14 innovations led by young ecopreneurs that are protecting and restoring our planet

Investing in the next generation of ecopreneurs is key to securing the future of our planet. Image: jcomp/Freepick

Lindsey Prowse
Lead, North America and Youth Engagement, World Economic Forum
Silje Ditlefsen Zanni
UpLink Programme and Impact Lead, World Economic Forum
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  • and UpLink, the World Economic Forum's platform for sourcing and scaling solutions that protect people and planet, unveils its first winning cohort of youth innovators.
  • The solutions address a range of ecosystem challenges, including deforestation and forest degradation and decline in pollinators, and the lack of conservation training and opportunities for young people to become equipped with the tools to protect nature.
  • Investing in the next generation of ecopreneurs is key to securing the future of our planet.

Young people and future generations will be the worst affected by climate change. Already, nearly all of the world’s 2.2 billion children have been exposed to at least one climate-related risk – from toxic air pollution to wildfires or droughts.

Critical to helping fight climate change and building resilience are Earth’s ecosystems. Forests, grasslands and wetlands are natural climate solutions in that they capture and sequester carbon. They also offer a broad range of other benefits – from cleaning our air, controlling temperatures, preventing floods, creating jobs and protecting our mental health.

But Earth’s ecosystems are at risk, and there has never been a more urgent need to protect and revive them.

Sparked by a formidable sense of responsibility, young people worldwide are leading by example. Their actions and innovative solutions indicate the power of an environmentally and technology-savvy generation to bring about real, concrete change.

To support young ecopreneurs, and UpLink launched the #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge in collaboration with funding partner Salesforce and supporting partner UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

We received over 170 submissions worldwide, which speaks to the magnitude of growing youth advocacy and leadership to help protect our planet. The top 14 ecopreneurs have been selected to join the UpLink Innovator Network, a growing community of innovators.

Throughout the year ahead, we will work with the cohort to help them scale their solutions through capacity building workshops, visibility and mentoring opportunities, as well as connections to experts and potential investors.

Here is the full list of our Top UpLink Innovators from the #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge:

AkoFresh aims to solve post-harvest losses faced by smallholder farmers with an off-grid cold storage preservation unit.

Cábula Initiative aims to transform desertified land into a Mediterranean forest that was once the natural ecosystem.

CoalitionWILD offers free training and mentorship programmes designed to create a network of young global change agents equipped and empowered to lead the protection of biodiversity, culture, species and the seas.

CERIOPS Research Organization are on a mission to train local communities affected by impacts of mangroves degradation on best practices for ecosystem restoration while empowering actual restoration at a larger scale.

Green Generation Initiative nurtures young people to love nature and be environmentally conscious at a young age through education, greening schools, creating food forest establishments, and tree growing.

Millennium Kids Inc are creating green spaces, titled Green Labs, adopted by schools or local governments to use as outdoor classrooms and at the same time monitor, grow and protect the area adopted.

Mvutu is a technology platform providing end-to-end digital agricultural services to farmers, including pest diagnosis, weather insurance, agronomic advice, and crop monitoring.

Ecological Food Caterpillars Company is restoring biodiversity by planting and managing indigenous forest trees that are hosts for edible caterpillars, contributing to the environment, alleviating food insecurity, and creating a source of income for youth and indigenous people.

The Research Education for Sustainable Actions is establishing pollinator gardens in rural communities with intensive farming. Farmers provide pieces of land that they are not farming, and they provide the trees, shrubs, and herbs, alongside the training.

P.I.B Global Limited is restoring forests by taking an environmental hazard, water hyacinths, and making biochar seed balls thrown into the environment.

Saving the Amazon works towards the conservation of the Amazon Rainforest by collaborating with the indigenous inhabitants. Through their technology, any person or organization in the world can adopt a tree or a forest in the Amazon. This tree is planted and managed by the local communities to help reverse climate change and generate economic opportunities for the local communities.

Seawater Solutions is a multi-award winning start-up based in Glasgow, Scotland, that helps communities worldwide build integrated wetland farms in which coastal wetlands are constructed for climate adaptation and seawater agriculture.

The Urban Garden Initiative (TUGI) is a non-profit organization that aims to inspire and empower young people to achieve urban sustainability in their communities through an interactive and holistic gardening-based experience.

Treeconomy is on a mission to combat climate change, restore biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods by revolutionizing forestry-based carbon offsetting. They are pioneering an integrated suite of remote sensing, data science, and green finance tools to address the fundamental financial barriers that prevent reforestation at the landowner level.

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