 2040.
Name: Vihaan Agarwal
Age: 15 years
About him: Co: Founder, One Step Greener.
Vihaan suffers from asthmatic tendencies that get affected by rising air pollution levels. From an early age, Vihaan researched about ways to constrain within acceptable levels Air Quality Indexes in his hometown New Delhi. In 2017, (when he was just 12 years old), he read with trepidation about the collapse of one of the largest landfills at the fringe of his city. It brought to the fore the enormous problem of waste management as documented research confirmed that as much as 30% of Delhi’s air pollution has a direct corelation with untreated waste. Concerned by this health hazard, Vihaan along with his younger brother Nav founded “One Step Greener”. The NGO aims to work for zero waste conditions in their city. To achieve this, the founders and the many other youth whom they convinced to join them, leave no stone unturned to educate people about ways to manage waste – segregate, compost and recycle waste, for example. In addition, they organize plantation drives. So far “One Step Greener” regularly collects dry waste from nearly 700 households, schools and corporates. This is delivered to different recyclers.
For example, they arrange for paper waste to a paper mill, cardboards to cardboard manufacturers, glass items to bangle manufacturers and so on. The waste is not just collected from the doorstep, but also paid for according to the weight of the collection. The financial benefit is a powerful incentive for consumers to segregate the waste at the household level. Vihaan and his brother have received many accolades for their work, both nationally and internationally. They are the first Asians to win the Children’s Climate Prize, 2019 presented in Sweden. Vihaan was also chosen to be an Ashoka Youth Venturer for the year 2019-2020.
Name: Zuhair Ahmed Kowshik
Age: 24 years
About him: Regional Facilitator for Asia Pacific for the UN Environment Programme Zuhair is a born leader who has won many accolades for his work in Bangladesh to inspire youth to take up the mantle to rectify the many negative environmental conditions that prevail in the country. Zuhair has vast contacts and is an expert in networking which he puts to good use. This is evidenced with 40 prominent organizations of the country coming forward to support multiple programs he organized that focused on environmental concerns. The organizations represented universities, public institutions, international and national NGOs, social and cultural wings of diplomatic missions, corporates, youth Associations, among others. Zuhair successfully conducted the “Dhaka Climate Talk”, a multi-stakeholder dialogue held as a pre-COP (UNFCCC Conference of Parties) dialogue. Other noteworthy initiatives have Zuhair conceptualize and implement across Bangladesh, the “Green Entrepreneurship Development Training” program, conducted in association with Oxfam. He has also started “Climate Literacy Online Workshops” to help youth in Bangladesh better understand climate change and environmental issues. For this, to date, he has trained over 1000 youths. Zuhair’s Campus Ambassadors initiative has youth lead environment initiatives in over 40 universities of Bangladesh. This initiative serves as a model that other academic institutions across Asia have replicated. Zuhair’s tireless social and environmental work was recognized with the “Hanyang (South Korea) Youth Changemaker Award” in 2017. Zuhair is currently the Regional Facilitator for Asia Pacific for the UN Environment Programme.
Name: Rania Ali
About her: With the NGO – Together to protect human and their environment
Rania is an 18-year-old student in Iran who is studying architecture and sustainability at University Kurdistan Hewler. From the age of 12 years, she is a passionate advocate for environmental education. She believes this is essential to help restore the natural environs in her country that till recently was ravaged by war. To hear her speak is to recognize a born leader who has the gift of speech and strong convictions that success will be hers for all she strives for. Rania organizes environmental education program for children in Mosel and Kurdistan regions of Iraq, both of which are limping back after devastation by years of conflict. She conducts a series of educational lessons for 6-12- year- old kids. These include helping them understand prevailing environmental
concerns, inspiring them to play a meaningful role to improve the environment, and ways to establish eco clubs to provide opportunities to translate what they learn into beneficial action. To widen the learning, she assigns tasks to be done at home so that their families also benefit. Examples of these include reducing waste by recycling, upcycling, or reusing discarded items, lowering their carbon footprints with the judicious use of water and electricity, documenting the flora and fauna around. Her future plans include expanding her environmental education sessions to students up to 14 years.
Besides holding classes, Rania with her tireless spirit has led the implementation of the Earth Day Marathon held at Erbil in2014. She also conducts multiple sessions on tree plantations and plastic waste management, the latest, her initiative to plant a million oak trees in the Kurdistan region. Once she graduates as an Architectural Engineer, she aims to design and execute sustainable buildings in Iraq.
Name: RY Moni Sovanya
About her: Visual Art, Performance Art, Film Art Design, Graphic Design, and Strategic Product Design
“Battambang artist stuns ‘em with graphic message” makes headline news by a leading daily in Cambodia. The artist they refer to is Sovanya. Armed with a degree in graphic design from Cambodia’s leading school of arts Phare Ponleu Selpak, Sovanya has put her talent to stunning use to create not-to-be-ignored or forgotten messaging about several prevailing environmental concerns in the country. Sovanya who is multi-talented (she is a well-known filmmaker as well), creates projects to make an impact to society and the world through art. Her stunts so succinctly draw attention to the environment. Her latest art project ‘Is You’, is a performance art production that helped awaken people to the growing malice of plastic pollution. “Is You, means ‘it is you’ who created rubbish, throw rubbish, and it is you who affected yourself with your (own) rubbish,” explains Sovanya. The unforgettable Is You unveiling took place at the Khmer New Year celebration, a popular event where it is usual to see the mess created by the unthoughtful discard of plastic waste by the hundreds of visitors. In the act, she walked through the massive crowd and asked people to hang their plastic waste items on her instead. The unusual performance was attention-catching, as are all the other performances that she continues to produce. Sovanya says: “In the future I would like to become an artist who can influence Cambodians and also other people in the world to make a change for good and make the world a better place to live through art. Through the messages in my art projects, I hope to inspire people to come together for a better change and advocate something that benefits everyone.”
Name: Sena Fujinawa
About her: Sena is with Climate Youth Japan (CYJ), an organization founded by youth, all of whom have a serious focus on climate change. It is established by the youth of Japan who took part in the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the spring of 2010. This platform focuses on “climate change”, “policy”, and “dissemination of youth opinions”. CYJ aims to realize a fair and
sustainable society by solving climate change problems by raising the voices of young people in society. Sena leads their public relations bureau. She holds regular workshops all over Japan, and plans campaign activities, exchanges and activities with overseas youth, and ways to enable youth of her country take part in international conferences. Recent programs she oversaw include an international youth conference that discussed the role of civil societies to better understand how not to “Leave No One Left” and “youth x climate change”, that was specific for the corporate sector. Sena as an active member of the organization represented the organization at COP25. At an individual level, Sena supports two koalas who were injured by the forest fire in Australia.
Name: Shai Rilov
About him: Co-Founder and CEO of Robin Food NGO in Israel.
Shai Rilov is the co-founder and CEO of Robin Food, an organization that “rescues” food destined for waste from farms, markets, shops – and with a chef and many volunteers, turns it into amazing meals for the public to experience food waste directly. Robin Food is the first and only social restaurant that aims to engage and mobilize the public to reduce food waste. Shai believes that food waste has a huge carbon footprint and thus established Israel’s first social restaurant – based on the “rescued” food that would otherwise get wasted. To keep interest alive, the restaurant has an ever-changing menu. Each diner can pay “as they feel”, deciding the value of the food/experience, paying with either their money or time. Shai believes that his idea is not only to feed the needy people, but to cook and serve a tasty meal made of waste food to attract and teach people on the ideas of sustainable living. Robin Food attracts many people to eat, enjoy, and experience—from lawyers to students to those less fortunate. Hundreds of volunteers from Israel, from other countries as well volunteer to maintain the operations. His initiative is extensively covered by media, both national and internationally.
Name: Shamim Ahmed Mridha
About him: Founder and CEO, Eco-Network
In just two years, Shamim Ahmed Mridha of Bangladesh has built a network of youth ambassadors for the environment in ten countries of Asia and Africa. A student of Environmental Science, he began his initiative in Bangladesh to address the many environmental issues that afflict his country. Shamim is an ardent believer in the ability of youth to resolve these and thus founded Eco-Network, an NGO for and by youth. A born leader, Shamim urges the many who follow him to be stewards for the environment. He has amplified his efforts by taking his initiative to several universities in the country where he trains and appoints students to take on roles of Ambassadors who follow his lead and build responsibility for the environment amongst the thousands of students enrolled in the institutions. Seeing the enthusiasm and success of these, Shamim has replicated the initiative in nine other countries of Asian and African where country ambassadors get appointed to do likewise. Eco-Network members also engage in tree planting campaigns, global climate strikes, among others. Shamim firmly believes
that all of humanity be included in efforts and has thus attempted to draw in the transgender community, one that is often kept hidden and not allowed to take part in regular activities. Shamim idea for Food Safety had him be declared the Regional Winner of Climathon – an international competition that takes place in 135 countries.
Name: Shivam Singh
About him: Founder, ExploreiT Research
Shivam Singh is the founder of ExploreiT Research. This start up’s agenda is youth empowerment and environmental activism. Their principal aim is to unite youth towards the achievement of carbon neutrality in India alongside upskilling them with the most relevant skills to sculpt them into strong, passionate and thoughtful leaders of in the future. Shivam and his team guide motivated young students to expand their skill sets to work to create a positive environmental impact. With Shivam in the lead, they collaborate with various government institutes, municipal corporations, NGOs, and corporate entities to achieve their goals. Their Project 8 works for carbon neutrality by planting trees. They plan for the planting of 1,00,000+ trees pan-India. All trees planted to native ones. Shivam represented youth climate activists at the global UN Climate Change Summit, COP 21 and has also served as a Youth advisor for India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Name: Shreya Chawla
About her: Shreya received the Global Youth Peace Ambassador Award at the Global Youth Peace Training Programme, held in Maldives in 2019. In the same year, her exceptional oratory skills at the United Nations’s Asia Pacific Climate Week at Bangkok won her the title of Child Advocate for the Global Peace Award. Shreya addressed the gathering on “The Role of Youth in Tacking Climate Change.’’
Shreya Chawla began her work for the environment as a 12-yea old when she launched a “No Plastic Campaign” in the beaches and resorts of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
This has now expanded to many states in northern India and to the countries of the Maldives and of Thailand. In addition, Shreya leads campaigns that help increase green cover, reduce global warming and other climate change-related issues. Humbled by the many recognitions she has received, Shreya reiterates that her work has just begun, but she is all prepared to take the long pathway ahead to help people better understand that caring for the environment is beneficial to them as well.
Name: Udari Anuththara Mohotti
Country: Sri Lanka
About her: Founder, Umo Designs
Udari strongly believes in a no-waste policy. “Most of what we discard can be crafted and upcycled into items that people would like to own”, she says. A designer by profession, in Sri Lanka, Udari creates stunning ranges of specially crafted portraits, jewelry and other products, all made with discarded products. Every piece of her produced by “Umo
Designs” (her enterprise) showcases her concept of “Trash to Treasure”. Discarded vehicle tyres are upcycled into beautiful jewelry. Udari creates portraits out of waste paper and packaging material. All this helps reduce the burden on already choking landfills. To widen the concept among other artists as well, she aptly displays her concern for the environment and her exceptional leadership qualities with her latest venture Umo Unites. Udari set up this social enterprise to encourage other artists to get inspired with her founding philosophy of no waste and turn their artistic talents to creating beautiful pieces out of what is considered waste. Udari hand holds the artists to do so and also helps them find markets for their creations.
Name: Vhon Michael Tobes
About him: Executive Director, Zero Hour Philippines
Vhon is the Executive Director of Zero Hour Philippines, a youth climate justice movement that fights for urgent climate action, and rights of youth to a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Vhon successfully carries out what drives Zero Hour – the thought that “Enough is enough. Youth, believe that #thisisZeroHour to act on climate change. We cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish. We know that we are the leaders we have been waiting for!” He helps organize platforms at which huge numbers of young voices are centered, compelling elected officials and adults to listen to what the youth express. With the help of key partners (and there are several) who have come onboard to support their vision, they are now well on their way to organizing movements so that elected officials and leaders at every level of society cannot ignore the voice of youth. He also leads climate action movements that demand from the government, transparency on climate issues. This award-winning writer, poet, playwright, essayist, filmmaker, and journalist is regularly featured on multiple noteworthy platforms.
Name: Uttam Kumar Tamboli
About him: Uttam lives in the tribal state of Chhattisgarh in India. Life here is isolated from the outside world: problems generally need to local solutions. Uttam diligently studied all the basic science he learnt at school and took on the mantle of environmental stewardship to bring together peers to promote environment-friendly practices among the people. To advocate for the judicious use of water, their first job was to design
low-cost water harvesting system to recharge the groundwater table. There was no
well-developed technology here that they could indent for. Instead, an ingenious design was developed using local materials – earthen pots, sand, pebbles, corncobs, coconut husk and wood charcoal to build over 1300 soak pits across the state. Now that water was there, the time explained to the community members why water needed to be used efficiently, how they could conserve it, why planting trees was important to attract the rain clouds, how the rain cycle worked, why washing in water bodies polluted it, etc. His work has earned him recognition by the Indian ministry for water resources. Students
studying technology at India’s premier institutes also marvel at the success Uttam has achieved.
Name: Licypriya Kangujam
About her: Climate Activist and Founder, The Child Movement
Licypriya leads a global demand for climate action that includes making climate education compulsory law. Toward this, she fearlessly protests before the Indian parliament to have her thoughts heard. As an additional prong of action, she is working with several state governments to have them develop environment-friendly curriculum that is more attuned to local conditions. Licypriya is the founder of the NGO, Child Movement, a body that aims to raise awareness “to protect the planet by tackling climate change and natural disasters”. She is regularly covered by media and is the recipient of several awards and recognition that include: the “World Children Peace Prize 2019” by Global Peace Index – Institute of Economics & Peace (IEP), Australia. She was also honored with “Global Child Prodigy Award 2020” by the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry, Kiran Bedi. She was recently awarded the 17th TN Khoshoo Memorial Award 2020 by Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology and The Environment (ATREE) organization, a renowned research institution that works on the issue of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
Name: Nav Agarwal
Ages: Vihaan (15) and Nav Agarwal (12)
About them: Founders, One Step Greener.
Concerned by the problem of air pollution in the capital city of India (New Delhi), two brothers, Vihaan and Nav founded the NGO “One Step Greener”. They focused on two major strategies that they believe could help lower Air Quality Index numbers: increasing the green cover and ensuring the proper disposal of waste and a reduction to zero waste. Joining them in their endeavours are over 700 households, and some corporates and schools. The members organize dry waste collection drives from localities in the city, and arrange to have this transported to recyclers. For example: paper waste is sent to a paper mill, cardboards to cardboard manufacturers, glass items
to bangle manufacturers, and so on. To date, they have reached 40,000 + people through their talks and trainings, recycled over 1,27,850 Kgs of waste, planted 3,294 trees and were the first recipients from Asia to receive the Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden in 2019 and the Global Social Leaders Award in UK in 2019. Nav and Vihaan have also been honoured with the Diana award in 2019 and were chosen as the young changemakers globally, among several other national and international awards that they recognize their humble initiatives to protect the environment.
