New Delhi: A 14-year-old girl from India, speaking at the COP26 in Glasgow, told the world that her generation is “angry and frustrated at world leaders who’ve made empty promises” and made a direct call to action to save the planet. One of the finalists of the Earthshot Prize, dubbed the “Eco Oscars”, Vinisha Umashankar was invited by Prince William to speak at a meeting discussing clean technology and innovation at the climate conference.
“Today I ask, with all due respect, that we stop talking and start doing. We, The Earthshot Prize Winners and Finalists, need you to back our innovations, projects and solutions, not an economy built on fossil fuels, smoke and pollution. We need to stop thinking about old debates because we need a new vision for a new future. So you need to invest your time, money and effort in us to shape our future!” the girl from Tamil Nadu told the world leaders.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his UK counterpart Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden attended the event and watched on as the young Indian made a rousing speech.”On behalf of The Earthshot Prize Winners and Finalists, I invite you to join us. I invite you to stand with us. We hope that you will give up the old ways of thinking and the old habits. But let me be clear we! When we invite you to join us, we will lead even if you don’t. We will act even if you delay. And we’ll build the future, even if you are still stuck in the past. But please accept my invite and I assure you, you will not regret it,” she said.
Vinisha Umashankar’s solar-powered street ironing cart made the Earthshot Prize finalist cut for its concept of replacing dirty charcoal with clean energy from the sun. The young Indian underlined that when it comes to climate change, there’s no “STOP button”.
Many of my generation are angry and frustrated at leaders who’ve made empty promises and failed to deliver. And we have every reason to be angry. But I’ve no time for anger. I want to act. I’m not just a girl from India. I’m a girl from Earth and I’m proud to be so. I’m also a student, innovator, environmentalist and entrepreneur but most importantly, I’m an optimist, said Vinisha Umashankar.
Prince William’s Earthshot Prize is designed as a global search for the most inspiring and innovative solutions to the greatest environmental challenges facing the planet. It covers five areas: how to protect and restore nature; clean our air; revive our oceans; build a waste-free world; and fix our climate. Launched in October last year, it is inspired by US president John F Kennedy’s “Moonshot” project in the 1960s to put a man on the moon.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.