Meet the passionate young environmentalist Arushi Madan who is working tirelessly to lead the world into a greener future. Based out of Delhi (India) Arushi Madan is a student at the University of Birmingham, UK in first year of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Having lived for about 13 years in UAE she did her schooling from Delhi Private School-Sharjah, UAE.
She became the youngest speaker at the Women’s Peak Performance Summit ( WPPS 2014) just at an age of 16. Arushi was also invited for the Global Youth Eco Leadership Summit at Seoul, South Korea in Feb 2014.
This young rising Environment star has set her foot on the mission to inspire and empower more and more eco-warriors to get into action.
Environment was her passion from childhood and a philosophy that Arushi already lives her life by and is working hard to preserve and protect Mother Nature.
In conversation with Arushi:
Q.1: The world belongs to the next generation of leaders and you are certainly one of them. How did environment as a cause come to you? Where did you start from?
Ever since I was young, my parents used to tell me to switch off the lights when not in room, not to waste resources, not to throw waste around, keep the place clean, care for plants etc. That’s where my interest in environment built up. It developed into a passion and concern towards environment when I started reading about alarming levels of global warming and its harmful consequences in the form of increasing disasters (like floods, droughts, cyclones), spread of diseases, extinction of species etc.
Q.2: Tell us more about yourself? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Currently I’m pursuing my first year of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK.
I have been advocating the cause of environment conservation and sustainable development, by organizing many environment events and campaigns. I have mobilized youth to work towards environmental protection.
I have been the Regional Environment Ambassador to the Middle East from 2013 to Aug 2016 and joined in Sept 2016 currently I am Regional Environment Ambassador to the UK -appointed by Tunza Eco Generation (initiative by UNEP-United Nations Environment Program and Samsung Engineering. I am the President (2015-2016) and mentor (2016-2017) of youth community group “Students for the Earth” (member of Earth Charter International youth groups), am Country Incharge for “Green Dream Earth”, am a brand ambassador of Protect Your Mom (Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign), former President-Student Council (2015-2016) in Delhi Private School-Sharjah and am the founder/owner of FB group ‘Ecoholics’ aimed at instilling positive environmental values.
Apart from pursuing environmental and humanitarian causes, I love dancing, playing cricket, & chess.
I want to become an Electrical & Electronics Engineer to acquire skills, knowledge and expertise which I can utilize to work on energy projects & contribute to future CLEAN ENERGY WORLD. As part of the electrical engineering team, I aspire to play an important role in the future development of a sustainable world.
Q.3: What triggered you to become an environmentalist at such a young age?
Once I went for “Earth Day walkathon”, I noticed participants happily joining the walkathon without knowing what it is for and what message it is conveying. Ironically, at the end of walkathon, I saw people carelessly throwing waste including empty plastic water bottles, cans, chips wrappers etc. in the open ground. Then I realized that there is lack of awareness on basic environment values in common man. It made me to think how can a serious problem of global warming, an environmental menace, be tackled unless people are aware that problem exists, it is realistic and they are the stakeholders in contributing to the problems and suffering from its consequences. This realization inspired & motivated me to adopt the cause and take up the issue of spreading awareness about protecting environment. Ever since then, I have been into environmental advocacy.
Q.4: With such signs of world environmental danger. Do you think the change is possible?
If we, the humans on the planet were the ones to create this issue, it’s none but us and only us who can solve it. Issues like Global warming and climate change are serious threats and are disturbing weather, people, animals and much more. Our health, economy, livelihoods, infrastructure and much more waver.
Climate change and anthropological pressure on the environment is a global issue, one so large that an individual may question what their eco-friendly efforts are actually achieving. But any small action in this direction if taken by all can work wonders.
World population is reaching 7 billion. Imagine the change that can be brought, if parents plant a tree when their new born child is born, and watch the tree growing with your child. Imagine, if each of us plant a tree on our birthday alone, this world will be much greener and purer with 7 billion trees in a year.
Change has to begin from us so whoever is reading it, make it a practice to plant a tree from your next birthday onwards and spread the word around till all 7 billion people of this world have at least one tree each.
Q.5: Lending a hand to this initiative for a greener future, what do you expect from the people today?
“Going green” doesn’t have to be a daunting task, we don’t need to bring drastic changes to our life style. Whatever we do impacts environment. So before taking any action, please ask yourself 3 questions. Is it necessary? What will be its impact on environment? And Is there any eco friendlier alternative? Simple & small things can make a difference. They may be small at individual level but if all of us follow them, they collectively have a bigger & positive impact on the environment. After all my carbon foot print adds to yours, yours adds to mine and ours adds up to the global carbon footprint. Let’s increase our handprint to reduce our footprint. Remember, the earth can live without humans but humans cannot live without earth, we have only one planet, there is no planet B.