Name: Ralyn Satidtanasarn (Lilly)
About her: From the age of 8 years, Ralyn Satidtanasarn (nickname Lilly), is vocal about the many problems that arise from over consumption of things and about the
indiscriminate way people deal with waste. Lily takes time out from her school studies to approach senior political leaders to draw their attention to these issues and to widen her campaign among students so that that a behaviour change leading to climate action results. Her latest success is getting large shopping malls to stop automatic bagging with single-use plastic. She persuaded Central, a major supermarket in Bangkok, to stop giving out plastic bags in its stores once a week. Some of the biggest brands, including 7-Eleven convenience stores, pledged to stop handing out single-use plastic bags by January.
Name: Ridhima Pandey
About her: The 13-year-old climate activist’s effort began in 2013, when her father Dinesh Pandey, also an environmental activist, became the victim of Uttarakhand floods that claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands homeless. In March 2017, at the age of 9, she filed a complaint against the Indian government with the National Green Tribunal on how the government has failed to scientifically tackle climate change. Ridhima was also one of the 16 young activists along with Greta Thunberg who filed a lawsuit in the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. She was recently selected by BBC among the 100 most influential women of 2020, one of the esteemed recognition to women influencers by BBC. She also regularly conducts strikes for Fridays for Future and encourages youth and adults to participate in leading climate action. Ridhima has called for a complete ban on plastic, arguing that its continued production is the result of consumer demand. She has also called for the Indian government and local authorities to do more to clean the Ganga River, one of the largest rivers in India that is now threatened by severe pollution.
Name: Anaiah Naik
About her: Zero Waste Crusader
A 9-year-old artistic girl and a certified funny bone. A potter fan and bibiliophile who lives in the space between bookshelves and speaks French, English, Hindi and a smattering of Kiswahili and Tamil, when her head is not busy in the clouds or the jungles. A zero waste crusader, who aims to be a minimalist for life. Loves nature, sea, wildlife and Dr Jane Goodall!
Name: Asheer Kandhari
About her: Member, Fridays for Future India
Asheer has petitioned the Indian government with a demand for ‘My right to breath’. This calls authorities action to ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the prevalent hazardous condition of air quality. She also leads protests against orders by the government to cut down over 20,000 trees in an area of the capital city, Delhi.
Campaigns against the use of single-use plastics are additional focii for Asheer.
Name: Francisco Javier Vera
About him: Founder, Guardians for Life Movement
11-year old Francisco Javier Vera from Colombia is the founder “Guardians for Life” a movement for the environment that demands the country declare a climate emergency. In 2019, he presented before the senate of the Republic in Colombia at which he strongly petitioned congressmen to legislate environment-friendly policies. Among the many campaigns he leads are those against the spraying of crops of cocoa with Glyphosate, to promulgate a ban on single-use plastics, and also one on testing of products on animals.
Name: Hemang Vellore
About him: Climate Activist and Founder, Young CEO
Hemang Vellore is an unschooled, experiential learner who has given 3 TEDx Talks and addressed on many international & national platforms as an invited speaker. Hemang founded YOUNG CEO that he envisions as an educational platform, trademarked to organize free tech fests, training programs, hackathons, ideathons, buildathons, makeathons for youth to create awareness single use plastic. His short film www.filmfreeway.com/DeedsDwell was featured in the 2020 UN Habitat Film Festival. Hemang underwent an 11 day-training in Delhi for the NASA Moon Rover Challenge in 2016 and in 2017 and became the Pit Crew Member for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge held in Alabama, USA. His tryst with NASA did not end here. He was bumped up from being a participant to a mentor. Hemang has an innate gift of being tech savy, and utilizes modern robotics and other means to widen awareness about environmental concerns. This climate activist wears many hats: Young Achiever, Robotics, Curious Astronomer, Techno Geek, Budding Innovator, Ethical Hacker, Coder, to name just a few.
Name: Aima Musthafa
About her: Artist and Co-Founder, Maldives Authentic Crafts Coopperative Society. Aima is a freelance illustrator from Maldives, working mostly with civic education materials and awareness campaigns for various organizations. As one of the founding members of Maldives Authentic Crafts Cooperative Society (MACCS) that works to promote and revive traditional handicrafts made from natural fibres, she has been fundamental in documenting the designs and weaving process of the traditional mats. Her love for the environment and culture can be seen in many of her works.
Name: Anshul Tiwari
About him: Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Youth Ki Awaaz
Anshul Tewari is the founder and editor-in-chief of Youth Ki Awaaz, a user-generated content publishing platform aimed at the youth of India and centered around social issues, which is also the largest youth-based media platform in India. YKA has over 4
million unique viewers. Tewari was selected as a United Nations ITU Young Innovator in 2012 and has also been named an Ashoka Fellow in 2015. In 2018, Tewari was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Asia for Media, Marketing & Advertising. He serves on the board of Jhatkaa as a trustee, an organization whose mission is to build empower the Indian citizenry from the grassroots. He is also on the Board of Directors of Collectively, a World Economic Forum and Unilever collaborative non-profit. He participated in the Obama Foundation’s Town Hall in New Delhi on December 1, 2017, wherein he moderated a session by the then President Barack Obama.
Name: Arun Krishnamurthy
About him: Founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India
the NGO, Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) in 2011 based in Chennai which has its branches in other cities such as Hyderabad, Delhi and Coimbatore. Arun with the organisation has been successful in cleaning more than 39 lakes in the country and having worked in Google before quitting the job to dedicate voluntarily. He was chosen as among the five people for prestigious Rolex Awards for Enterprise award in 2012 for scientific lake restoration in Chennai.
Name: Bhupendra Mishra
About him: Founder, The Resilient Foundation
Bhupendra is a Development Professional with a multidisciplinary background in Youth development, Entrepreneurship, Sanitation, Education & Disaster Management.
Bhupendra’s work has been recognized by many organizations and he has received many awards by NGOs and government, one of them is Indira Gandhi National Award by President of India at President House in 2012. He is also an advisor to various NGOs works as a freelance consultant to Aga Khan Agency for Habitat.
Name: Bui Thi Minh Ngoc
About her: Founder, Green Lady Vietnam
Bui Thi Minh Ngoc is the founder of Green Lady Vietnam, a small social enterprise about women and the environment. Realizing that disposable tampons contain bleaches and odorants that may not be good for health, not to mention that according to the design, each Vietnamese woman will use about 3kg of sanitary pads per year, meaning that throw 3kg of persistent waste into the environment. That experience aroused in Ngoc the desire to bring sanitary cloth products that are both friendly and protect the health of the woman while protecting the environment and to introduce to Vietnamese women in combination with menstrual education. In addition to Green Lady, Ngoc is also the
co-founder of Green Hanoi, a project to plant shade trees to green the city.
Name: Chhun Sokchea
About him: Environmental Educator & Project Driver, Wildlife Alliance
Chea, an educator and driver for Wildlife Alliance’s KE, works on the ground in remote areas nationwide bringing an appreciation and knowledge of Mother Nature and how to protect her, especially wildlife and their habitat. Chea and his teammates directly address the supply and demand sides of the wildlife trade and destruction of habitats from various perspectives including human health to reduce consumer demand. Chea aims to inspire youth to love the environment and hopes that his efforts will ensure the forests are still plentiful for his children.
Name: Gauri Agarwal
About her: Founder, Livable Planet and MAGA
Her interest in fashion turned into her passion for Sustainability! 29-year-old Gauri changed her way, when she discovered fashion is the second pollutant to the world after oil. Step by step, she intended to revolutionise the fashion industry. The first step was to leave her job and work on her own. That’s where the IDEA of her brand MAGA came in. MAGA (Mridu and Gauri Agarwal) is born with two sisters working together on the cause. She also runs her own blog Livable Planet where she shares interesting content on sustainable fashion.
Name: Khairunnisa Ash’ari
About her: Legislative Council Member of Brunei Darussalam and General Manager, Green Depot and Co-Founder, Green Brunei
Khairunnisa actively promotes youth development and environmental sustainability in Brunei and in the region. She is currently a member of the Brunei Legislative Council; General Manager for RECOVER; Co-Founder/Community Engagement Director for Green Brunei; and Green Xchange Director for the Society for Community Outreach and Training. Her work primarily focuses on youth development through environmental advocacy, where she organises camps, school talks, recycling drives, river and beach cleanups and tree planting. She also founded the nation’s first Green Depot, which enables communities to save through recycling as a means to promote better waste management efforts while providing money-saving habits. She is the recipient of the ZICO ASEAN 40 Under 40 (2018); Excellent Service Medal (PIKB) (2016); The Queen’s Young Leaders Award (2015); ASEAN Youth Day Award (2014); and Youth Service Award (2013). The Green Xchange programme has also received the ‘Outstanding Project for Youth Association Award’ from His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in conjunction with the National Youth Day in 2016.
Name: Meta Septalisa
About her: Borneo’s’ forests are one of the most biodiverse natural environments on earth and are home to various endemic and endangered species, such as Bornean orangutans, the majestic yet rarely-seen Bornean elephants, sun bears, and many others. Unfortunately, Borneo is also globally known for its forest fires and haze disasters, which affect the neighboring countries, especially Malaysia and Singapore. Most of the blame should be attributed to excessive deforestation, poorly supervised land–clearing activities and unsustainable agricultural practices. For the past year, Meta has been working with the people of Tumbang Lawang, Dahian Tunggal, and Tewang Karangan villages to fight environmentally–damaging logging activities and palm oil plantations carried out by some companies in those three areas. Along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Meta has been supporting the communities by providing educational programs and developing ecotourism in those three areas. Meta also becomes one of the initiators for the local food festival, in June 2019 in Central Kalimantan. It was the first local food festival with the government and the national chef.
Name: Omi Gurung
About him: Fashion Designer and Social Entrepreneur
Omi is popularly known as “The Green Man” of Sikkim. He is the founder of a Bangalore-based social group Oh My India (OMI) which catalysed change in the lifestyle of thousands of people worldwide by creating awareness to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle domestic waste and helps them to get started. The designer is the owner of Green Gangtok eco-friendly fashion boutique, the first of its kind in Sikkim. The boutique houses an array of fashionable green choices in apparels, accessories and artefacts and provides a platform for artists from the region to showcase their work.
He advocates for and creates awareness about textile waste in India through his social initiatives like PROJECT WEAR (Waste, Environment and Reuse). He has organised several “Go Green” workshops and seminars for school students in India to care for Mother Earth. Omi has also worked in collaboration with government organisations and
non-government organisations pan India, giving motivational talks or proactively exhibiting his creative works to create educate about sustainability. A change-maker, Omi was conferred with national award “KARMAVEER CHAKRA” instituted by United Nations and iCongo on 26 November 2019, in an event held at NCR, New Delhi. He has received several awards and recognition for his work.
Name: Phal Ratana
About him: Environmental Educator
Phal Ratana is passionate about the environment and giving educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Ratana plays an integral role of the 4-person Kouprey Express (KE), the only mobile environmental project in Cambodia, by delivering an interactive curriculum to students, capacity building training for teachers, and community engagement activities to foster positive behavioral changes towards environmental sustainability and actively encourage children and adults to be front line defenders of
their natural resources. Ratana, together with the KE, ensures this happens in fun, creative, and exciting ways, having reached thousands of schools and nearly half a million youth and community members in Cambodia.
Name: Pratik Gauri
About him: Pratik Gauri is the India CEO of United States based 5th Element Group, CoFounder/Chairman of India Needs You – a leadership movement, and has held executive positions with the TATA Group. Pratik Gauri is a social entrepreneur creating the 5th Industrial Revolution. Voted as one of the top Indian purpose leaders, he has an experience in building purpose-businesses from bottom up. Passionate about making the world a better place, he believes in embracing servant-driven leadership to solve some of the world’s most complex economic / social challenges. Pratik has represented India at coveted global stages like Nobel Peace Prize Forum, World Economic Forum, Skoll World Foum, United Nations, amongst others.
Name: Rehmeen Urooj Zaidi
About her: Social Activist and CEO of Educating Future
Rahmeen Urooj is a social activist and CEO of Educating Future, founded in 2016 having an aim to focus upon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to bring up a positive change in youth. She is an Executive Committee member of Pakistan-US Alumni Network and Amnesty International. Rahmeen represented Pakistan in UN Immersion Programme at UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland where she attended seminars and expert lectures by the top officials of WTO, WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, ICRC, WIPO etc. And more importantly how UN is working to achieve SDGs for better world.
Name: Renard Siew
About him: Environmental Advisor to Centre for Governance and Political Studies (CENT-GPS)/Co-Chair of the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Working Committee
Renard is Environmental Advisor to CENT-GPS. He serves as Co-Chair of the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Working Committee and is a subgroup lead for the United Nation’s Collective Climate Action Task Force. He is also recognised as an Expert Network Member of the World Economic Forum Expert. Prior to this, he was with the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM) where he has worked on a number of portfolios including sustainability/ integrated reporting, ESG integration, socially responsible investment (across different asset classes: equities, infrastructure and property/real estate), climate change and sustainable construction for the building/infrastructure sector. He has published in many international refereed journals. In 2014, he won a Highly Commended Paper award by the Emerald Literati Network and was inducted into the prestigious Global Young Academy as recognition of his research impact. For his work in sustainability, he was named one of Asia’s 21 Young Leaders by
Asia Society, a Young Leader by the World Cities Summit, Malaysia’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Green Warriors and was listed as 50 most prominent Green Warriors by Asia Tatler.
Name: Ruth Siringan
About her: Environment Head, University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM) Ruth Siringan is the current environment head of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM), the premier mountaineering organization in the Philippines. Together, the UPM and the forest rangers continuously do reforestation in the Ipo
Watershed since 2007. She also graduated from UP Diliman with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology last 2018.
Name: Saddam Sahito
About him: Founder, Think Tank Karachi
Saddam Hussian holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Technology. He loves to write, travel and exchange cultures around the world. He’s working for climate change and community development for 4 years with National and International organizations.
Saddam is a Social Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Think Tank Karachi, an initiative focusing on youth and women empowerment issues. It aims to create a platform for youth where they can learn critical thinking, leadership skills, and social entrepreneurship.
Name: Sajid Iqbal
About him: Founder, Change
Change is a youth-led development organization committed to promoting renewable energy. In their most notable project, founder Sajid Iqbal partnered with a German provider of international cooperation services, GIZ, to introduce solar bottle lights to 4,000 people in disadvantaged Bangladeshi communities. Iqbal has also worked with organizations to develop solar lanterns, street lights and micro irrigation pumps. He has received awards for his work from prominent banker and social entrepreneur Professor Mohammed Yunus and the U.S. Department of State. In 2017, he received the Queen’s Young Leaders award.
Name: Sanjay Gupta
About him: Artist and Environmentalist
Sanjay Gupta is a young theatre artist from Lahan district in Nepal, located in the eastern part of Nepal. Currently he is pursuing his Bachelor degree from Kathmandu and is also a student of Mandla Theater Nepal. With the support of Bajra Shakti Club, a local club in
his region he and other young people of the community organises cleanups and environmental awareness campaigns. Sanjay is an active member of the group.
Name: Siddharth Singh
About him: Siddharth Singh is a young, first time author of the book The Great Smog of India, a book he wrote on air pollution in India. He is an energy, mobility and climate policy expert. At a young age he has been selected for several prestigious positions that include being a German Chancellor Fellow in 2016-17 under the guardianship of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office. In the past, he has worked at the Wuppertal Institute in Berlin, Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo and TERI in New Delhi. He is a graduate of the from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Name: Swati Bhalla
About her: Founder, We Mean to Clean
Swati is the Founder of Delhi based voluntary cleanup group, We Mean to Clean that works in Delhi/NCR for the betterment of environment. All volunteers are regular working professionals or students who take out time on weekends to work towards the environment. In over 6 years, along with WMTC volunteers, she has been working on various fronts such as:
Spotfixes and Cleanup Drives: They clean and transform a filthy spot and try to involve as many local people as possible.
