Environment: Meet the Young Champions of the Earth

Young Champions of the Earth. Photo: UNEP
Young Champions of the Earth. Photo: UNEP

Environment: Meet the Young Champions of the Earth

Seven young leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 will be taking home the Young Champions of the Earth Prize, the UN’s highest environmental honor, for their ambitious project ideas to restore and protect the environment.

The winning young entrepreneurs – hailing from all over the world – are:

Shady Rabab, taking home the prize for addressing poverty and waste management in Egypt by making musical instruments from trash and training young people in a band.

Hugh Weldon, recognized for his smartphone app which calculates a user’s ecologic footprint based on scanned shopping receipts.

Heba Al-Farra, for her support to female environmental professionals in the green industry across the Middle East and North Africa.

Arpit Dhupar, for his technique that filters 90 percent of particulate matter from diesel generators and turning it into ink, without impairing mechanical performance.

Miao Wang, receiving the prize for her Better Blue initiative, which empowers divers to conserve and protect the ocean.

Miranda Wang, for her novel technology to turn plastic pollution into new resources for a sustainable economy.

Gator Halpern, who launched a network of coral farms to restore endangered reefs, restoring vibrant ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.

Each of them will be recognized at the annual Champions of the Earth awards ceremony on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York City on 26 September. In the countdown to the event, UN Environment is profiling these young innovators and their big ideas.

Each Young Champion will receive US $15,000 in seed funding, training and mentoring. With support from UN Environment and partners Covestro, The DO School and CoalitionWILD, the winners will be given tools to scale up their projects over the next year. Their journey and project milestones will be documented on social media through regular updates and video blogs.

“For all the urgent environmental challenges we face, these Young Champions are a powerful reminder that the solutions to these challenges are within our grasp,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said. “Each of these winners has a unique story to tell. Taken together the message our Young Champions send to the world is even stronger: Together we can innovate the future we want while preserving the environment we need.”

The Young Champions of the Earth Prize was first started in 2017, offering the successful Champions of the Earth platform – with laureates including heads of state, inspiring scientists, and environmental visionaries – to brilliant young environmentalists with a vision and a plan for the future.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman