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 17 countries – Afghanistan, 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. A youth from Afghanistan helps women enhance their livelihoods with eco-friendly occupations. 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

Country Name: India

1. Aadya Joshi, Founder, The Right Green (Native tree plantations)

2. Aditya Dubey, Founder, Plant A Million Trees Initiative (commits to plant 800,000 trees in 2020 as a pledge on Earth Day and has already planted over 200,000 trees)

3. Aditya Mukarji, Climate Activist and leads campaigns against plastic pollution

4. Aman Sharma, Climate Activist and Founding Member, We the Planet initiative found to mark 50 years of Earth Day digitally on April 22 along with other climate activists around the world

5. Anaiah Naik, Zero Waste Crusader and Minimalist, this 9-year old loves nature, sea, wildlife and Dr. Jane Goodall

6. Anshul Tewari, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Youth Ki Awaaz

7. Arun Krishanmurthy, Founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India

8. Asheer Kandhari, Member, Fridays for Future India and works to increase the forest cover in India

9. Bhupendra Mishra, Founder, The Resilient Foundation. He is also an advisor to many NGOs and received Indira Gandhi National Award by President of India at President House in 2012.

10. Gauri Agarwal, Founder, Livable Planet and MAGA (Her sustainable & eco-friendly fashion brand)

11. Licypriya Kangujam, 8 year-old Climate Activist and Founder of her NGO, The Child Movement

12. Neel Tamhane, Solar Project Lead, SPACE10 – IKEA’s global research and design lab.

13. Omi Gurung, Fashion Designer and Social Entrepreneur. He is the owner of Green Gangtok eco-friendly fashion boutique, the first of its kind in Sikkim and has been advocating and creating awareness about textile waste in India.

14. Pratik Gauri, India CEO, 5th Element Group and Co Founder/Chairman, India Needs You

15. Ridhima Pandey, Climate Activist, 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.

16. Shivam Singh, Founder, ExploreiT Research and Young Climate Reality Leader who mobilizes community to take climate actions

17. Shreya Chawla, Environmentalist who started her NO PLASTIC CAMPAIGN at Andaman & Nicobar Islands at the age of 12 and is continuing to spread it in many countries such as India (Northern), Maldives, Thailand

18. Siddharth Singh, Climate & Energy Policy Expert and Author of The Great Smog of India (a leading book on air pollution in India)

19. Swati Bhalla, Founder, We Mean to Clean, a volunteer led group working in Delhi on spotfixes, cleanup drives, waste management and native tree plantations.

20. Vihaan and Nav Agarwal, Founders of OneStepGreener, that aims to work for a zero waste future, combat pollution by working on Waste Management, Recycling and Tree Plantations.

Country Name: Nepal

21. Bindu Bhandari, Program Associate, Climate Interactive. She has facilitated dozens of World Climate Simulations in Nepal, India, France, and Morocco. She was recently listed as 25 Female Climate Leaders shaping 2019.

22. Sanjay Gupta, Artist and Environmentalist

Country Name: Cambodia

23. Chhun Sokchea, Environmental Educator & Project Driver, Wildlife Alliance

24. Phal Ratana, Environmental Educator. Ratana plays an integral role of the 4-person Kouprey Express (KE), the only mobile environmental project in Cambodia to encourage children and adults to be front line defenders of their natural resources.

25. RY Moni Sovanya, Visual Art, Performance Art, Film Art Design, Graphic Design, and Strategic Product Design

Country Name: Srilanka

26. Manusha D. Navarathna, Environmental Activist, Philanthropist and the Director of Hope of the Nation (NGO) and Director of International

Chamber of Computing (ICC) Campus. She is currently the acting International Youth Committee (IYC ) Climate Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

27. Michelle Dilhara, Sri Lankan Actress, an Author, Philanthropist, Singer and an Environmental activist.

Country Name: Philippine

28. Mitzi Tan, Climate Activist and Convenor of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines. YACAP is an alliance of individuals, youth organizations, and student councils that advocate for the immediate global climate action led by the youth.

29. Ruth Siringan, 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.

30. Vhon Michael Tobes, Climate Activist and Executive Director, Zero Hour Philippines

31. Maricres Castro, Miss Universe Candidate, Muntinlupa City

Country Name: Thailand

32. Nanticha Ocharoenchai (Lynn), environmental writer and climate activist who started the climate strike movement in Thailand called Climate Strike Thailand.

33. Ralyn Satidtanasarn (Lilly), Climate Activist who speaks about the problems of consumption and waste, taking time out of school to meet with government ministers, campaigning to build a student movement for behaviour change and climate action. She has started becoming a part of the environmental movement since she was eight.

Country Name: Afghanistan

34. Farhad Wajidi, who is the Founder and Executive Director of Ebtakar Inspiring Entrepreneurs of Afghanistan organization.

35. Nawid Soofizada, Board Member, Environment Watch Afghanistan and Co-Founder, AfghBui an Youth Empowerment Camps (AYEC)

Country Name: Vietnam

36. Nguyen Ba Khang Hung is one of the electronic waste ambassadors of Alfred Nobel School, and an inspiring young speaker. 37. Bui Thi Minh Ngoc, Founder, Green Lady Vietnam

Country Name: Pakistan

38. Dr. Hifza Khan, Founder and Chairperson, Saya Khudaya Zuljalal (SKZ) organization. Through her various initiatives, she works on environmental and societal development through education and learning.

39. Rehmeen Urooj Zaidi, Social Activist and CEO of Educating Future, founded in 2016 with an aim to focus upon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to bring up a positive change in youth.

40. Saddam Sahito, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Think Tank Karachi.

Country Name: Indonesia

41. Meta Septalisa, Member, FAMM Indonesia (Indonesia Young Women Activists Forum), works on environmental education programs and developing eco-tourism as an alternative source of livelihood for poor communities.

Country Name: Bangladesh

42. Shamim Ahmed Mridha, Founder and CEO, Eco-Network that works on climate change and environmental education especially among children and youth. Found by him in 2018 in Bangladesh, the organization now works in 9 countries of Asia and Africa.

43. Sajid Iqbal, Founder, Change, a youth-led development organization committed to promoting renewable energy. Sajid partnered with a German provider of international cooperation services, GIZ, to introduce solar bottle lights to 4,000 people in disadvantaged Bangladeshi communities.

Country Name: Malaysia

44. Renard Siew, Environmental Advisor to Centre for Governance and Political Studies (CENT-GPS), 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.

Country Name: Myanmar

45. Kyaw Zin Myo, Environmental Activist and Member of Trash Hero

46. Khaing Paing Cho, Environment Studies Student and Volunteer

Country Name: Maldives

47. Aima Musthafa, Artist and Co-Founder, Maldives Authentic Crafts Coopperative Society that works to promote and revive traditional handicrafts made from natural fibre

Country Name: Timor-Leste

48. Dircia Sarmento Belo, Co-Founder and Vice-Coordinator at the Timorese Youth Initiative For Development (TYIFD)

Country Name: Brunei

49. Khairunnisa Ash’ari, Legislative Council Member of Brunei Darussalam and General Manager, Green Depot

Country Name: Bhutan

50. Netan Dorji, Leader, Earth Guardians of Bhutan – CNR