Waste Management and Composting Workshops: Conducted several workshops with volunteers, RWAs, schools etc.
Native Tree Plantation: They have planted over 2000+ native trees and regularly water those saplings for at least 3 years. They plant trees such as neem, peepal, amaltas, banyan, jamun, mango etc. They offer a large tree canopy and also support our local life forms.
Name: Khaing Paing Cho
About her: Environment Studies Student and Climate Activist
Khaing started her journey in the field of environment by attending a Training of Trainers programme where she learnt about how to give environmental awareness to children.
She conducts regular environmental awareness sessions for the students in high schools in Myanmar. She also took part in a campaign held by Clean Yangon to remove trash from the Yangon City and University of Yangon. She has also attended a training to identify and segregate waste products. Khaing has actively led the campaigns for commemoration of Earth Day in Myanmar and has participated in several online discussions held by Earth Day Network Myanmar and other environmental groups in the country.
Name: Ankhtsetseg Batjargal
About her: Programme Coordinator, Small Grants Programme, UNDP-GEF, Mongolia Ankhtsetseg has worked on several campaigns for environment including forestry, water protection and plantation near the lake areas, enhanced soil fertility, to name a few. She has also generated a small forest with local people and organized several trainings on soil fertility, waste management, afforestation and desertification issues. Ankhtsetseg has undertaken several research works in Mongolia that include: Research of nitrogen fixing bacteria associated with Sea-buckthorn roots; Issue of symbiotic relationship of nitrogen fixation in Caragana’s some species; The effect of mycorrhizae on growth of scots pine seedlings, to name a few.
Name: Elio Cunampio
About him: Co-Founder of Ejua Wãdrã
Elio is an indigenous activist from the community of Piriati-Emberá in Panamá. He is the Co-Founder of Ejua Wãdrã (founded in 2018) that works with indigenous youth to raise awareness and reforest native species. Ejua Wãdrã has reforested 20 hectares (restoration, agroforestry) surrounding the community of Piriatí. As a response to COVID-19, they constructed a greenhouse for food-crops with a 12,000 crop-capacity.
He is also the Co-Founder of Dji ta Wagadí, which works to preserve Emberá (indigenous community) language, music, art, and traditional plant knowledge, all of which derives from tropical forests, as their culture is under threat following the relocation of his community due to a hydroelectric project.
Name: Henry Kaniki
Country: Solomon Islands
About him: Co-Founder of the Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA)
Henry is the Co-Founder of the Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA) that is linked to International Rangers Federation (IRF) and established with a purpose to promote and boost the morale of local rangers’ work in the community. He is passionate about community engagement, empowering, natural resource management, climate change and environmental issues and has 10 years of experience of working in this field. On 11 May 2017, the Government of the Solomon Islands announced the opening of the Arnavons Community Marine Park (ACMP). It is the first marine protected area in the island state, which is situated to the south-east of New Guinea. Henry has been instrumental in this and is also manager of the area. He strongly supports the protection of the hawkbill sea turtles. Henry is currently undertaking Masters of Fisheries Science and Management (Professional) from the James Cook University in Australia. Henry has an extensive experience working with several well renowned organizations on local conservation communities in the Solomon Islands
Name: Madhish Parikh
About him: NSS Advisory Board Member at Gujarat Technological University/ Ahmedabad Global Shaper at World Economic Forum/ Co-Founder at Invincible NGO and President at Elixir Foundation.
Madhish Parikh is an active Youth Leader and is associated with many social change making organizations. He has worked extensively in social sectors like health, environment conservation, blood donations, digital literacy, education, youth empowerment, women empowerment, national integration, international integration, awareness Programme and much more. Madhish has also been recognized for his work with several awards. For instance: His outstanding community welfare service was honoured with “Indira Gandhi Award” by the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on November 19, 2014 at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi and several other accolades and recognitions. The state government of Gujarat awarded him with the “Gujarat State NSS Award”.
Name: Talei Kocovanua
About her: Provincial Conservation Officer for Tailevu Provincial Council Office.
Talei is an environment enthusiast and her work helps promote the protection of nature in Fiji’s largest province, Tailevu. Talei has played a key role in the UNDP supported GEF Small Grants Programme as a project coordinator. The grant supported the establishment of committees in a few selected villages to implement sustainable practices and protecting their natural resources. Talei has mobilized a network of practitioners in her province of service.
Name: Abdelnaser H. Dwaikat
About him: President of AEE Palestine since 2015.
Abdelnaser is the founder and Country representative of Institution of Mechanical Engineers since 2014. He has 10-years of experience in the energy private sector, both in companies and as an independent Engineer, especially in the field of renewable energies, where he managed the coordination of PV, Solar Thermal projects with an installed power of over 20MW. As a researcher, he coordinates studies in the field of sustainability, renewable energy, energy management. He also teaches courses as an independent expert in several institutions. Abdelnaser is the member of several technical committess in Palestine including: Palestinian Federation of Renewable Industry; Member of the Technical Committee and specifications on the Palestinian
Standard Institute; Member of the Consultancy Committee for Engineering Department / An Najah National University; and Member of the Technical Committee of Palestine Green Building Council, to name a few.
He has a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from An-Najah National University and an MSc degree in Engineering Management. He also specialized in the field of Environment, renewable energy and automotive.
Name: Abeer Al-Wahaibi
About her: Senior Energy Management Engineer at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)
Abeer Al-Wahaibi is a Senior Energy Management Engineer at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). As an Energy Management Engineer in the Oil and Gas industry, she is focused on the themes of energy efficiency, energy solutions and therefore climate change. Abeer believes that nowadays, a large proportion of the required world energy is supplied by fossil fuels and consumption of these non-renewable energy resources has been accelerated. The interest in using different renewable energy sources is growing.
One of the most promising renewable energy sources, which are also a solution for increasing the amount of waste, is biogas.
As a result, Abeer has conducted several technical and commercial evaluations for biogas production potential from different types of food waste with successful results. A technical paper out of her project was published in the “Scientific Reports” journal and it was also published in an article in PDO Al-Fahal magazine. In 2019, she won the PDO green award under “Best individual environmental initiative” category and was also selected to represent PDO and MENA region in the Global final of the “Shell young professional process engineering” event. She has successfully completed “Climate Reality Leadership Global Training” in September 2020 and certified to be a climate reality leader in Oman. Recently she was featured as MyOmani, a recognition campaign of Sustainable Oman.
Name: Hossna Hanafy Mahmoud
About her: Visual Artist
Hossna is a visual artist who explores her talents to draw and paint artworks on environmental concerns. She takes forward her environmental activism to inspire local communities to restore the nature. Hossna has taken part in several art campaigns in Egypt as well as internationally like in Italy, Bahrain, UK to name a few. Her future plan is to make copies of artworks on environmental themes and present it to schools, universities and culture centers to ignite climate literacy and for environmental ecology.
Name: Renante O. Salimbao
About him: Rent founded and coached the Apolaki Music Artists, a band group of elementary and high school students, that compose and perform their own environmental songs in different environmental events across the Philippines. He is a strong proponent of DepEd Dasmariñas Division Order No. 1, series 2019 titled Regulating the Use of Plastic Products in Schools and Offices in the City Schools Division of Dasmariñas. His several initiates include the ban of single-use plastic bottles in all public schools within the division. Renant also led a series of key campaigns that went viral across different social media platforms and caught the attention of different news media titled the #TumblerChallenge, #TumblerDanceChallenge, and
#TumblerPoseChallenge, all aimed to promote the ban on single use plastics in the country.
Name: Vania Rebeca Olmos Lau
About her: Vania Lau is a biologist with a double master’s in Agroecology and Organic Agriculture. Based in Mexico, this remarkable youth leader has already proven her exceptional talent with positions of authority in several prominent organizations. Vania is on the steering committee of the Youth in Landscapes Initiative where she is part of a growing global network and movement of over 50,000 young people working and studying in diverse landscapes around the world to support youth in their efforts to create healthy landscapes for all. Her engagement with Youth4Nature has her help build bridges for youth action between biodiversity and climate movements and the capacity of youth as stewards for the natural world. She is also with the IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management. Vania is recognized widely for her outstanding work to contain wildlife trade. To name just one of her many global efforts, the Mexican CITES Scientific Committee has called upon her to help protect a special genus of lizards from falling prey to international trade. Vania has also contributed to the Intergovernmental
Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment of pollinators and towards the promotion of good agricultural practices to favour pollinators and native flora within natural protected areas. She is also working with GIZ in Mexico on two biodiversity conservation projects. Vania has worked on-the-ground with rural communities in Mexico, Uganda, the Netherlands, France and Paraguay. Vania says that her varied experiences has helped her understand the international scene while staying grounded to local reality.
Name: Valentina Beneit Solano
About her: Valentina is an eighteen-year-old Mexican who comes from a family of teachers and nature lovers. To be interested in education and nature conservation was but natural for her. To help manage plastic waste, she leads an ongoing campaign to collect plastic caps It takes her just a couple of months to collect over 30 kilograms of these. Since 2019, Valentina is part of the Fridays for Future movement in Mexico City that demands action against climate change and has helped organize the 3rd global strike for climate that reunited over 5,000 people in Mexico City. Currently, Valentina is the leader of a social project called Poliniza.te. This is designed to promote through social media, environment-friendly actions that students can adopt. The project is part of Somos el Cambio, one of the largest social entrepreneurship projects in the world that has already impacted 11,700,000 Mexicans. Earlier this year, she was part of Desafío Clave 13/17, an initiative promoted by UNICEF Argentina that provides teens from Latin America a platform to interact and discuss best practices to adopt for sustainable development.
Name: Vannchhai Rot
About him: Youth Empowerment project manager at Finn Church Aid
Vannchhai has more than 6 years working experiences working on environmental and climate change education. He is currently working as a Youth Empowerment project manager at Finn Church Aid in Cambodia. In his role, he empowers youth groups to lead their own initiatives and projects to promote environmental sustainability in Cambodia. He has been working with youth group to learn more about forestry protection, plastic pollution, climate change and emergency responses for vulnerable family affected by flood and COVID 19 pandemic. Vannchhai has been taking an important role in environmental advocacy with relevant stakeholders in Cambodia by facilitating a space for young people and youth supporting NGOs to have dialogue with policy makers, Ministry of Environment in Cambodia so that they have opportunity to raise the concern of youth and civil society organisations on environmental issue in Cambodia. Vannchhai was trained by former US vice president, Al Gore, in Manila in 2016 to be a Climate Reality Leader of Climate Reality Project and in the same year, he was also selected as an Asia Pacific Youth Ambassador of United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP-Asia Pacific) for his active contribution to achieve the SDG goal #13, Climate Action.
Vannchhai was interviewed by the Radio France International in Khmer language on his active role model on youth participation in forestry protection work in Cambodia. He has also been interviewed by Radio Free Asia in Khmer language in 2016 on climate change awareness raising activities.
Name: Emma Petrosyan
About her: Emma says that cycling never was a mobility transportation in Armenia, especially in regions. This led Emma and her team to start an initiative of using bicycles as an alternative transportation in the town of Vanadzor. Vanadzor is located in the North of the country with the population of 73,000. To increase green mobility and to reduce the impact of CO2 in the air, she and her team is constantly working to turn Vanadzor into a cycling town of Armenia. They are working with the local authorities to develop bicycle lines and suitable infrastructure to foster the cycling culture. They also started the concept of cycling tourism, wherein they included some interesting parts of the town in the map, created a cycling loop of 10 km riding distance with a very short climbing part. They also engaged tourism agencies and individuals in the field to have this itinerary on their travel agenda. Emma’s future plan is to develop ecotourism in remote areas of the country together with sustainability and social economic growth.
Name: Margarita Achikyan
About her: Co-founder of the Youth for Development Foundation
Margarita is committed to promote environmental education and awareness component as she believes that a change in mindset and behavior is the most difficult, but the most important precondition for environmental conservation. Over the years, she has developed and implemented an eco-education course for children, young people and parents, which was attended by more than 1,500 people. She also led the eco-school program, which aims
to promote environmental thinking in public schools. Through this initiative, she and her team carries out several educational and awareness-raising events.
Name: Mkhitar Avetisyan
About him: Co-Founder, Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development (ISSD)
In March 2017, along with his friends Mkhitar founded ISSD to pave a way for sustainable development and environmental conservation. The organization goal is to ensure sustainable development in the fields of waste management, agriculture, education, business and female empowerment. Within a very short period of time, he along with team have implemented several projects such as “Fests go green”, “Recycle It”, “Eco Trainings” and “Loyalty bag”. The main goal of these projects is to ensure sustainable waste management and raise public education during various festivals and events.
The NGO started with awareness building and waste-sorting classes at public events. During 2018’s Areni Wine festival, ISSD’s small team of volunteers reached over 70,000 people, collecting 120kg of plastic bottles and almost 400kg of trash to deliver to recycling stations. Appearing at the same event a year later, ISSD collected, sorted and recycled double the amount of plastic waste and trash. They’ve started waste sorting with more than 200 schools, hotels and government buildings, reaching approximately 200,000 people in Yerevan and five other regions of Armenia — almost 7 percent of the population. ISSD was also the organizer of the World Clean Up Day in Armenia in 2018.
Name: Madhav Datt
About him: Madhav Datt founded Green the Gene, one of the world’s largest youth-run environmental non-profits. They build extremely low-cost technology and data driven solutions for local communities in acute environmental crises, across 62 countries with over 7000 youth volunteers. He represented young people from 47 countries of the Asia-Pacific region as the youth focal point for 6 terms. Madhav has to his name over 45 international reports on environmental practices, initiatives and development at grassroots and policy levels in this region. He was one of 15 young leaders selected by Audi in 2018 for Audi Environmental Foundation Scholar from over 3,000 applications from 160+ countries to present to global Audi leadership in Brussels, and to take part in the OYW Summit in Netherlands. The co-Founder and CTO of Tesla company, J. B. Straubel awarded Madhav to recognize his demonstrated leadership to further global sustainability. Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India in 2010 declared him the young Environmentalist of the Year. In 2013, Volvo Group and the UNEP awarded him project commendations to initiate and lead projects on swimming pool water and plastic waste recycling. The Volvo Adventure is an international environmental award program to recognize environmental innovation among young people from around the world. He spoke at several platforms such as One Young World, The Hague, Netherlands, 2018 TEDx Talk, TEDx NIT Kurukshetra, India, 2017 Yenching Social Innovation Forum, Beijing, China, 2017 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), Nairobi, Kenya, 2016, 2017 UNDP Climate Action Hackathon, Lusaka, Zambia, 2016 UN General Assembly – High Level Event on Climate Change, New York, 2015 UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF), New York, 2015 Post-2015
Intergovernmental Negotiations, New York, 2015 UNEP TIYC, Nairobi, Kenya, 2013 UNCSD Rio+20, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2012 UNEP TIYC, Bandung, Indonesia, 2011.