Q.6: What are the difficulties you face during your works? How do you tackle on to make your awareness campaigns successful?
Initially people were not willing to come for my campaigns. I, then, collaborated with companies like Bee’ah and Tunza Eco Generation (Environment networking platform for children and youth-initiative by Samsung and UNEP) and got nice give-aways /souveniers to be given during these campaigns. This strategy worked and give-aways worked in attracting people to attend my campaigns. Once they attended my campaigns, I was successful in convincing them, generating interest in them to work towards environment protection.
During my initiative “Waste Segregation system” in our building, after putting the boxes (meant for paper waste), I saw few residents throwing cloth tie /liquid waste in that box which had clear label outside the box specifying to throw paper/paper-like waste in it. Then I realized that this system won’t be effective till each & every resident of our building is visited and made aware about its purpose and significance. So, I started meeting each of the 66 families one by one. I visited door to door to ensure every flat resident or every family is aware of what and why I set it up and kept visiting them till I met and educated each and every resident in our building.
Amidst demanding studies, sparing time for my campaigns becomes challenging but I manage it by planning and prioritizing various tasks, by proper time management and with relentless support from my parents.
I have to customize my campaigns to make them convincing and interesting for target participants else people feel disinterested and cannot connect to issues like ‘Climate change’.
Q.7: Being a holder of such prestigious awards and achievements you have made everyone proud. Highlight the support from your parents and mentors in your journey so far.
My parents have been extremely supportive in my journey. Whenever I have an idea in my mind, I discuss with them and they promptly and actively support me by guiding me, providing me all logistical support to turn my idea into accomplishment. My school environment incharge Ms Anjum Hasan has always encouraged me to continue working towards this cause. She was instrumental in providing me platform within the school for my in-school awareness sessions.
Tunza Eco Generation (an environmental networking platform for children and youth and is an initiative by United Nations Environment Program and Samsung Engineering), has played a big role in developing my environment passion and making me an impactful eco-leader.
Q.8: You have to be greatly focused to manage your studies along with these activities. What motivates you to keep going? Tell us about your future goals?
Appreciation from friends, relatives, peers, teachers and when stranger comes to me and says “I have been inspired by your idea and have started following the same”-these all keep me motivated and inspire me to do more in bigger & better way to impact bigger masses and to generate many more eco-warriors. Honestly, even all the awards and media appreciations also help me a lot by keeping me motivated and charged for the environmental cause I have adopted. Overall, the urgency of each of us to reduce our carbon footprint and protect environment from the EVILS of CLIMATE CHANGE is what drives me and keeps me motivated.
Q.9: You are a role model for today’s youth. What is your advice to the young generation?
Shed away hesitations and don’t wait for others to initiate. Have a “Let me” approach rather than “Why me”. Apart from academics, involve yourself in social and voluntary activities to improve the lives of others, to give back to society and to make this world a better place. Be the change you wish to see in the world. For e.g. if you find a place dirty, please don’t say “the place is dirty”. Rather, clean it and say “It was dirty”. Do it and set examples for others. Youth has immense potential to bring about a revolutionizing change. Let’s use “Youth Power” and bring a positive change to the environment and to the world. Let’s leave our mark (not our footprint).
Her awards and prizes include:
Ø Winner of ‘International Young Eco Hero Award’ from US based “Action for Nature” in 2015. She was the only winner from UAE among 10 global winners in 2015.
Ø Winner of the “International Diana Award” -one of the most prestigious global award with the certificate signed by the British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron-for her outstanding & selfless contribution to the community and environment.
Ø Honored as High Achiever Youth by “Commonwealth Youth Council” and featured in “Commonwealth Young Achievers Book” published in 2015.
Ø Winner of “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum award for Distinguished Student” in 2013.
Ø Winner of “Sharjah Award for Educational Excellence” in 2015.
Ø Two times first prize winner of Outstanding student – Sharjah Environment Awareness Award (SEAA) in 2014 and in 2016.
Ø Winner as MIDDLE EAST TOPPER in TERI Green Olympiad Contest an exam conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India).
Ø Winner of “Green Star UAE” title for her environmental contributions & achievements.
Ø Winner of “Dunia Young Leaders Scholar” award.
Ø Winner of the “Best (Environment) Ambassador” award from Tunza Eco Generation (an initiative by Samsung Engineering & UNEP) among more than 60 global ambassadors, etc.
Arushi’s Facebook profile