Five young leaders of the United Nations ‘We The Change’ campaign talk about their green initiatives


Signs are everywhere that human activities have caused climate change. Some young people take initiatives to repair the damage. Seventeen young Indian climate warriors were selected for the United Nations ‘We The Change’ campaign earlier this month for their environmental achievements.

The campaign aims to showcase the climate solutions developed by these young Indians to celebrate India’s climate leadership. Representing a young generation of climate activists, they work in various fields with the aim of providing solutions and working for the preservation of the environment.

Aditya Mukarji

Gurgaon-based Aditya Mukarji may be in her twenties, but her actions reflect individual social responsibility for a sustainable planet through waste management. Aditya has done a lot of work to reduce the use of single-use plastic in Delhi. Through its initiatives, Aditya has helped remove over 26 million plastic straws from the hospitality industry in Delhi. Aditya tells us that he was taken aback when at the age of 14 he saw a rather disturbing video that showed a turtle coming out of plastic. “It was then that I contemplated human actions and their negative impacts on nature. I spoke to seasoned environmental activists and felt inspired. That’s when I chose plastic straws and went to the hotel industry where it can be eradicated, ”explains the young activist and adds that his concern to improve the environment motivates to do one’s job even when meeting completely ignorant individuals. “I focus on those who understand and want to do something and there are others who are not aware of anything but can contribute,” says the activist.

Kriti tula

A clothing designer and design manager by training, Kriti worked in the global clothing industry for approximately 12 years. After studying and working in London, she returned to India to develop her label, Doodlage. It aims to create the first global, sustainable and affordable fashion brand in India, focusing on resale, repair and recycling while including ethically produced recycled fabrics. “Having worked in the fashion industry, I know the amount of waste the industry generates and its impacts. We still grow crops that are harmful to nature. The numbers and figures on how fashion harms nature were always worrisome, so I started to think about the principles of sustainable fashion and conservation and how sustainable businesses can change the way people think about it. businesses are conducted, ”says Kriti.

Sanju Soman

Sanju, a resident of Kerala, has been working with vulnerable communities for about eight years. He has trained young leaders, mentored climate start-ups and worked in wetland conservation and climate change research. Sanju says he created the first model wetland village and launched the largest recycling effort in Kerala, converting 30 tons of fabric waste into reusable products. “My main job is to support young people and start-ups in Kerala, which is strongly affected by the ecosystem. The state must strengthen its resilience and carry out action-oriented work to mitigate disasters. I have engaged with students in the school on several levels.

Sneha Shahi

A doctoral student at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bengaluru, Sneha is a water ecologist. She is working to reduce the use of single-use plastic that has choked India’s water bodies and destroyed indigenous diversity. Sneha tells us that her work helped remove 700kg of plastic from an urban stream, causing the aggressor crocodiles to return to their natural habitat. “I’m working on a project that includes people in political decision making and increases people’s resistance in agriculture,” says Sneha. It all started when she lived in Assam where she walked to fill water bottles from communal taps despite the heavy rains. “This area has no water problems but there is no infrastructure to store water. When you see a gradual destruction of where you live it breaks your heart and you want to do something about it. There is a lot of empathy that goes into a project, ”shares the young activist, a graduate in environmental sciences. Sneha started her journey in 2019 with 350 students to get rid of plastic at a university and in the city. She worked with local vendors, traders, government officials and made them aware of biodiversity challenges. “We were looking at the biodiversity and the people who live around unstable communities, as they are the most vulnerable during flooding. We discovered that they weren’t the cause of the damage, but the waste from the fleeing forces was the problem. We helped them understand the problem, ”says Sneha.

Berjis pilot

Architect and urban planner, Berjis has contributed to the formulation of statutory urban policy and the preparation of directives in Mumbai and Amaravati. “A lot of town planning is about building taller buildings and the damage to the environment caused by this profession has not been taken seriously. With climate change it’s an even more serious concern, ”says Berjis and adds that his work reflects his trip to Mumbai, where he grew up among tall buildings and less open space. “This led me to work for the open space policy. Leisure is important. There is so much development pressure. The only way to fight climate change is to offer solid development solutions to marginalized communities, ”says the activist, who works on forest management and their rights. He intends to create a platform where environmentally conscious individuals can discuss ways to bridge the gap between people and nature.

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Posted on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 7:00 a.m. IST

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