Name: Arpit Dhupar
About him: Arpit Dhupar, a mechanical engineer by qualification, believes that one should back every innovation up with a sound business plan in order to reach masses. Technology can be the biggest facilitator to overcome biggest challenges that our society currently faces. So he started working on R&D projects, which can have a meaningful impact on society, and can help transform lives of people. Technologies like renewable energy, pollution reduction devices and farm mechanization top his interest list. As a technology enthusiast, he believes that implementation of simple technologies can solve the biggest problems that our society faces. He grew up in the city of Delhi, which is hard hit by air pollution. He wanted to change this situation and created the company “Chakr Innovation” to tackle this problem. His device, ‘Chakr Shield’, is a novel technology, which causes minimum back pressure on the diesel generator. The device can control up to 90% of particulate matter from diesel engines, with no impact on the engine’s efficiency. They do not just dump or dispose of the captured carbon. As carbon is a useful resource, they process the captured particulate matter and use it to create ink pigment. This pigment is non-toxic and is of same quality as the ink used in industries. Each litre of ink saves 700 million litres of air that an average adult would breathe in a lifetime. “Chakr” in Hindi means ‘cycle’ and they are completing the cycle of carbon. So far they have saved over 3 billion litres of air from being polluted.
Name: Garvita Gulhati
About him: Garvita Gulhati aged 20 is the founder of ‘Why Waste?’ Brought up in Bangalore, India where water is a precious and increasingly scarce resource, water warrior Garvita founded ‘Why Waste?’ five years ago to make individuals and institutions more aware of water conservation. The largest youth-led organisation of its kind in the country, ‘Why Waste?’ is changing mindsets and habits through achievable activities, including its ‘glass half-full’ and the ‘How to Save 100 Litres Every Day’ app. Garvita and her team have also distributed a free a book of sustainability stories to help underprivileged students understand the climate crisis. Described by a BBC reporter as the Greta Thunberg of India, Garvita is now taking her water conservation vision to the world stage. She has received many accolades. Recently, she won the prestigious – The Diana Award, a recognition for highly inspiring efforts of a young person for social action or humanitarian efforts.
Name: Paul Ayomide
About him: Student, Volunteer and Advocate for clean oceans and healthy environment. Founded Aqualife7000, which aims to protect the aquatic environment and its resources thus working in line with SDG14(life below water). Organizes events (online and offline) to enlighten and educate people about the aquatic environment and its resources.
Name: Andozile Simwinga
About him:Volunteer at Wildlife Environmental conservation of Zambia and Youth climate ambassador for the Unite4Climate and Conservation program
Andozile SImwinga is a 4th Year Student B.Sc. Environmental Studies and a strong climate change activist from Zambia. In November 2015 Andozile represented at one of the world most important conferences on climate change,[COP21] which was held in Paris France, Conference Of Parties (COP21). Since then he has been working with other young people in both rural and urban schools, carrying out environmental capacity programs, advocating against early marriage and pregnancies and partnering with local farmers in growing crops that are adoptive to climate change.
Name: Christopher Marvin Tumusiime
About him: Founder and Executive director of Trinity Forestry Services, an initiative to carry out environmental projects so as to mitigate climate change and increase adaptive capacity and resilience. Engages youth at various levels in environmental actions more so greening communities by tree planting, urban farming, and encouraging climate smart Agriculture.
Name: Bem-yamin Edouard Ibrahim
Country: Burkina Faso
About him: Member, Laafi Club
Bem is currently an engineering student in Quality, Hygiene, health, environmental safety at the Institute for Industrial Risk Management and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Laafi club and participated in the COP22 in Marracheck in 2016. In 2019, he participated in the reforestation of a site in the Ouaga 2000 district, organized by the Minister of the Environment, the theme of which was “a diploma, a tree”.
Name: Rahmina Paulette
About her: Professional model, young environmentalist and a climate change ambassador. Runs a project of recycling water hyacinth and waste paper into cards, bags and bookmarks. Uses the project as a business to solve the problem of unemployment and environmental issues.
Name: Lamin K Jammeh
Country: The Gambia
About him: Student-teacher, volunteer and also an environmental activist. Leader of Youth Movement For Civic Education (Y.M.F.C.E) that deals with the education, dialogue and informing people on their civic rights and responsibilities towards the nation and promotion of a healthy environment for all irrespective of our differences.
Name: Caroline Njeri
About her: Chairperson to CBO, South Coast Environmental Brigaden and a final year student studying Marine Science. She is engaged in environmental conservation, forest conservation, and mangrove restoration. She is currently working on waste management projects with grassroot communities living along the coastline, educating and involving them in this practice such as clean ups, sorting and educating neighbors.
Name: Malango Kayira
About her: Volunteer, Student and Representative for National Youth Network on Climate Change. She helped NYNCC in tree planting exercise along Lingadzi river where more than 1000 trees were planted and up to date these trees are being monitored.
Name: Bernard Oge
About her: Educator at FutureSavers Sustainable Initiative
Bernard is a volunteer and an activist for FutureSavers Sustainable Initiative. She lends a voice by educating the populace on sustainable methods of conserving the environment, recognizing the diversity of contexts and issues faced by countries around the globe ranging from climate change, deforestation, soil and water pollution as a result of poor waste management, destruction of biodiversity. Oge has joined several groups of voices speaking for the Earth, some of which have been self-initiated. These networks include: FutureSavers Sustainable Initiative; Earth cries; National Association Of Foresters Nigeria and Trees guards Online.
Name: Zemane Larb Wend-Woaga Jeanne
Country: Burinka Faso
About him: Teacher, Ministry of National Education and Literacy and Volunteer for climate action.
24 years old representative of the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, Zemane has been involved since 2015 in the Club Lafi of IRD Burkina, then in AJSLP and CONAJEC in the fight for the preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change. He was also one of the youth representatives at COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016 where he carried the voice of the youth of Club Lafi. He works with several associations for cleanliness in cities, public awareness for reforestation and for the fight against deforestation.
Name: Tamirira Mberi
About her: Tamirira Mberi, Student at Arundel School where she is a member of the Environmental and Wildlife Club. Engaged in a group project under ” Water is Life” ,
where the main objective was to create a solar run model that would purify water in Zimbabwe’s high density areas. Believes that water conservation is one of the biggest yet most exciting responsibilities that humanity has been entrusted with.
Name: Ezekiel Nyanfor
About him: Liberian youth Climate Activist and Entrepreneur. Founder and Executive Director of the Liberian Youth for Climate Actions-LYCA. Leader of climate action activities including World Environment Day, Earth Day and others. On World Environment Day of this year, he hosted a summit titled World Environment Day Summit under the theme, Stop Deforestation, bringing speakers together from different African countries including : South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, and Liberia.
Name: Edward Msika
About him: Co-Founder of a youth led and centred organisation called Youth Action for Success and Development based in Lilongwe – Malawi
Name: Marthad Mwinyi Khojama
About him: Environmentalist, Environmental Science Student at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro. Volunteer for Earth Day Network 2020, Member of Tanzania Youth Biodiversity Network where he leads clean ups, green movement sensitization campaigns and tree plantings.
Name: Bwalya Bwalya
About him: Founder, Cherished Women’s Enterprise
Bwalya Bwalya is a student at University of Zambia. He is also the Founder of Cherished Women’s Enterprise, a company that empowers women in recycling by connecting them to organizations, institutions and businesses that buy their products.
Name: Molade Folashade
About her: Strategic Team Lead at Futuresavers Sustainable Development Initiative. Organizer of Climate Clubs in primary and secondary schools. HIV Counselor Tester, Program Officer for Value Chain Financing at Welcome2Africa International.
Name: Chausa Rhoda
About her: University Student at Dodoma University, Environmental Activist. Runs environmental education programs for local students and communities neighboring her university and orchestrates cleanups and tree plantings.
Name: Mwewa Nchima Enock
About him: A student pursuing a degree in Environmental Health in the country’s capital Lusaka. Educates students and communities on the dangers of deforestation and climate change as well as stressing the need for conservation.
Name: Chimanuka Ahana Nancy
Country: Congo Republic
About her: Student at University Catholique de Bakavu and member of Global Youth Biodiversity Network. Works on inter-university awareness campaigns and is interested in plastic pollution and community engagement.
Name: Gabriella Bashengezi
Country: Congo Republic
About her: Graduate Student at the Catholic University of Bukavu in the Department of Environment and member of Global Youth Biodiversity Network
Gabriella is a 2nd year of a graduate in the Faculty of Sciences, Department of Environment. She contributes to the environment in several areas, but more specifically in the fight against plastic pollution at the local level. She has worked on
inter-universities awareness campaign with GYBN-DRC on the theme beat plastic pollution.
Name: Cyrille John Kangunza
Country: Congo Republic
About him: Volunteer with Greenpeace-DRC and a member with the Congolese Youth Biodiversity Network.
John is a 25 year old environmentalist and advocate living in DRC, one of countries riddled with enormous biodiverse resources. He is a University student with subject in environmental sciences in the field of biodiversity, nature conservation and endogenous knowledge. John is a volunteer with Greenpeace in DRC and also member with the Congolese youth biodiversity network.
Name: Diphus Kabagambe
About him: Volunteer for Uganda Youth Biodiversity Network.
Diphus has participated in several climate action campaigns, joined the youth and organized tree plantation outreaches. Diphus had also participated in organizing the Earth day 2020 event where he was chairing the communication and mobilization
committee, participated in Earth day 2020 buildup events such as teach Ins in communities and schools as well as clean Ups activities in national parks and markets. Diphus has taken on a tree planting project in one of national forestry authority newly gazated forest reserve land in kibaale district in a place called kanaga which was deforested by encroachers. He has managed to plant more than a thousand trees which will help the environment positively.
Name: Lopeyok Francis
About him: Founder and Team Leader at Karamoja Youth Effort to Save Environment Lopeyok Francis is the Founder and Team Leader at Karamoja Youth Effort to Save Environment. He leads successful *institutional greening project* that targeted improving the forest cover in institutions in Karamoja. Francis also led the *2020 Go Green Campaign* which aimed at supporting the one billion campaign initiated at the national level. Francis has been the man behind exposing Karamojas beauty to the world by advocating for the undiscovered Karamoja rich of diverse fauna and flora. He made the first mountain climbing event to the top of Mt. Moroto that attracted a number of participants from different sectors and it became a turning point for nature advocacy in the region.
Name: Isaac Saaka
About him: Projects Officer, Youth AID Initiative Ghana
Isaac Saaka is the Projects Officer for Youth AID Initiative Ghana and also an advocate for the planting of trees in forest areas. He trains young farmers on climate change adaptation techniques as well as by introducing to them new and modern methods of farming that improve crop yield and their livelihoods. By working with Youth AID over the past few years, he has been able to empower 200 children from 10 basic schools in his region (Eastern) to engage in tree plantation through the 1 child, 1 tree project: a project that also enhances the knowledge level of basic schools students on the Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 13.
Name: James Njuguna
About him: Founder and Executive Director of Happy Community
James Njuguna is the Founder and Executive Director of Happy Community. He is also a local farmer and lawyer, turned advocate and activist for the environment, especially for his home lands, the so-called arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) of Kenya. Through his initiatives and projects, he provides the local communities with environmentally and economically sustainable alternatives. The focus of his organization is primarily on the most vulnerable people, women.
Name: Maguette Ba
About her: Student and Television Host
Maquette Ba is a Student and Television Host. She runs a television program called “Télé-Environment” available on YouTube and also on Play-Store where she discusses problems to the environment and engages young people. She invites the actors and authorities to speak on sustainable solutions to protect the environment and connect her audience.
Name: Mallayka Ianna Oddenyo
About her: Climate Activist, Model and Environmental Ambassador, Kisumu County Mallayka Ianna Oddenyo is an 11 year old youth activist, model and a Little Environmental Ambassador Kisumu County. She sensitizes peers and youth on the importance of recycling and the importance of managing waste. Mallayka has won Green Kids Award in Kenya and is the Cabinet Secretary for Environment at her school.
Name: Manal Bidar
About her: Climate Activist for African Climate Hub and Morocco Youth Government Manal Bidar is a Climate Activist for African Climate Hub and Morocco Youth Government. She organized her first climate strike at the age of 13, and has represented the Kingdom of Morocco, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs & the African Youth Climate Hub initiative in the United Nations Youth Climate Summit.
Minal has conducted clean up campaign at beaches, advises the national government and represents youth in decision making processes.
Name: Mbazi Gabriel Marissa
About her: Founder and Lead Scientist of an environmental conservation initiative called Environmental Conservation Network.
Mbazi Marissa is the founder and Lead Scientist of an Environmental Conservation initiative called Environmental Conservation Network that connects environmental scientists to work on programs focused on Invasive Species, Climate Change, Pollution, Climate Smart Agriculture, Wildfires, Clean Energy and Trees Restoration to support United Nations to raise awareness on the 2030 in the fulfillment of the SDGs like SDG 4, 5, 7, 11 13 & 14.
Mbazi is also the former vice president of Tanzania Forestry Students’ Association that connects undergraduate and postgraduate students’ pursuing forestry studies on the Tanzanian soil and former Chairman of United Nations Youth Charter at Sokoine University of Agriculture. She has also visited countries in England, Kenya and Ghana to take part in the youth educational exchange programs.
Name: Ouattara Miti Madina
Country: Burkina Faso
About him: Member, Sahelian Youth Network for the Climate
Ouattara Miti Madina works with Sahelian Youth Network for the Climate and empowers youth on climate change interventions.
Name: Prosper Iradukunda
About him: Student at University of Rwanda in Forestry and Nature Conservation; Founder Rwanda Youth Network of the Program of Man and Biosphere
Prosper Iradukunda is a student at University of Rwanda in Forestry and Nature Conservation and he is also the Founder of Rwanda Youth Network of the Program of Man and Biosphere, which works closely with UNESCO-Rwanda by connecting volunteers from different universities in Rwanda to engage on issues of conservation, environmental sciences to promote climate action and increase awareness on the relationship between people and nature.
Name: Ursula Doriane
About him: Teacher and Entrepreneur at E-green Entrepreneurship Academy
Ursula Doriane is a Teacher and Entrepreneur at E-green Entrepreneurship Academy. She set up a unit for converting plant waste into ecological charcoal and plastic waste into ecological pavers called “Paulownia-Tech”.
Name: Vimbainashe Chado
About him: Student and Environmentalist
Vimbainashe Chado is a 17 year old is part of his school club on Environmental and Wildlife. He takes regular environmental awareness sessions on collecting litter in separate bins, plastic, metal, glass, paper and hazardous for recycling, taking time to learn small details about the types of plastics they should buy that can be recycled such as PET which can be recycled more often than LDPE.
Vimbai has participated and won several national environmental quizzes in support of NGO’s such as WEZ, Wildlife and environment Zimbabwe assisted by government organisations, EMA, Environmental Management Agency. These quizzes have helped spread environmental awareness in youth from an early primary age in a way that is fun and competitive.
Name: Zuhura Ahmad
About him: Student, Volunteer at Earth Day network Tanzania and Tanzania Youth Biodiversity Network.
Zuhura is a student of Sokoine University of Agriculture and a Volunteer of Earth Day network Tanzania and Tanzania Youth Biodiversity Network. Zuhura volunteers in environmental conservation campaigns like planting trees and teach-in’s to provide awareness to schools and universities in regards to conservation.
Name: Phonevilay Soukhy
About Her: Phonevilay Soukhy is engaged in research that focuses on water related issues in laos around luang Prabang in particular. She is with a research project that investigates ways to strengthen groundwater governance in rapidly urbanizing areas of the lower Mekong region Xangthong, Vientiane. Phonevilay has also worked on projects such as those that investigate how livelihoods of those living along the Nam Ou river are changing and the role of traditional and local practices of those who live in watershed areas in Thapene and Nong khuay villages. In addition she has also worked on documenting the changing rural-urban linkages of the rubber plantation in Numbak District. She is a graduate in Environmental Science and Management from Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (TUAF)
Name: Kunduz Adylbekova
About Her: Kunduz is a civic eco-activist, as well as a Program Manager at the Archa Initiative, which is an environmental organization that promotes sustainable development with focus on protection and development of green spaces in Kyrgyzstan. With an extensive experience in sustainable development, Kunduz actively engages in local actions to protect green spaces and initiatives to combat air pollution in cities.
She is interested in studies on environmental social inequality, traditional ecological knowledge, and conservation of ecosystems.
Name: Bridget Williams
Country: New Zealand
Bridget is the founder of social enterprise, Bead & Proceed, which exists to educate people about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspires action towards them through creativity. Her passion for sustainability and using creativity as a tool for innovation has made her a recognised SDGs expert, assisting businesses and organisations with SDG strategic alignment and target reporting. She employs these skills to help businesses make authentic sustainable change and is renowned for her energy and enthusiasm, ensuing all staff and clients are taken on an SDG journey. As a former solicitor, Bridget thrives solving complex problems and practicing effective leadership in her governance roles. This includes being Deputy Chair of the Fendalton/Waimairi/Harewood Community Board and Trustee of the Christchurch Arts Festival. Bridget is also a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network and Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Christchurch Hub, which has led her to become a creditable global change maker. Her efforts have been recognised and endorsed by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark and the JCI Osaka Outstanding Young Person’s Programme.
Name: Adriana María Ávila Albanes
Country: El Salvador
Brief bio: Adriana is a member of the World Life Youth Network of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec biosphere reserve, and he takes regular part in several environmental activities. He spoke at the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda about the terrestrial ecosystem. As a student of agronomic engineering, he has also addressed people in rural communities on the environmental themes of agroecology and environmentally friendly farming techniques. He has also conducted trainings on other environmental themes of biodiversity and renewable energy. Adriana shared that in the long term she wants to specialise in agroecology to be able to work with rural communities and help them work on their farms in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. She wants to spread awareness among schools and youth in El Salvador to help them live in harmony with the nature, so that they imbibe these values from a young age.
Name: Blanca Isabel Lima Jiménez
Country: El Salvador
Brief Bio: Blanca is part of the organization called CONFRAS, a member-based organisation that promotes the cooperative spirit, sustainable practices, and a level playing field in the food chain. She has organized several campaigns and conducted trainings on various environmental themes that include soil conservation, use of organic fertilizers, and promotion of eco-friendly practices in farming and agriculture sector. Blanca is also accredited as an agro-ecological promoter in El Salvador. At CONFRAS, she also provides agroecological inputs and trainings to avoid the use of hybrid and transgenic seeds. Blanca promotes implementation of the Family Farming Law that is also being promoted and supported in conjunction with other organizations including CONFRAS, so that this law is approved by the Government of El Salvador. The law guarantees that agrochemicals will not be used on the farm lands and state will be under the obligation to provide farmers with tools, technical assistance, among others, for the implementation of good agricultural practices. Blanca has taken part in marches and rallies to promote the law of food sovereignty, access to land and eco-friendly means of production. She believes that farming practices are closely interrelated to the human health and environmental restoration, and thus strongly works on several issues in the sector that range from poor environmental legislation, forgotten public policies, corruption in environmental permits, degradation of natural resources, among many others.
Name: Diego Francisco Campos Koreas
Country: El Salvador
Brief Bio: Diego Francisco leads a youth group that is dedicated to the empowerment of young people on several themes including human development, environmental awareness & restoration, and economic development. It promotes environmental campaigns and alliances in convergence with schools, mayors and NGOs. Diego carried out an environmental education project with UNESCO that focused on the conservation of sea turtle.
He is also a member of several important forums and committees that includes Xiriualtique Jiquilisco Biosphere Reserve Management Committee, delegate of the Network of Youth of Reserves of Biospheres IberoMab and the Caribbean in El Salvador, coordinator of the
environment commission for Latin American Youth Without Borders. In the year 2020, Diego got “National Award for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights 2020” from the Office of the Attorney for the Defence of Human Rights in El Salvador.
Name: Katherine Orietta Pivaral Toledo
Brief Bio: Katherine is an environmental and development engineer, who has also trained herself on environmental issues with the Climate Reality leadership program. She is also a co-founder of a company dedicated to the production of sustainable packaging. Katherine is part of an environmental circle of the Rural Youth Network of Guatemala and part of an organization titled – Organisation of Scientific Women (OWSD) wherein she gives environmental advice on various projects based on scientific evidence and focus on nature. She plans to spread the youth and climate action programs in the whole of Guatemala to help contribute towards restoration of the Earth.
Name: Jesús Daniel Céspedes Pineda
Country: Costa Rica
Brief Bio: Jesús works closely with the Rural Youth Network in Costa Rica, which promotes awareness and implements environmental programs aimed at strengthening community development practices, all led by the rural young people. Jesús led a campaign called La Enredada Ambiental that aimed to promote environmental actions in communities especially among rural youth on the importance of protecting our planet. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the campaign was carried out through virtual webinars and talks that were held on a weekly basis. Several topics were covered during these sessions which included – waste management, water conservation, climate change and ecological friendly practices. Recently, he also took part in preparation of the work plan for the next year of the Circle of the Environment of the rural youth network of Costa Rica.
His future plan is to promote environmental awareness in at least 25% of young people from the rural territories of Costa Rica on the aspects of climate change, sustainable development and environmental conservation.
Name: Vishnu PR
Brief Bio: At a young age, Vishnu has achieved wide platforms. Vishnu was the only Indian to get selected in the first UN Youth climate summit at UNHQ, New York. He was also the selected delegate to the first UNESCO MGIEP World Youth Conference on Kindness, World Youth Forum at Egypt. He has a Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship and received Compassionate Integrity Training by LIFE University. In partnerships with the Change Can Change Climate Change (C5) Foundation, he puts together programs that focus on mitigation and on adaptation tools for tackling the problem of man-made climate change. Vishu has a BA in Sociology and a Masters in International Business.
Name: Grace Ah Young Country: Samoa
Brief Bio: Grace Alofa Danielle Ah Young is in Apia, the harbour-side capital of the Polynesian island country, Samoa. Samoa’s Prime Minister has awarded her remarkable work several times. As president of the Lanulau’ava Student Association, she leads a team that helps educate people to the urgent need to conserve and protect the country’s islands for future generations. Grace has also worked with the Samoa Conservation Society. One of their lead programs is the Samoa Climate Smart Reforestation Carbon Offset Project (C-offset), for which youth such as Grace work on afforestation and help raise awareness about environmental issues among younger generations, in particular, girls. Grace is presently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.
Name: Saurabh Jain
Brief Bio: At the young age of 24 years, Saurabh is the Special Assistant to the Cabinet Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Maharashtra, one of India’s largest and influential states. He has the distinction of being the youngest secretary ever appointed to a minister in the government. As a Special Assistant, he drives several noteworthy engagements and initiatives on behalf of the Minister. These include success in getting Mumbai, C40 membership. Saurabh relentless works to place Maharashtra State at the top of all states’ list in India with the highest area under conserved reserves. Results include the government notifying urban forest areas on the periphery of the capital city, Mumbai, and declaring close to 20,000 acres of mangroves along the state’s coastline as reserved forests. To help reduce animal-human conflicts, around 216,000 acres are now declared conservation reserves that serve as wildlife corridors. Saurabh also leads the government’s research and policy team for the ministries’ My Earth’ campaign that encourages the bureaucracy across the state to adapt solar rooftops and rainwater percolation pits. Saurabh is a keen cyclist and helps run Mumbai’s largest cycling community with around 5,000 members. Saurabh is also a Konrad Adenauer stipend holder. He is also the Co-Founder of Citizens Converge. This organization aims to bring political leaders and other public representatives closer to their citizens to discuss policy level issues with a more holistic approach.
Name: Nevada Palmer
Brief Bio: Nevada Palmer is a young man on a mission. He has a genuine love for the field of electronics. When the opportunity came for him to participate in a LED Design and Assembly course, he did not hesitate to apply for the training. Having participated in the course organized by the St. Catherine Community Development Agency (SACDA), he was recognized as one of the most outstanding trainees. SACDA further selected him to be an energy warden for the community, where he would educate persons about the energy-efficient practices in their homes and businesses. Following his outstanding performance in the LED course, including his ability to efficiently assemble LED bulbs, Nevada got selected by the trainer to assist with training some 15 persons in another community. This opportunity was an enriching one for him, and he now looks forward to training more persons, especially youths in LED design and assembly.
Name: Tajeic Adams
Brief Bio: When Tajeic Adams started studying Agricultural Science at Guys Hill High School, she fell in love with everything agriculture had to offer. As a result, she became an active member of the Jamaica 4-H Club and entered numerous competitions like the Climate Smart Technology Challenge. The team won the competition in 2019 and were featured in the Jamaica Observer entitled “Climate change tech champs”. A group of students from three (3) different practicals (Agricultural Science, Electrical, and Building) came together to build a portable greenhouse. This greenhouse was not just a simple one but was, in fact quite complicated. As we Jamaicans would say, it was an all-in-one house. The greenhouse has a section for our crops that couldn’t be grown in an external environment, for example, strawberries. Additionally, the portable greenhouse also has a fishpond where an irrigation system was connected to the pond to provide both water and fertilizer (fish waste) for the strawberries.
Name: Yanique Beckford
Brief Bio: Yanique Beckford is a teacher by profession and currently teaches Agricultural Science and Integrated Science at the Holmwood Technical High School. Over the years, she has been actively participating in various environmental activities through the CASE Cadet Unit, Mission Me Club (which she founded), Rotaract Club of Mandeville, and the Manchester 4H club. Through the Mission Me Club, Yanique and her partners provide training to community members, mainly youths, on proper environmental practices, including tree planting and the development of various environmentally friendly insecticides made from natural materials such as (onion, garlic, hot pepper and plant starch). Yanique’s love for agricultural research is based on her belief that organic pesticides are healthier for both plants and humans and helps to preserve the life of other living organisms such as insects. Her strong advocacy against synthetic chemicals is the fact that they contribute negatively to farmers’ health and contribute to the relocation, reduction, or extinction of some organisms vital to the proper function of our ecosystem. Additionally, in her mentoring role as a teacher, Yanique has helped her students copped the coveted NCTVET Innovations Award for the 2017/2018 period for their Tech Sci Irish Potato Organic Pesticide.
Name: Ramazan Oğuz Tosun
Brief Bio: Oğuz graduated from environmental engineering department at Middle East Technical University. In his freshman year, he involved in European Students’ Forum (AEGEE), which changed his life by offering him chances to participate in several international youth programs with different focuses such as youth rights, democracy, and the environment. After he graduated from the United States Institutes- Global Environmental Issues held in Hawaii, Colorado, and Washington D.C. as a scholar of Department of States, he launched the Change for Climate (C4C) Project in Turkey. During this long-term study, three different training modules with different target groups such as university students and municipalities
have been designed and introduced in Turkey’s climate sector via small grant programs such as UNDP/ GEF/ SGP, East-West Center, SIDA and U.S. Mission Abroad. Thanks to his efforts through C4C Project, he was appointed as one of the eight World Climate Simulation Program Ambassadors in world by Climate Interactive. He also facilitated the side events, namely Addressing Climate Change as a Social Issue at UNFCCC 24th Conference of Parties (COP 24) in Katowice; Future of Voluntary Carbon Market and Emission Trading System under at COP 25 Turkey Pavilion. In his current professional way, he focuses on carbon abatement projects, carbon markets (ETS, Carbon Tax, Voluntary Carbon Projects, and Voluntary Carbon Trading). He worked for the biggest carbon consulting company in Turkey, namely Life Climate and Energy Limited, as a carbon markets specialist for two years. In this period, he joined World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) Project Turkey. In September 2019, his paper titled Macroeconomic Approach to Climate Crisis is published by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization Turkey. Recently he is working in the world’s biggest carbon consulting company EnKing International as Carbon Manager Turkey. Apart from his recent professional career, he is a Global Balance Association member by volunteering as decarbonization policies coordinator. Since 2020 October, he has been doing his master in the Earth System Science program at METU. His master thesis will focus on EU Border Carbon Adjustment.
Name: Xin Hui Woon
About her: Xin Hui is currently a Singaporean diplomat covering the ASEAN and Australia portfolios. Before her present role, Xin Hui made concerted efforts to understand the international environmental governance regime and how different players from across the globe could share best practices and collaborate on solutions. In 2019, she was selected to represent Singapore at the US Department of State’s Environmental Issues and Natural Resources Management Programme under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, where she presented Singapore’s environmental challenges and solutions in discussions with US government, industry and civil society representatives and fellow Southeast Asian youth delegates. She was also selected to represent Singapore in ClimateForce 2041’s expedition to the Arctic along with representatives from 21 other countries. As the only Southeast Asian country represented on the expedition, hers was the voice for the region. In 2018, she organised the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Environment Forum and spearheaded the conference’s publication focused on the links between climate change, regional food and energy security, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Xin Hui believes that judicious and equitable policy cannot be enacted without a firm grounding in science and understanding the perspectives of all stakeholders, especially of hitherto marginalised communities. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (First Class Honours) in Geography and Political Science, and studied systems modelling in her own time.
Her stints as Primates Research Intern at the Jane Goodall Institute and Research Assistant at the Institute of Water Policy allowed her to hone critical science communication skills and produce policy-relevant research on climate change, biodiversity loss, water and natural resources.
Xin Hui was also a varsity football player and symphonic band musician for over ten years. She continues to enjoy fieldwork in Singapore’s forests and intertidal areas teeming with biodiversity, and is working on developing educational resources to augment eco-literacy in Singapore for different age groups.
Name: Nayoun Kim
Country: Republic of Korea
About her: Nayoun says, ‘When I was young, my grandfather’s backyard was my playground. It had grasshoppers roaming around, crayfish and the minnows in the stream nearby, and I could harvest sweet potatoes that grew there’. So began her fondness for nature. Her fondness for different species was compounded after reading books by Dr Jane Goodall. As she grew up, she started to grow interest for all of Earth’s natural world: from giant animals to small fingernail-sized ones and the planet’s varied flora. She naturally chose to study Climate Energy Systems Engineering. ‘It helped me understand how climate affects life on Earth’ she says. However, as she started to learn about Environmental Engineering, she thought that what she really wanted is to get people to participate in environmental issues and persuade them to act, not just learn about the environment itself. To fulfill this another dream, she changed her major to Video Design and is working on environmental animations. Nayoun has actively participated in several talk shows on ethical practices regarding animals, including those hosted by the UN. She has also worked as a coordinator for programs that aim to inspire youth to be stewards of the environment.
Name: Sashagay Middleton
Country: Antigua and Barbuda
About her: Sashagay is the Chief Executive Officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Ecosystems Protected Area (MEPA) Trust Inc. This is one of ten national conservation trust funds set up throughout the Caribbean region to support conservation and environmental initiatives through project and program implementations. She is a committed environmentalist. Her work as a volunteer with the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grant’s (GEF-SGP) for a program aimed to provide opportunities for the voice of local communities to be heard. This she took up when still in school.
