India’s own Greta Thunberg to take the stage at London’s global environment summit

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2019

Madhav Datt, founder, Green the Gene.

The 23-year-old Madhav Datt, founder of Green the Gene, one of the world’s largest youth-run environmental non-profits - will join the One Young World summit.

In a world where climate change has become synonymous with the painstaking efforts of a 16-year-old activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, India can look forward to its own Thunberg like figure taking stage at the world’s largest global forum for young leaders in London on Tuesday, with a goal to resolve climate change, among other issues.

According to an article in The Guardian, 23-year-old Madhav Datt, who founded Green the Gene, which has now become one of the world’s largest youth-run environmental non-profits - from the small environmental club he had found in his school when he was eight - will join more than 2,000 young people from across the globe for this forum, which will be the 10th annual summit of One Young World, a UK-based not-for-profit organisation.

Green the Gene

The same article said that Green the Gene has projects in 62 countries and has mobilised over 7,000 young people under the age of 24 to create tangible solutions for communities beleaguered by the acute climate crisis.

“I learned about the climate crisis at firsthand: the water level in our local dam had fallen by 2ft, which meant our water and electricity was severely rationed. There was nothing abstract about the issue for me. Starting the environmental club, planting trees and talking to local shopkeepers about plastic bags were things I couldn’t do. One of the biggest things that being young gave me was the power to go up against huge issues because I didn’t appreciate that they were widely regarded as impossible problems,” Datt is quoted in the same article.

The forum will welcome young delegates from more than 190 countries, as well as political and humanitarian leaders, which include the former UN secretary- general Ban Ki-moon, the former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, Sir Richard Branson, Sir John Major and the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

This annual four-day summit is set to be London’s largest and most international event since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Technology innovations

Datt has also created technology and data projects to address specific problems, like low-cost water filtration units, providing safe water to more than 40,000 people in rural Tanzania, recycling 3,000,000 plus litres of swimming pool water annually in Haryana in India and planting more than 1,500,000 trees in Gambia and 600,000 in India.

To reduce the energy used by home heating/cooling systems during peak demand times, Datt also developed machine-learning algorithms for Nest thermostat energy demand response programs, while he was interning as a software engineering intern at Google.

Kate Robertson, a co-founder of One Young World, said that its young delegates are founders, activists and entrepreneurs in their own right, “united by a common goal to resolve some of the world’s most pressing challenges – from climate change and violent extremism to sexual violence and poverty”, The Guardian article said.

One Young World estimates that almost 21 million young people have been impacted by its ongoing programme of mentoring across the world.

The summit will also feature speeches from 30 global chief executives, including Alan Jope of Unilever, James Quincey of Coca Cola, Bram Schot of Audi, Tidjane Thiam from Credit Suisse and Feike Sijbesma from DSM. They will be speaking to some would-be leaders of the future, like Datt, the article further stated.

Published on October 21, 2019

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