According to a 2018 study by Deloitte, the five concerns of young people around the world including climate change and food inequality between countries.
The United Nations and its Environment Programme, together with Covestro, have launched for the third consecutive year the call for the Young Champions of the Earth contest.
The initiative calls for creative ideas for those 18 to 30, with a section focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean. Ideas have ranged from using banana waste to obtain clean food and water to creating terrestrial coral farms to restore and maintain reefs.
“The collaboration with the Young Champions of the last two years has shown the level of dedication and commitment that new generations have to the future of our planet. It is a great pleasure to support the realization of another round of this global competition, as it is a wonderful platform to help your dreams come true,” said Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro, the company in charge of the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and a major developer of innovative solutions.
Young people like Jenifer Colpas of Colombia have shown that they can make a lasting difference. Colpas’ project, called Baño Grato, created a solution that seeks to train rural women to better care for the environment and improve their health and hygiene. The project trains participants in good water and sanitation practices and installs low-cost bathrooms with eco-friendly toilets that save 270,000 liters of water a year and protect water resources.
There are currently seven prototypes of the project in three rural communities in Colombia. In a world where 3 out of 10 people do not have access to sanitation services, where access to water is scarce and women are harmed daily, this project becomes incredibly important.
“The Young Champions of the Earth award combines two key factors to save our planet: innovation and the drive of new generations. Both are essential to be able to meet the great challenges of today in the field of the environment,” says Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment and Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Each of the seven winners will receive US$15,000 as the starting capital to invest in their projects, as well as invitations to attend high-level UN meetings, capital to communicate their ideas, and access to a group of United Nations and Covestro experts as mentors.
A panel of judges from around the world selects the seven winners who are expected to implement their ideas and keep the UN Environment Department updated on their progress through the production of videos and blogs.
Adapted from a story published in The Mexican Economist.