Sashagay has actively fundraised and formed synergies and partnerships to support conservation-related activities by providing financial support to the vulnerable communities, the government, non-government agencies, local communities and more. She has been a member of the National Steering Committee of the GEF-SGP for the past nine years in her country. Sashagay’s major focus of work is to support the local communities throughout Antigua and Barbuda. This she does by helping them write proposals, manage finances, and ensuring that their socio, economic and environmental activities are integrated with the country’s overall development process. Her work with the youths helps form partnerships
and includes the all-important transfer of intergenerational traditional knowledge. She is called upon to speak on the methods employed at several international platforms.
In 2017, when Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, Sashagay made use of her established networks to reach donors. As the CEO of the Marine Ecosystems Protected Area (MEPA) Trust Inc., she led her team in hurricane affected areas to speed up recovery. Impressed with her success, MEPA was invited to form a strategic partnership with the Waitt Institute and the International Community Foundation to support cleanup and recovery efforts. The funds raised in their joint efforts to speed up recovery amounted to USD 600,000. This was just one example where relationship-building skills and competencies have helped developed meaningful synergies across several platforms.
Name: Shanna Chantel Challenger
Country: Antigua and Barbuda
About her: Shanna Challenger is a natural communicator with a great sense of humour and with ingenious ways of engaging audiences. Take for example her donning a Barbuda Warbler costume to teach school children about the island’s sole endemic bird. Combining her skills in oratory, a passion for the environment, and her rigorous scientific training, Shanna is very effective in popularizing the need for environmental protection among not just the inhabitants of Antigua and Barbuda, but across the several islands of the Caribbean.
Shanna has worked on the well-known biodiversity project to tackle climate change through the restoration of habitats, saving species from extinction with the removal of invasive species on the one-mile-long island of Redonda. Surrounded by unstable cliffs, the island was crumbling into the sea, seeming unable to sustain life. It is considered a Key Biodiversity Area—a site of global importance for wildlife conservation—in particular, because all of Redonda’s reptiles are Critically Endangered and live nowhere else. For 3 years, Shanna coordinated the Redonda Restoration Program. Using ground and aerial baiting techniques, she spearheaded the relocation of feral goats and eradication of over 6,000 black rats that caused a catastrophic decline in the island’s habitats and native wildlife. The island was declared rat-free in 2018, and today is almost unrecognizable with its grassy habitats and thriving reptile and bird populations.
Name: Gndzinisa Gcinile
Country: Eswatini (Formerly known as Swaziland)
About him: Volunteer for Eco Youth Engage as the Research and Environmental Education Coordinator. Eco Youth Engage is a youth-led non profit organisation that aims to promote environmental awareness in Eswatini. I am the founding member of the GYBN Eswatini chapter. Whereby I serve as the Vice-chairperson of the Eswatini Youth Biodiversity Network. I am also helping with the establishment of the Eswatini MAB youth network.
Name: Brenda Mwale
About her: Youth Leader and Bachelor of Science in Food Technology at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Member of National Youth Network for Climate Change where sheand advo lobbies for climate action and is a part of Green Girls Platform which helps in empowering girls to be at the forefront as climate change negotiators.
Name: Guichene Kari Aghaichata
About him: Law School Graduate and member of Scout Association of Niger. Initiatives green jobs forum encouraging young people to become entrepreneurs in different ecological projects
Name: Habib Ben Rabe
About him: Member of JVE Niger, In 2016 was selected to participate in COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco. Works with the French Institute for Research for Development to monitor desertification, sustainable management of waste, floods and water pollution.
Name: Abdoulaye Salamatou
About him: Member of Scout Association of Niger.
Name: Keise Ali
About him: Works for Somalian Ministry of Environment and is a Youth Activist. Runs tree planting campaigns locally and educates students in schools to take part in environmental protection, climate action and planting trees.
Name: Zildat Wahid Juma
About him: Founder of Zanzibar Green Initiative
Name: Afraa Al Rahbi
About her: Afraa Abdullah Al Rahbi is an environmental engineering graduate from the German University of Technology in Oman. An ardent environment lover with a special interest in plantation, she has conducted many environmental awareness campaigns with the help of her teachers and colleagues. Her major in environmental engineering helped her gain an understanding of various environmental concepts and issues, especially those related to the challenges of climate change. This led to her joining the team of SustainableOman, a non-governmental organization that works on representing an effort to give every citizen and resident simple and workable actions to help achieve Sustainable
Development Goals. Recently, she was chosen from over 5000 candidates for training in the solid waste management sector at the Be’ah company.
Name: Abhiir Bhalla
About him: Identified by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as amongst the foremost emerging youth environmentalists internationally, Abhiir Bhalla is a climate advocate with eight years of work in the field. Abhiir’s work is focused primarily on air pollution and waste segregation. In addition, he aims to build awareness about other environment-related issues as well that include renewable energy, food systems, global working, and more. Through his climate change podcast, ‘Candid Climate Conversations’, he helps build awareness about these issues. Abhiir engages actively with several environmental non-profits in India and England to advocate for reforms in emissions policies and standards so help reduce the ill effects of air pollution. (FYI: according to the WHO, air pollution is a major cause of deaths around the globe).
Name: Ahmid Chernor Jalloh
Country: Sierra Leone
About him: Ahmid is the founder and present Executive Director Youth Action for Relentless Development Organization Sierra Leone (YARDO-SL). He has led this organization since its formation in 2014. Ahmid works tirelessly worked to achieve the aims of the organization to help young people understand and adopt sustainable lifestyles. As Executive Director, he reaches out to other environmental organizations to partner with YARDO-AL, mobilizes resources, and helps youth develop environmental stewardship. The funds he helped YARDO-SL secure the Global Environmental Facilities Small Grants Programme helped implement innovative land use mapping and reforestation of encroached water catchment area of the Guma Dam through community-led environmental Stewardship. The collective action of youth through this project helped protect the biodiversity, restore restores water, and regrow the green cover in the dam’s catchment area. Ahmid has also steered YARDO-SL to partner with the Freetown City Council to build awareness about the great value of trees and has encouraged care for these by distributing 1,500 fruit trees to the citizens of Freetown. His organization also partnered with the Environmental Foundation for Africa for the ‘Freetown, the Tree-town’. This initiative will plant and nurture 1,000,000 trees in
Freetown Municipality to counteract the impacts of climate change, species degradation and deforestation.
Name: Alisha Arora
About her: Striving to impact millions of individuals, 14-year-old Alisha and her sister Kenisha founded a nonprofit organisation called ‘The HopeSisters’. The organisation encourages young people to support the most vulnerable members of society. She has orchestrated several volunteer opportunities and initiatives for youth to help stymie the negates of our present lifestyles that result in degradation of our planet. These include persuading 200 youth leaders to set the example by collecting unmanaged garbage so that their peers follow on, advocating at several platforms and through the channels of media to youth to take on the mantle to environmental stewards from a young age, working with several corporates to start conversations on access to clean water for all, and leading +400 school boards’ initiatives to eliminate plastic and paper usage. Alisha has spoken about her concern for the environment at several conferences. These include those conducted by UNICEF, UN Canada, and DX3 Canada. She was also recently announced as the Diana Awardee 2021 for her work that has empowered tens of thousands of young people to give back and become ‘HopeSpreaders’. Her organisation now has over 50 school chapters and 200 youth leaders.
Name: Eleftherios-Lampros Arapakis
About him: Lefteris Arapakis is named the European Young Champion of the Earth for 2020 by the UN Environment Program. He is the Co-founder and Director of Enaleia. This
not-for-profit social enterprise works with fishermen to enable sustainable marine ecosystems.
Lefteris says: ‘Enaleia has built a strong network that includes all the relevant stakeholders to tackle the marine pollution and overfishing problems, from local fishing communities to recycling/upcycling partners. Specifically, the first step of our process in every port we operate is to educate fishermen about sustainable fishing techniques and train them to participate in our actions.’
Mediterranean CleanUp, the project he runs, trains and incentivises fishermen to bring the plastics they ‘fish’ back to port. This has resulted in the collection of thousands of kilos of plastic from the bottom of the sea every day. Also, used fishing equipment is collected to prevent it from ending up in the oceans. In sequence, in collaboration with organizations and companies, the collected marine plastic is integrated into the circular economy for recycling and upcycling.
To date, the efforts of Mediterranean CleanUp and the 1,000 fisherfolk engaged with it has helped remove 140000+ Kg of plastic from the bottom of the sea, 20000+ Kg of used fishing nets have been collected and upcycled into 260,000 pairs of socks. Presently it operates in 21 ports in Greece and Italy and is examining expansion to countries beyond Europe as well.
Name: Gifty Hemans
Country: Sierra Leone
About her: Gifty Hemans is with eWomen Sierra Leone, an organization in search of
eco-friendly innovative ideas that can lead to viable social enterprises focusing on giving back to the people, communities, and environment. It all started with the promotion of the slogan ‘Trash is Money’. Gifty demonstrated that the collection of waste, especially recyclable waste can be a lucrative business on its own. She then researched and mastered the art of making plastic paving stones from plastic waste; charcoal from coconut shells and other agricultural waste; constructing flower pots from waste tyres; award-winning trash bin to promote environmental sanitation; outdoor furniture from waste tyres; creating tree nurseries and promoting tree planting; producing local shoes from waste tyres, organizing education seminars on environmental issues and many other ideas. Gifty keeps researching environmentally friendly initiatives. She has instantiated in her university’s campus, the formation of UNIMAK, a youth group that aims to promote learning and encourage research to develop innovations that can help solve environmental issues such as deforestation, flooding and climate change.
Name: Maria Shaituro
About her: Maria is an active participant in several local ecological campaigns such as ‘Clean Forest’, ‘Youth for the Cleanliness of Cities and Villages’, ‘I Love Krasnopolye’, ‘Restoration of Springs of Belarus’, ‘Clean Coast’, ‘Let’s Save Our Planet’, ‘Family Trees. Since 2020 she has been the commander of the student ecological unit ‘Ecologist’. This engages in removing weeds and in their place, planting seedlings. During the 2020 Forest Week, five hectares of forest belts were cleared and many around 200 seedlings planted. Maria is a born leader who helps the youth work for a greener, cleaner and less polluted Earth, one where natural resource is conserved and grown.
Name: Meryem Tskhovrebadze
About her: In 2019, Meryem joined Association Chiatura Union (ACU) to help deal with the issues related to manganese mining in her home town, Chiatura. Manganese is mined here in an inappropriate way, which causes great damage to the city’s ecology, pollutes the air, soil, water and poses a threat to human health. With the Chiatura’s Student’s Council, she cleans the city streets, gathers the waste and also conducts tree plantation activities. She has recultivated an area of nine hectares in collaboration with UNDP Small Grants Program and Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia, one of the pioneering
research and expert organization in the field of developmental activities, found in the year 1995. Through her organization, Meryem has a strong connection with the Parliament of Georgia, especially their Environment Committee. Within the framework of the
EU-supported Georgia Climate Program her organization participated in the EU Green Week 2021 and the large-scale campaign – Act4Climate. The campaign aims to raise awareness in the community, especially among young people, about climate change and simple daily actions to help reduce climate change and mitigate its negative effects.
Name: Nana Deisadze
About her: 25-year-old Nana Deisadze from Tbilisi, Georgia worked as a researcher with several non-governmental organizations. This experience helped her work on several environmental issues: waste management, fighting against dirty energy, and protecting natural wealth, in particular. Her work built on an inborn interest Nana has in the natural world. As an ardent nature lover, she makes it a point to participate in protests and campaigns against climate change. One of the biggest she attended was in Berlin in 2018. Recently, she strongly campaigned against the setting up of a hydroelectric power plant in the Georgian city, Kutaisi. Nana collected funds to green a playground for children with plants and trees in the Okami village, which is situated just 5 km from the Occupation Zone. Nana has Masters in Social and Political Science with a major in Human Geography.
Name: Sri Nihal Tammana
Country: USA (New Jersey)
About him: 12-year-old Nihal Tammana is the Founder of ‘Recycle My Battery‘, a non-profit
he started in 2019. His slogan is ‘Saving Earth One Battery at a time’ for the organization he has set up to promote and facilitate proper battery disposal.
Nihal says, ‘I started this initiative because I found some 15 billion batteries get trashed every year. Just 1 percent of people follow the rules to dispose these properly. The rest – billions of batteries – end up in landfills, where they often cause catastrophic fires. That they pollute the environment is a given with the hazardous chemicals they contain leaching out when left to rot. My initiative aims to increase numbers for the proper disposal of batteries rapidly.’
Since its formation, Recycle My Battery has recycled over 75,000 batteries and grown to encompass over 70 volunteer staff, dozens of schools, and public libraries and offices of many businesses. Nihal says, ‘Our awareness campaigns have already reached around 1 million people. We place free-to-use battery bins and conduct large-scale education campaigns to spread awareness about the necessity for the health of both humans and all living things, not to thrash batteries randomly. US Senators and other public figures already appreciate the efforts. Nihal has won several international awards like Global Kids Achiever Award for 2020, and Citizens Award for 2020 from Woodbrook Elementary School, Edison NJ, to name a few. He has also been featured in the TEDx talk titled Saving Earth, One Battery At A Time!
Name: Oumar Mamadou Ba
About him: 26-year-old Oumar has participated in numerous field missions that aim to conserve the environment. In his country, Mauritania in Africa, Oumar works to help protect areas close to the Senegal River. This belt of rich biodiversity is a known habitat for many species of fauna and flora. It is precious land, as a large part of Mauritania is desert or semi desert. Oumar has also organized several awareness sessions for youth networks to encourage them to promote better land management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the use of products that harm the environment. Oumar has mobilized youth through a change-oriented approach in the municipalities of Kaedi, Lexeiba, Monguel, and El Mina) in Mauritania. His ability to network persuaded several associations to come together as one and combine efforts to help these areas become more environment friendly.
Name: Saviya Mohamed Lemine Sidina
About her: Saviya is the founder of the Youth Association for the Protection of the Environment (AJPE) in Maruritania. Created in 2008, AJPE is already recognized by the country’s Ministry of the Interior and Decentralization. Since its creation, AJPE has participated in many activities at the local level to protect the environment and the development of green spaces. It brought together youth to take civic actions to help turn the city of Zouerate greener. In 2019, in partnership with the micro-financing program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – SGP implemented by the UNDP, AJPE implemented a project to set up a modern nursery in Zouerate. This project has played a leading role in spreading culture and maintaining a healthy environment for the inhabitants of the city and in its suburbs.
Name: Jan Michał Dąbrowski (Johnny Dabrowski)
About him: Johnny Dabrowski aims to ensure that climate education is part of the school curriculum not just in his country but also in other European ones. He is a co-founder of the Climate Education Team of the Fridays for Future (FFF). Started in 2021, the Team presently comprises members from across Europe. Under his leadership, the Team has published Climate Education Demands and forwarded these to Ministers of Education in 15 European countries. Johnny has personally met and interacted with Minister of Education Poland. He is a student representative in his High School. In 2021 he organized a virtual Earth Day. Several environmental experts addressed the students on issues related to climate change and water. Johnny is also the co-founder of the Szkola Net 0 (Net Zero School). This is a hands-on guidebook for students to learn how to turn their schools net zero. In other words, for the school to match its energy requirements with what it itself produces.
