UN Young Champions of Earth Award 2018 winners

“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

Seven environmental trailblazers will be taking home the coveted Young Champions of the Earth Prize, for their ambitious project ideas to restore and protect the environment. The United Nations announced today.

These seven young environmental entrepreneurs from around the world will receive the prize for their bold, innovative projects. The Young Champions of Earth prize which was first awarded last year, offers the prestigious and highly successful 15 year old Champions of the Earth platform, UN’s highest environmental honour to brilliant environmentalists between the ages of 18 -30, with a vision and a plan for the future.

The seven young entrepreneurs, who will be awarded this year are:

  1. Shady Rabab, taking home the prize for addressing poverty and waste management in Egypt.
    • As a passionate musician, designer and environmental activist, Rabab is working to bring together children working as garbage collectors in Luxor and teach them how to make their own musical instruments from trash and play music as a band. The project will empower children through the innovative use of waste, whilst using art and music as a medium.
  1. Hugh Weldon, recognized for his smartphone app “Evocco” which calculates a user’s ecologic footprint based on scanned shopping receipts.
    • The app helps the consumer to align their purchasing behaviour with their ethics. Evocco educates the user on the environmental impact of their food purchases in a simplified yet informative manner. Users simply take a photo of their food shopping receipt to receive instant information on the environmental impact of their purchases. The app then allows them to track their impact over time, whilst offering personalised advice on how to reduce their impact the next time they shop.

  1. Heba Al-Farra, for her support to female environmental professionals in the green industry across the Middle East and North Africa, through her initiative
    • WEE is a forward-looking organization focusing on women in energy and environment in the Middle East & North Africa. It is dedicated to supporting women in their current roles and building a supportive community for them. WEE seeks to advance the role of women in the MENA region in leading the green industry. Working to enhance the skills of its members by providing them with consistently high quality services, creative solutions, technical skills and future opportunities.

  1. Arpit Dhupar, for his ground-breaking technique that filters 90 percent of particulate matter from diesel generators and turning it into ink using the Chakr Shield.
    • Chakr Innovation have devised a novel technique to control emissions from diesel generators, the ‘Chakr Shield’, which causes minimum backpressure on the diesel generator. The device is able to control up to 90% of particulate matter from diesel engines, with no impact on the engine’s efficiency. “Chakr” in hindi means ‘cycle’ and they claim to be completing the cycle of carbon by converting the carbon they capture into industry grade ink pigment.

Read: Bringing the Revolution through Pollution, Chakr Innovations

  1. Miao Wang, receiving the prize for her Better Blue initiative, which empowers divers to conserve and protect the ocean.
    • Better Blue hopes to build an eco-evaluation system to redefine the diving industry and empower every diver and diving center to become advocates and practitioners in marine conservation through capacity building, citizen-scientific programs, etc. Better Blue also provides consulting services to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Greater China and its global charity partner, Project AWARE, to help them better intergrate Chinese divers’ resource and motivate action for ocean conservation.

  1. Miranda Wang, for her novel technology to turn plastic pollution into new resources for a sustainable economy.
    • Co-founder and CEO of BioCellection, a company that turns unrecyclable plastic waste into chemicals for a circular economy. Wang aims to tackle the plastic crisis by developing an economical recycling solution for currently unrecyclable plastic waste. The team has developed a chemical process that transforms plastics into renewable chemicals for sustainable virgin-quality materials.

  1. Gator Halpern, who launched a network of coral farms through “Coral Vita” to restore endangered reefs, restoring vibrant ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.
    • Over 30% of global coral reefs are dead, and more than 75% are projected to die by 2050. Coral Vita is creating a global network of innovative land-based coral farms, using breakthrough methods developed at the Mote Marine Lab and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to grow corals up to 50x faster while strengthening their resiliency to climate change. Their land-based farms are scalable, allowing to potentially grow millions of corals from a single site.

“Once again, young people around the world have come up with amazing new ideas to help protect the environment,” says Dr. Steilemann, global jury, CEO of Covestro. “We are pleased to support this second year of the competition as it completely fits our own global commitment, to make the world a brighter place. As a leading global supplier of high-tech materials for sustainable development, we are partnering with UN Environment to motivate young innovators to tackle the enormous challenges our planet is facing.”

Each winner 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. Each of them will be recognized at the annual Champions of the Earth awards ceremony on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City on 26 September.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a correspondent at iamrenew.com and writes on renewable energy and sustainability. As an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he also works as a staff writer for saurenergy.com.

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