UNEP Young Champions of the Earth

Young Champions of the Earth is presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It aims to recognize and support individuals between the age of 18 and 30 years who have great potential to create a positive environmental impact.

Key Points for UPSC Prelims

  • The prize winners get US$10,000 funding, intensive training, and mentoring to bring their big environmental ideas to life.
  • Young Champions of the Earth award is an expansion of the Champions of the Earth awards that were started by UNEP in the year 2005. Champions of Earth awards were expanded in the year 2017 to include Young Champions of the Earth.
  • In 2020, seven winners have been selected for the prestigious award including a 29-year-old Indian entrepreneur, Vidyut Mohan.
  • This year, one winner has been selected from each global region.

Indian Entrepreneur chosen for 2020 UNEP Young Champions of the Earth Award

Engineer and Indian entrepreneur Vidyut Mohan has been elected for the UNEP Young Champions of the Earth 2020 award.

  • He is the co-founder of “Takachar”, an initiative that enables farmers to prevent open burning of farm residues.
  • Through this initiative, farmers can earn extra money by converting the farm residues into value-added chemicals such as activated carbon on-site.
  • Takachar purchases coconut shells, straw, and rice husks from farmers and converts them into charcoal, saving the debris from the fires, which are also a driver of climate change.
  • Takachar initiative was launched in the year 2008.

UNEP Young Champions of the Earth 2020

The other awardees include Kenya’s Nzambi Matee for Gjenge Makers that produces sustainable low-cost construction materials made of recycled plastic waste and sand.

China’s Xiaoyuan Ren, who heads a data platform MyH2O, which tests and records the quality of groundwater across villages in rural China into an app to provide information about clean water to the villagers.

Other winners are -Lefteris Arapakis from Greece; Niria Alicia Garcia from the US coordinates; Kuwait’s Fatemah Alzelzela and Max Hidalgo Quinto from Peru.