Name: Vidya Yashwantbhai Patel
About her: Vidya Patel is a Birmingham-based dance artist, performer, and choreographer. Her training is in Kathak, a classical dance form in India. Vidya’s performances are fuelled by
collaborating across arts to raise awareness of the power of movement. Most recently, she choreographed the dance piece ‘Hey Honey’. Premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, this showcases nature, specifically honeybees, a species that is important for the survival of humans, for bees are one of the foremost agents of pollination, without their work nothing grows – no flowers, fruits and vegetables.
She is presently a Young Associate at Sadler’s Wells, the world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance. Vidya has performed in international touring works created by critically acclaimed artists Sir Richard Alston, Gary Clarke, Thick & Tight and Akademi. Since the pandemic, much of her work has taken place outdoors whilst developing dance work created amongst nature and inspired by global ecosystems.
Name: Noémie Thibout
Country: French Polynesia
About her: Noémie Thibout lives in Tahiti, the capital of French Polynesia. The country
comprises an archipelago of islands atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. All of 14 years, Noémie believes that music is universal, and can be a great vehicle to reach out to people about environment-related issues. With this in mind, in 2020, she composed and sang Dear Mr Presidents, a song that urges world leaders to step up climate actions and commitments. Dear Mr Presidents was premiered at Gaia World Tour, an online event at which scientists, artists and citizens came together to discuss climate issues. It was later played at the Protected: Kainaki II to COP 26 – Pacific Islands Forum High-Level Roundtable on Urgent Climate Change Action that had representatives from 18 Pacific nations come together.
Noémie has also received support from several top environmental organizations and ministers, including New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister. The president of her country, whom she personally met with, has announced that the song will be played at the country’s international climate-related summits.
Name: Yan Carlos Labrada Abreu
About him: Yan Carlos Labrada Abreu from Cuba was World Bank Group’s choice at their annual Innovate4Climate conference in 2021 to be part of a team of young communicators who were handed over control of Connect4Climate’s social media channels. They covered the events through the lens of their own experiences. A committed environmentalist, at the event, he spoke about achieving carbon-free development with the adoption of policies worldwide that set carbon prices. Yan is currently the Coordinator of Empoderando Juventudes La Habana. This organization works with a group of young Cubans to improve the quality of life of various communities in their capital city, Havana. He has brought together volunteers to cleanup the beaches and coasts. Yan also volunteers with Proyecto Akokán where he had participated in initiatives such as planting trees. In the Proyecto Akokán he had also organized community talks where he spoke with communities about caring for the environment.
Name: Jenk Oz
About him: Jenk is a 16-year-old social entrepreneur, public speaker and social change activist who recently received The Diana Award 2021 honour roll, one of the highest accolades a young person can receive for social action and humanitarian efforts. Jenk is the Founder of the social enterprise ‘Thred Media’, a publishing, consulting, media and production company focused on social change news and insights aimed at teenagers and young adults. His work has reached Generation Z across the globe, with young people from over 140 countries having visited Thred.com.
At a young age, Jenk has already given three TEDxTalks: ‘Can a ‘Like’ change the world- the power of clicktivism‘ and has spoken at Oxford Global’s Model United Nations; Vox Youth Marketing in NYC; Amazon AWS Summit- London and Brand Week- Istanbul, to name a few. Jenk is featured in 250+ articles, including Forbes and Business Insider and has several notable awards to his credit. Jenk sits on the Marketing Board for several companies, including Founders4Schools and is an Ambassador for Climate Science, Impactr, Bite Back (Food), Force of Nature (Climate), Youthify (Climate) and Youthtopia (Climate).
Name: Mya-Rose Shanti Craig
Mya-Rose is a British ornithologist and activist. In 2020, she received an honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Bristol and is said to be the youngest British person to receive such an award. Mya-Rose founded the nonprofit Back2Nature to run nature camps for black and minority ethnic children. Her efforts as a bird ringer (that helps in the identification of birds) won her the National Biodiversity Network’s 2018 Gilbert White Youth Award for recording terrestrial and freshwater wildlife. Mya-Rose champions equal access to nature, a halt to climate change, ensuring global climate justice, and the importance of reducing biodiversity loss whilst keeping in mind the rights of indigenous people. Her book ‘We Have A Dream’ highlights 30 young environmentalists of colour worldwide, including 11 indigenous people. By amplifying their voices and fantastic work that most started from a young age, she rectifies what she calls ‘media in the Global North rarely mentioning efforts of indigenous communities. Mya-Rose is called upon to speak at important climate forums, write articles, and is featured regularly on TV and other media. Her blog Birdgirl is widely read and is followed by a passionate growing community of young and old.
Name: Elliot Connor
Elliot Connor is a science writer, presenter and producer. He is best known for founding the international environmental NGO Human Nature Projects, an international environmental charity that supports volunteers across 107 countries. Elliot is the author of “Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal. “. His lifelong goal is to reframe our human relationship with the natural world. Elliot has been an invited speaker at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Samsung HQ in South Korea, the World Climate Forum, and TED. From Quito, Ecuador to Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, to quiet Sydney suburbs, he applies his leadership acumen and
systems to try and solve some of the most pressing issues of our century. Elliot is a recipient of Samsung’s 2020 Eco-Hero Award and recognized as a Young Citizen of the Year and Young Landcare Leader by the Australian Government. He is a graduate of the Clinton Global Initiative University.
Name: Charlie Brocard
Charlie began his engagement as an environmental activist by joining CliMates, an international think-and-do-tank on climate change, which gathers students and young workers from all around the world to work on innovative solutions to climate change. He joined CliMates in 2019 and continues to support their Advocacy Coordination team. Charlie also joined Generation Climate Europe (GCE) in March 2020 to launch their Biodiversity Working Group. From June to October 2020, Charlie coordinated the Youth for Agroecology Campaign of the CliMates. This aims to make the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) more ambitious and more agroecology oriented. Charlie and his team have written an article with seven precise proposals to make the CAP more ambitious, based on the Farm to Fork Strategy.
In 2021, Charlie represented CliMates at GCE’s board. GCE is one of the largest coalition of youth-led networks at the European level, pushing for more decisive action from the EU on climate and environmental issues. Within GCE, Charlie founded the Europe Parliament Youth Dialogue in January 2021, the first structured dialogue between youth and the European Parliament. Charlie set up three thematic sessions on the European Union Trade System and food systems in 2021. In the same year, he launched Sillage, a youth movement on agroecology and agriculture. Charlie is additionally planning a series of collective restoration, training, and dialogues between peasants and young activists.
Name: Aryan Gautam
Aryan Gautam is the youngest Founder/Director of a Non-Profit Organization in Canada, Save the Planet – Open Doors. Under his leadership, his NGO is working on several noteworthy projects namely HEER (Housing Energy Efficiency Rating), the restoration of the endangered Butternut tree, among others. Combined, these projects have a minimum social impact on 15 million people. From the age of 9, he has dedicated 10,000 volunteer hours working with many organizations and people to trigger a change in his community, devoting his time to spreading awareness towards climate change, philanthropy and environmentalism. In 2021, Aryan, at 15 years old, was recognized with the prestigious – The Diana Award. His community work gets written about by print media – both news and in magazines. Aryan is recognized as one of the youngest members of several councils. To name a few,
Ontario Nature Youth Council, the Youth Director of Mississauga Climate Action, Cooperating Activist for Indigenous organizations, Eagle Spirits of the Great Waters and Eco-Spirits, among others.
Name: Bruna Martins
Organization: Instituto Limpa Brasil
“I’ve always had a spirit of leadership, and that is why I am often searching for volunteer work in NGOs that address causes that interest me, especially those related to the environment”, says Bruna Martins – an 18-year-old from Brazil. Bruna works with Instituto Limpa Brasil on the #EuCuidoDoMeuQuadrado initiative (#ITakeCareOfMySpace). The initiative aims to raise awareness and mobilize and engage society for a sustainable future that helps preserve the environment. The activities of the initiative are aligned to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Bruna supports the project’s implementation in 10 countries. She helps train volunteers and synergizes with other NGO leaders to clean places with accumulated waste, map natural resources such as river springs so that initiatives get designed for their protection, and assembles teams to showcase Brazil’s achievements internationally. Bruna is working to lead cleanups in 1,200 municipalities of Brazil. She supports training in schools for children of all ages to prepare future generations to be environmentally conscious adults.
Name: Pedro Urioste
Organization: Limpa Brasil
Pedro Urioste is with Limpa Brasil Instituto Limpa Brasil. This non-profit organization aims to raise awareness among the Brazilian population to preserve the environment and life by carrying out integrated projects involving civil society, the private sector and government agencies. He aims to promote a sense of responsibility among youth and communities towards proper ways of waste disposal. Pedro says, “This initiative opened my eyes to environmental problems. It inspired me to do something. Today, for Limpa Brasil, I help mobilize young people like me who are still in school, to come together with their peers and teachers to work on important environmental causes”. Pedro’s is presently focusing on mobilizing youth around the country for multiple cleanup and recycling events. The goal for him and his team is to build a new environmental culture for Brazil over the next two years. They hope to achieve it by constituting committees of young leaders and have them combine efforts with adult leaders.
Name: Kaif Ali
Kaif Ali is a 20-year-old international award-winning architecture student from India. He is passionate about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and actively works to help achieve these. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, while completing his Bachelor’s degree in architecture, he designed a prefabricated building to help reduce transmission of the virus and house refugees worldwide. Kaif is pleased that his design is recognized by the Government of India and the United Nations. His design is also implemented in Lagos (Nigeria). Kaif encourages his fellow students to make green buildings a significant focus of their work as well. ”Receiving the Diana Award in 2021”, he says, ”has provided a strong impetus to my Covid-19 Innovation Space Era project.”
Name: José Luis Enrique Arrieta Gutierrez
Jose is a country coordinator of the 16th UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY16). He is also a Climate Ambassador of the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN), an initiative of the World Bank Group Youth Community (Y2Y). Jose is the President & Co-founder of SocialGood Peru, part of SocialGood, an international community of changemakers convened by the UN Foundation. SocialGood Peru is a member of the UNEP Major Group for Children and Youth; YOUNGO – Youth NGOs in UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). A Climate Reality Leader trained by former US Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project, Jose is also a chapter Leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a TEDx Licensee and Managing Director of TEDxBarranco. He has taken part in several critical national forums, including as a Mentor Lead in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps: Virtual Training Latin America organized by Climate Reality. Representing his organization, Jose took part in giving contributions during the Local Plan for Climate Change of the Province of Lima. Jose continues to contribute to the working of the National Strategy on Climate Change by 2050 (an initiative led by the Ministry of the Environment of his country).
Name: Eric Steinberger
Eric Steinberger is the founder of ClimateScience, a global charity creating reliable and engaging climate education content such as courses, videos, competitions, and classroom materials. He has worked to build an incredible team of 1,100 active volunteers from across the world to create these resources reaching over a million learners. This year, ClimateScience launched the ClimateScience Olympiad, which engaged 12,400 students out of which the top 3 winners will be announced at COP26 in a ceremonial event with speakers including Jane Goodall and the former director of the IPCC, Renate Christ.
Eric has worked at MIT, Facebook AI, TU Vienna, and Luxembourg University – all before completing his first year at the University of Cambridge. This was possible because of free online education. When he was 14, he started studying Physics and Computer Science through MIT’s ‘Open CourseWare’ program, and other online material. Consequently, Eric understands the impact online education can have and wants to use this to help the next generation of brilliant climate enthusiasts learn what they need to know in order to solve the world’s biggest problems. Beyond work, Eric enjoys hiking, rock music, and animated movies.
Name: Lillith Electra Platt (Lilly)
Lilly is an international environmental champion who initially went viral on social media after posting litter of plastic she picked up—sorted accordingly. She started ‘Lilly’s Plastic Pickup’ at the age of 7 and has to date picked more than 150 000 pieces of plastic. She sorts the collected plastic waste meticulously and posts them on social media to raise awareness on the issue. In this way, she actively advocates for cleaning up plastic pollution, restricting plastic production, and finding alternatives to the material.
Lilly is a dedicated Youth Ambassador for Plastic Pollution Coalition, Earth.org, World Ocean Day Italy and YouthMundus. At just the age of 13, Lilly has achieved more than the average adult and is one of the world’s most aspiring environmentalists. In 2018 she started climate striking inspired by Greta Thunberg. In just a few weeks, Greta joined Platt’s strikes in the Netherlands, considering the Netherlands had been one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gas in the European Union. Both were invited to Brussels where they attended a climate rally outside the European Parliament.
Onalytica has voted Lilly as number 28 on their prestigious environmental influencers list in 2018 alongside fellow activists, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Dianna Cohen and the Mayor of London. In 2019, she was awarded an International Eco Hero Award and a Young Activist of the Year Award for her constant and unwavering climate strikes. Later that year, Lilly was honored by the President of Egypt at the World Youth Forum, where she was a panelist alongside Dr. Jane Goodall. Lastly, Lilly was featured as a Global Citizen in their coverage of UNs World Oceans Day 2020, due to her being the youngest panelist alongside their Secretary General, Cara Delevigne, the Cousteaus and others.
Name: Nikita Dhawan
About her: Founder, Youth for Animals
Nikita founded Youth For Animals (YFA) in April 2020. She envisages YFA as a science-backed organization that promotes animal rights and welfare through academic research, articles, artwork and an expert-interview series. One of the campaigns that she started through her organization was to free an African elephant named Shankar, who was illegally confined in the Delhi zoo for over a decade. She facilitated sending letters to the Delhi zoo, the Prime Minister’s Office and eventually filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for Shankar’s release in the Delhi High Court. Her PIL was accepted in Jan-2022, and the court’s order has compelled the Delhi zoo and the Indian government to explore rehabilitation solutions for Shankar.
What has been astounding is that her campaign received support from over 55K+ individuals that included several Bollywood celebrities like John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, to name a few and leading NGOs like Aspinall Foundation, Blue Cross of India, Pro Elephant Network, among several others. Several media have widely covered the campaign (including Times of India, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, The Times UK, China International Radio and Channel News Asia). Nikita says that her goal through YFA is to end speciesism so that humans can have a harmonious relationship with the natural world, enabling a sustainable planet for our future generations.
Name: Betty Osei Bonsu
About her: Project Coordinator, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO)
Betty Osei Bonsu is an environmentalist, passionate about nature. She is the Project Coordinator for Green Africa Youth Organization where she is championing and replicating Sustainable Community Project to other regions. This project is providing jobs to over 30 youth and women in rural communities, formalizing and building the capacity of informal waste pickers, while diverting waste from landfills. Betty is also well recognized in Ghana for her countywide planting initiative called Trees4Biodiversity that is currently building communities resilience with more than 8000 trees planted. She also contributed to the recently launched Global Landscape Forum (GLF) Biodiversity report.
Betty was recently featured on the celebration of the World Youth Skills Day 21 at the GAC Youth Adaptation Network where she delivered a speech on her community-based works and shared excerpt from her coordination of the GAYO University Campus clubs that’s is building the capacity of more than 400 students in 4 universities in Ghana.
She is an author who has written several articles on environmental issues, including her article upon witnessing the rapid loss of forests to unsustainable energy demands, led the authorship of the first paper in Ghana which focuses on renewable alternative energy using palm kernel shells.
Betty aspires to be the next Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ghana to restore re-greening into communities using a cultural and stakeholders integration approach whilst adopting the Trees4Biodiversity blueprint. Additionally, since waste is contemporarily termed as wealth, she aims to reduce coastal and urban filth by adopting
GAYO sustainable community projects (SCP) blueprints. She believes that this will not only reduce filth but will create chains of employment for the citizens of Ghana.
