Seven environmental trailblazers between the ages of 18 and 30 will be taking home the coveted 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 groundbreaking 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.”
From a worldwide pool of thousands, finalists stood out for game changing environmental ideas and the innovate concepts to bring them to life. Vetted by a global jury includingCovestro Chief Executive Office Markus Steilemann, CoalitionWILD Director Crista Valentino, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake and UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim, ultimately these seven were chosen as the 2018 Young Champions of the Earth.
“Once again, young people around the world have come up with amazing new ideas to help protect the environment,” says Dr. Steilemann. “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.”