The United Nations Environment Programme has announced a shortlist of regional finalists for the Young Champions of the Earth prize – a global competition aiming to identify, support and celebrate outstanding individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 with big ideas to protect or restore the environment.
From over 600 applicants, 30 regional finalists – all with emphatic track records of environmental commitment – were selected 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: and from sustainability advocacy through music and radio to the provision of healthcare services in return for recyclable trash.
“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,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “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 fulfill their potential and shape the future.”
Short biographies of the 30 regional finalists and summaries of their ideas including video pitches are available on the Young Champions website – www.unep.org/youngchampions.
Members of the public are encouraged to view and rate the proposals. Informed by public opinion, a global jury will select 6 Young Champions in early September.
Winners will be invited to attend the Champions of the Earth Gala Dinner in Nairobi in December 2017 and will each receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, expert mentoring, needs-based training and access to powerful networks.