Name: Oluwaseyi Moejoh
About her: Executive Director, U-recycle Initiative
Oluwaseyi Moejoh is an Environmentalist and Changemaker from Nigeria. For over 5 years, she has been creating and implementing grassroots solutions to pollution and climate change. She is the Executive Director of U-recycle Initiative Africa- a youth-led organization focused on advancing circular economy, environmental sustainability and climate action. As of December 2021, through his organization he has engaged over 7100 youth in 11 African nations through bootcamps, movie screenings, cleanups, school outreaches, workshops etc. She is a National Geographic Young Explorer and a 2021 High Seas Alliance Youth Ambassador. In 2021, Oluwaseyi was named one of the Top 40 Teen Leaders in the World by the We Are Family Foundation. Currently, she is a Contributing Editor for the OH-Wake Magazine (an environmental/ocean conservation magazine for kids/teens) and was a Project Consultant (Super Squad Leader) for the Ocean Heroes Bootcamps in June – September 2021.
Oluwaseyi is passionate about changing the narratives pertaining to the plastic pollution, climate crisis and ocean conservation in Africa and the world. She is devoted to collaborating with others to implement sustainable, deep-rooted and innovative solutions. For instance she hosts ‘The Diary of a Changemaker’ podcast which is focused on providing profound insights, knowledge and tips for changemakers. In future, Oluwaseyi plans to scale her grassroots projects on environmental education to more regions in Nigeria and Africa whilst advocating for more effective policies to advance environmental sustainability and circular economy in addition to mitigating pollution and climate change.
Name: Joshua Amponsem
About him: Founder, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO)
Joshua is a climate advocate and has founded GAYO – an organization he describes as youth-led and gender-balanced advocacy group that focuses largely on environmental sustainability and community development. Joshua works on the role of youth in Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Resilience Building. He is the lead author of a paper on youth and climate change adaptation which provides a pathway for youth engagement in global adaptation efforts. Previously, he was an Adaptation Fellow at the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and led the Water for Adaptation , Trees4Biodiversity initiative and Sustainable Communities Project – where he built the capacity of youth to
support community resilience through ecosystem-based adaptation measures, sustainable agriculture practices, circular economy and disaster risk reduction.
Joshua was part of the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement’s coalition that successfully advocated against a government of Ghana proposed coal-fired power plant in 2015. Early this year, he was appointed as a Plastic Action Champion by the Global Plastic Action Partnership. He has over 5 years’ experience in supporting public and private institutions such as the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and the Global Center on Adaptation on youth engagement and climate action.
Following his passion for the environment and youth engagement, he has been supporting youth engagement in climate policy at both national, regional and international level – including the annual UN conference on climate change (COP). Joshua seeks to build a very formidable network of youth-led activists and organizations across the globe towards fighting climate change through community work, social entrepreneurship and policy engagement.
Name: Fatou Jeng
Country: The Gambia
About her: Founder, Clean Earth Gambia
Fatou is the founder of Clean Earth Gambia, a youth led NGO working towards gender and climate change, conservation, and awareness on environmental issues. She also serves as the Policy Operations lead for Women and Gender of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Youth Constituency, YOUNGO where she has been leading policy submissions on gender and climate change since COP23. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Environment, Development and Policy at the University of Sussex as a Chevening scholar.
Fatou has trained over 500 school children on climate change and provided training to communities, youth and youth organizations on pressing environment challenges. In 2019, she was part of the young people that supported the publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Youth in motion for climate action, a compilation of youth initiatives in agriculture to address the impacts of climate change http://www.fao.org/3/ca5746en/ca5746en.pdf, and was one of the young people who facilitated youth engagements during the Africa Climate Week in 2019. Fatou has received a series of recognitions and awards for her work in creating awareness on the environment. Recently WWF, World Scout Movement, African Alliance of YMCAs and African Wildlife Fund listed her as Top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders in 2021 https://lnkd.in/dR4PkCq She was one of the 30 young people selected by the United Nations Youth Envoy office to support the organization of the first ever United Nations Youth Climate Summit in 2019. Fatou has served as a moderator, speaker and resource person for several environmental and climate change national and global programs including the UN ECOSOC Forum, 2018
and 2019, COP23 and COP24, Global Landscape Forum 2018, Action for Climate Empowerment Youth Forum 2018 etc.
Name: Deon Mandume Shekuza
About him: Co-Founder, Namibian Youth on Renewable Energy
Deon Shekuza is a youth advocate for sustainable development from Namibia working primarily on climate change and renewable energy. Shekuza has co-founded the Namibian Youth on Renewable Energy, a youth network on Biodiversity and the Namibian chapter of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program youth network. Deon is also the Namibian focal person for the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change, a network dedicated towards mobilizing African youth. Deon is also a member of the Namibian Integrated Committee on the Rio Conventions and forms part of the national delegation to the UNFCCC. He has long served as part of the children and youth constituency, YOUNGO in which capacity he previously inducted coordination members and supported drafting of statements and youth positions in the negotiations.
Deon has been involved in several international youth climate events like the UN Youth Summit and Youth4Climate event during which he served as a consultant for the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General Envoy on Youth supporting the selections and review process for more than 8000 applications.
Name: Kusuma Dyah Sekararum
Kusuma started her journey as a change maker at the age of 10 with Moo’s Project, a social initiative that integrates local farmers to develop the resources a cow has in a more effective and sustainable way.
In the four years that followed, she brought together 150 farmers in Boyolali, Indonesia, to test new approaches and spread what worked for the benefit of all. Kusuma was elected as a Young Changemaker by Ashoka and featured on Kompas as a Young Pioneer in 2008. She follows the vision of Mulya Sesarengan meaning ‘for the welfare of all’. Following this philosophy, she founded her ventures – TeenChanger and URTravelearner, which take teenagers through the stages of changemaking in a three-to-seven-day experience to launch their own solutions for social change. She also co-leads ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ Movement with Ashoka by enabling young people to find their power in creating changes they wish to see in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kusuma started her work with Aha! Project to support underprivileged children to get access to creative and quality education at home. So far, the initiative has reached more than 4000 children in 64 villages
Name: Sainath Manikandan and Sai Sahana Manikandan (Siblings)
Age: Sainath (15) and Sai (13)
Sainath Manikandan and Sai Sahana Manikandan are based in UAE who are aspiring environmentalists, green activists and innovators of prototype robots -Marine Robot Cleaner, Agribot, MAHLI Astrobot and Aerobot. They are ambassadors of Tunza Eco Generation, Students for the Earth (SfE), Drop It Youth (DIY) with the main aim of raising environmental awareness about single-use plastic pollution and encouraging individuals and organizations to reduce their CO2 emissions through simple everyday choices.
Sainath and his sister Sai Sahana Manikandan have started their own campaign, PEPC Campaign with the main aim to reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, rethink and refuse. They are collecting Papers, E-wastes, Plastics and Cans for recycling. As environmentalists and green activists, they strongly believe that we can change our existing practices into green and sustainable solutions using technology. Moreover, the innovations are in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They are adhering to one of their school’s core values which is Global citizenship and trying to make an active contribution to the local and global community by taking up responsibility and truly understanding the value of protecting our earth’s resources. Both are students of GEMS United Indian School, Abu Dhabi, UAE in Grade 9 & 7 respectively.
Name: Ashlin Naidoo
Country: South Africa
Ashlin is an environmentalist intrigued by renewable energy and was employed by the City of Cape Town to work on Energy and Climate directorate (Energy modelling, GIS, Data manipulation). He has also published a thesis on The socio-economic impacts of solar water heaters compared across two communities: A case study of Cato Manor. Ashlin was also part of the Global support team for UNMGCY SDG7 youth constituency. As part of this team, he assisted in developing: YSEH, YSEH progress report. Most recently, he was the South African COY16 country coordinator, where he endeavoured to bring the voices of the young people together, raising funds and creating awareness about the importance of youth’s voices in the Climate Change space.
Name: Suphane Dash – Alleyne
Suphane Dash-Alleyne has dedicated her academic and extracurricular activities towards advocating for environmental protection, climate action and climate change awareness. In 2017, she was chosen to be one of 4 to represent Guyana at the Caribbean Youth climate change conference because of her excellent performance at Cape environmental science; at this conference, she educated individuals about climate change and its effect on Guyana. After this conference, she joined the Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Guyana. She has engaged with youth throughout Guyana and the Caribbean through this organization on different forums, such as outreaches, competitions, and online webinars. She continued her advocacy and activism throughout the years. In 2019, she was selected to be a Youth parliamentarian and was given the position of Minister of natural resources wherein she utilized this forum to educate persons about the need to develop sustainably and avoid past mistakes. Due to her continued work, she was selected to attend the inaugural Youth climate action summit in 2019 at the United Nations headquarters. This conference enabled her to meet with other youth activists and share Guyana’s unique position due to climate change on a global stage. She is currently a student at the University of Guyana and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. She was elected to be the head of the only environmental club in society; through this position, she educated many youths about climate change and the importance of climate action. She is currently in Global shapers Georgetown hub, Eco-trust Society, Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Guyana, and she is a rights of child ambassador. She utilizes all these platforms to educate youths about climate change, as there is a need for climate education in Guyana.
Name: Benita Rushana Davis
About her: Project Coordinator, Policy Forum Guyana
Benita is currently the Project Coordinator at Policy Forum Guyana (PFG), an NGO with primary focus on accountability and transparency issues related to natural resources, climate change and extractive industries. Over the last few years, she has been advocating for freshwater protection particularly in communities impacted by ASGM activities within Guyana. This has led to her involvement in water quality assessments along with reclamation of mined-out sites by examining the ability of native species to reforest these areas. She has also coordinated a 900-person youth-led Climate Change Rally in September 2019, in support of Climate Strikes that were occurring globally. Benita developed a freshwater lesson plan for Grade 6 students in Guyana along with the first-ever freshwater board game in Guyana, the “River Guardians” which is currently being introduced into the education system by the National Center for Educational Research Development (NCERD). She was considered one of the 100 notable climate activists, change-makers, in the world to
be featured in the book Stone Soup for a Sustainable World: Life-Changing Stories of Young Heroes in 2020.
Name: Vinisha Umashankar
Vinisha Umashankar is a student, an artist, a TEDx speaker, an innovator and an environmentalist. She lives in Tiruvannamalai, a rural town in Tamil Nadu, India. She started her innovation journey with the Solar Ironing Cart when she was 12 years old. The Solar Ironing Cart has a great impact on 13 of the 15 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). Making use of the Solar Energy is the objective of the innovation as it eliminates the 300-year old tradition of using charcoal to heat an iron box for pressing clothes by the vendors on a cart or in a shop in the developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. There may be 10 million traditional ironing carts in India, which burn about 50 million kilos of charcoal every day! Her innovations have won several national and international awards. She was a finalist for The Earthshot Prize 2021 in the “Clean Our Air” category. It is an annual environment award, launched by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge and Sir David Attenborough. She is also the recipient of the Earth Day Network ‘Rising Star’ in 2021. She was the recipient of the Children’s Climate Prize in 2020 for her innovation, the Solar Ironing Cart. She was awarded a Diploma, Gold Medal and Prize of SEK 100,000 (Rs. 8.6 Lakh). The prize was awarded by the Children’s Climate Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden, besides several other awards and recognitions she has received.
Name: Caroline Rose Morris
Caroline supports New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide private resources for spaces that do not have municipal support creates healthier and happier environments for people living in heavily populated areas. It also beautifies open spaces with greenery and gardens that help ensure environmental and food sustainability. Caroline supports NYRP that helps raise funds from donors to cover the cost of seeds for one year. This is through an initiative started by her brother, SEEDNY. SEEDNY formed a partnership with two seed companies that donated over two hundred seed packets, and Caroline helped to spearhead a donation drive to collect gardening tools for use in NYRP’s community gardens. A greener urban environment, along with food sustainability through community gardens, is important, and NYRP empowers her to create positive change in her city. Caroline is also in the process of forging a partnership between a New York City public school and the Columbia University/Putney Student Travel pre-college
program to provide under-resourced high school students who are interested in environmental issues with an opportunity to participate in a summer program on the environment and sustainability at their climate school in Vermont.
Name: Pothunuri Laya
Pothunuri Laya is currently working on energy-efficient harvesting of locust swarms as a renewable high-nutrient resource with significant climate remediation benefits. She has collaborated with Tao Lab at Harvard University to examine the phenomenon of locust invasion through an engineering lens and how to use a more efficient harvesting of this insect resource. Laya has previously worked on several projects. She researched urban agricultural methods and developed an air filter to reduce pollution from vehicular emissions. As a participant in 103rd Indian Science Congress, Laya worked to strengthen the aquatic mangrove ecosystem to help reduce global warming effects. Her various inventions earned Laya the 2016 National Child Award for Exceptional Achievements in the field of Innovation, given to her by the former President of India, Sri. Pranab Mukherjee. Shortly after, Laya created a microbial fuel cell to generate electricity from organic matter. She also worked on four-dimensional printing of ceramics to find a sustainable way to replace the printing materials or inks with clays. Her work has garnered her awards: she was selected as a Global Teen Leader 2020 by We Are Family Foundation to attend the Just Peace Summit. In 2019, she was recognized by the State Bank of India as a 20 under 20 ‘Promising Game Changer.’ Laya wants to continue working on challenging projects that are environmentally-friendly and accessible to everyone.
Name: Kim Spencer
Kim Spencer is one of the leading Indigenous women in Guyana who is striving for the preservation of wildlife, the environment and indigenous culture in the country. Having joined the South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) as a cadet ranger aged 14, Kimmy has participated in multiple projects including Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus) monitoring, training youth in conservation skills and implementing an environmental education curriculum. Despite only being 23, Kimmy gained enough experience to be elected as the secretary for SRCS and now leads efforts to recruit new members to the SRCS to increase the number of people protecting biodiversity of the Rupununi and Guyana. Kimmy is now a Senior Ranger with SRCS and has been instrumental in gathering information on the Red
Siskin that is new to science. In addition to conservation, Kimmy is also the youngest licensed female tour guide in Guyana and is an avid birdwatcher. Kim aims to become a full-time nature-based tour guide who is able to promote the Rupununi and Guyana as an example of a stronghold for biodiversity to the rest of the world. She also wishes to continue empowering the next generation to become advocates for the environment through capacity building, knowledge exchanges and the creation of local wildlife clubs.
Name: Stacy Algrain
Stacy is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Policy with a major in agriculture and biodiversity at Sciences Po. During the pandemic, she created the media Penser L’après, which translates into “Thinking about the Aftermath”. It provides citizens with accessible and detailed content on ecological and social transitions. Since the launch, she has been able to build a team of 30 volunteers to interview prominent experts such as Jean Jouzel, Laurence Tubiana or Jean-Marc Jancovici. Following this experience and convinced that knowledge is power, she has moderated over 50 conferences and been invited several times on national TV to raise awareness about climate change and the biodiversity crisis. For instance, she has debated with Emmanuel Faber, former CEO of Danone and Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, President of the MEDEF (biggest french employer’s organization). In the meantime, she has also created La Corneille, the first french newsletter focused on biodiversity with more than 1000 readers to educate citizens on the 6th extinction. Finally, along with 6 other young activists, she organized a widely covered mobilization in front of the french assembly to ask for an ambitious climate law. It has allowed citizens to debate with their representatives and re-call to the world of politics their duty to the actual and next generations.