For some strange reason, movie-goers and the general population alike love to sit down with a bucket of popcorn and watch a good old ‘Doomsday’ Hollywood films. Typically, such films showcase the Earth’s destruction and the end of the World, as we know it today. We all love the movie, “Wall-E” now, don’t we? But this theme of our world’s end has only become popular in recent decades; the credit for which goes to the global awareness of climate change that is so evident everywhere. We all know that collectively, as a species, we have done a sizeable amount of damage to our planet. And that knowledge is a good first step towards its recovery. When Young Professionals get involved in such issues and efforts, history has proved that more often than not, we come up with some fantastic ideas of resolving some of the World’s gravest predicaments. This article attempts to highlight initiatives taken by Young Professionals around the globe to reduce our carbon footprint on Earth.
Ghana Bamboo Bikes
The Ghana Bamboo bikes initiative is exactly what it sounds like! Bikes made out of Bamboo! These high quality handcrafted bikes are made from native bamboo trees making them sustainable and recyclable. Design and creation of such bikes is not only helping us deal with climate change but also creating skilful employment for men and women of rural Ghana. These skilful workers have created a product that is nature friendly (both in design, construction and use) and given it a unique style that is representative to local Ghana. The founder and CEO of this initiative, Bernice Dapaah, is a young global leader of the World Economic Forum. Her decade long work in not-for-profit industries has inspired a positive change; changes hopefully to only get bigger and better. And this is evident in the progress of this initiative in the creation of two new factories in Ghana to create 50 additional jobs.
Images Courtesy of: http://ghanabamboobikes.org/en/our-projects
ChepeCletas initiative in Costa Rica is another great initiative organised and led by Young Professionals. This initiative was launched in 2010 with the goal to make Costa Rica carbon neutral by the year 2021. ChepeCletas’s work revolves around reducing the reliance on private transport in an attempt to create a greener city. The goal of ChepeCletas is a city “that boasts its tourism by organizing guided night walks, open-air movie viewings, conversation nights, free concerts and organized dances”. Their significant work has attracted assistance from the local government and the tourism department, Dutch and German embassies, UN Habitat and United Nations High Commissioner on Refuges. So far, this initiative has inspired 10,000 to participate in social and cultural activities.
Images Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=chepecletas
Constituency of Youth Non-Governmental Organizations (YOUNGO)
YOUNGO was established as a response to the increasing number of NGOs that were being created by Young Professionals across the world. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provided constituency status to all Young Professionals involved in YOUNGO that has enabled them to take on administrative and decision-making roles. Young professionals are now able to influence climate change policies. This is an achievement in itself! The current strength of this collective organization is a decent 2000 members globally, providing valuable input to better our future. YOUNGO young members attend worldwide conferences providing official statements by engaging with decision makers. They also raise awareness through arranging advocacy activities in areas of education, mitigation, public awareness, the role of women and technology education. Some of the amazing programs run by YOUNGO are;
Integrating Mental Health into Climate Change Adaptation
IHAF celebrates International Youth Day 2014
Google+ Hangout on “United Nations and the Year 2015 – A Window of Opportunity to Enhance Youth Engagement in Global Challenges Action”
Youth Field trip – sustainable farming
High-level conference by the Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia etc.
These activities have potentially educated children and adults about climate change, health impacts and how integration of health into planning to combat climate change is critically important.
Image Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/groups/175380385816743/photos/
Project Jatropha, India
Project Jatropha in India is an initiative driven by Young Professionals to reduce the carbon fuel emissions by using alternate fuel options. Jatropha curcas is a native Central American shrub that can be grown to create biofuel, cosmetics and fertilizer. It is a good alternative to farmers in southern India who grow tobacco as a means of living. Growing the Jatropha curcas plant can not only help the farmers in India but also combat climate change. The seeds from this plant create an inedible vegetable oil that can be used to create biofuel. This is a significant amount as approximately 35% of the seed mass is converted into oil. Some of the advantages for farmers to grow this plant are that it is drought resistant, easy to propagate, non-invasive, repels insects, its average life is 50years, no expensive crop rotation required, no fertilizers required, grows quickly and the most important factor for farmers is that the biodiesel product is very profitable. As a bonus, the plants recycle 100% of carbon dioxide emissions and assist immensely in reducing our carbon footprint. The main aim of the project is to enable farmers to grow this plant as a hedge plant on an economically viable scale. This initiative is different from others in the sense that its central idea is not only reducing carbon emissions but also to equip farmers of India to become prosperous. In a hugely populated country like India, these rarely go hand in hand. And so this initiative has gathered enough momentum to secure significant grants.
Image Courtesy of: http://www.projectjatropha.com/home
This article was written by Sneha Kangralkar, Assistant Editor – IEEE Impact for Young Professionals