There are many different ways to protect planet Earth and preserve it for future generations. For starters, cleaning up after yourself is something we do at home, so why wouldn’t we do it with the planet, right? Even though Earth Day originated in the United States, young people around the world are making efforts every day to preserve the planet by reducing, reusing, and recycling, or by thoughtfully using earth’s resources. Let’s take a look at some of them here:
Ankit Kawatra, India
When he was twenty-two years old, Kawatra decided to quit his job working in an office to figure out a way to save wasted food after he attended a wedding where he saw excess food being wasted. He thought, “Why not redirect excess food to people who go hungry?” Today, Kawatra’s organization, Feeding India, serves the hungry in over twenty-five cities in India and is run entirely by volunteers who want to help reduce food waste!
Samuel Malinga, Uganda
Growing up in the slums of Uganda, Samuel Malinga wanted to improve sanitation and toilet conditions in his city. His goal was to make toilets accessible and hygienic in a way that wasn’t harmful to the environment. As the population of Uganda has increased, sanitation conditions have worsened and caused serious health issues in the community. Malinga started Sanitation Africa, which constructed over 350 hygienic toilets that repurpose waste into manure for farming. Malinga says, “Our team is comprised of young people who have the energy and passion to deliver decent sanitation services to the community, and we are helping some of the most vulnerable households along the way.”
Vincent Loka, Indonesia
When disaster strikes, people lose homes and property, but they also struggle to get clean water when water pipes are destroyed. That is what Vincent Loka wanted to address at the age of twenty-three! The most important part of his work? Researching with his engineering team to understand the problems—how small and portable should a water filtration system be? How much water should it be able to store? And what type of pollutants should it filter out? The water filtration system that he and his two team members built fits neatly into a backpack, and serves one hundred people clean, filtered water. He’s helped bring clean water to victims of earthquakes and floods and to refugee zones around Asia.
Edda Hamar, Iceland and Australia
How can you put your passion for making the world a better place into one project? Ask Edda Hamar, a twenty-seven-year-old who wanted to unite fashion and sustainability. What does that mean? It means that when you choose outfits in stores, think about how the products were made, so you can make choices that support the planet. Hamar’s Undress Runways brand endorses ethically made fashion using material that’s sustainable and free of harmful elements, while staying on trend!
Tere González Garcia, Mexico
At sixteen years old, González realized that power was a problem. As in electric power. She founded a non-profit, Liter of Light, providing solar light to low-income homes. But wait! How about solving two problems with one idea? González came up with the idea of taking old discarded plastic bottles to create solar energy that could power not only homes but small businesses too! She says, “I’m committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for all people while leaving no one behind.”