MUMBAI: The United Nations Environment Programme has announced a shortlist of regional finalists for the inaugural Young Champions of the Earth prize, a global competition sponsored by Covestro that aims to identify, support and celebrate outstanding individuals aged 18-30 who have big ideas to protect or restore the environment. Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies.
Thirty regional finalists – all with emphatic track records of environmental commitment – were selected from over 600 applicants for having the most innovative, scalable and potentially impactful ideas.
Their proposals range from the deployment of solar-powered irrigation pumps to boost agricultural productivity and foster peace in conflict zones, to the creation of floating eco-villages to help vulnerable communities adapt to rising sea-levels. The ideas also range from sustainability advocacy through music and radio to the provision of healthcare services in return for recyclable trash.
Addressing critical environmental concerns
Covestro is one of the world’s leading polymer companies and a strong proponent of innovation for environmental sustainability, and CEO Patrick Thomas said, “So much thought has gone into addressing the critical environmental concerns which clearly strike a chord with our regional finalists. I’m confident that many of these wonderful ideas will become reality and go a long way in making the world a brighter place not just for us, but for many generations to come.”
Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, added, “The future of our planet depends on our ability to innovate. And when it comes to environmental solutions, we’re only at the beginning of what I’m convinced will be a major economic revolution. These regional finalists are examples of the passion, drive and creativity that will underpin the coming change. These young innovators need to be empowered so that they can fulfil their potential and shape the future.”
Public invited to rate proposals
Members of the public are being encouraged to view and rate the proposals until August 31. Informed by public opinion, a global jury will select six Young Champions in early September. The winners will each receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, expert mentoring, needs-based training and access to powerful networks.
Short biographies of the 30 regional finalists and summaries of their ideas including video pitches can be seen on the Young Champions website at www.unep.org/youngchampions.