Climate Change

9 youth-led innovations that are protecting the planet

Young people are at the forefront of the fight against climate change. The Youth Climate Action Challenge called for their innovative solutions to protect the planet.

Young people are at the forefront of the fight against climate change. The Youth Climate Action Challenge called for their innovative solutions to protect the planet. Image: Unsplash/Li-An Lim

Sophia Simmons
Project Specialist, Climate and Environment, Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum
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  • Addressing the climate crisis calls for innovation and collective action from young leaders.
  • Therefore, Global Shapers were asked to develop a Challenge that would support young innovators to scale their solutions to the climate crisis.
  • Nine young climate innovators were chosen to receive support to scale their impact.

Around the world, youth prepare to gather at Stockholm+50, focusing on nature and resilience, in the lead up to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. In preparation for these global summits, it is critical that young people have a shared language and mission, and for their collective action and innovation to be supported and accelerated.

With this context in mind, members of the Global Shapers Community (GSC) and The Climate Reality Project (CRP) designed a Challenge to source and champion young leaders from around the world working to drive local climate action and raise climate ambition. This is how the Youth Climate Action Challenge was born.

The Challenge, hosted on the World Economic Forum’s Innovation Platform UpLink, received 108 submissions that were carefully assessed by a community of experts to select nine UpLink Featured Innovators.

Over the coming months, the nine Featured Innovators will have the opportunity to learn from each other and scale their impact through 1-on-1 mentoring with The Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGLs), the GSC, and the CRP Climate Leaders. Featured Innovators will be supported by the Forum and the CRP through promotion of their work and introductions to established ecopreneurs.

Here are the Featured Innovators who are enabling climate action around the world through creativity, optimism, social justice, and hard work:

  • BluPower (India) is a Micro Hydro solution providing reliable and resilient hydropower that is compact and easy to install in rivers and canal sites currently unfit for electrification. Their mission is to produce 8000 GW of energy annually by 2030 to impact 20 million lives in grid deficient communities globally.
  • Chloride Free Foundation (Brazil) is an international non-profit organization that addresses carbon sequestration in soil and is looking to expand beyond Brazil and the US. The Foundation aims to create a prosperous and equitable future for all people and the environment through raising awareness about the importance of soil biodiversity and promoting sustainable, chloride-free agriculture practices among farmers.
  • Eco Smart Farming (Eco Warriors) (Ghana) is a digital Farming solution that offers climate-smart agricultural practices to farmers in local languages. This scalable tech-based solution targets farmers in the Fodoa community who are losing their rice crops due to climate change and need to learn new climate-smart methods of rice farming.
  • HamsaRecycling (Azerbijan) is a social start-up that uses textile and plastic waste to create shoes and clothing. They aim to create products designed specifically for people with disabilities from recycled materials. As people with disabilities have been underrepresented in the fashion industry, HamsaRecycling is contributing to sustainability and inclusiveness.
  • MAA’VA™ (United States of America) is developing a proprietary sustainable carbon sequestering construction material, turning plastic and non-plastic waste into eco-concrete that can be used for conventional and 3D-printing construction. By optimizing 3D-printing technology, MAA’VA can build environmentally friendly low-cost housing with eco-concrete in one day for 1/10th of the construction cost and half of the construction waste.
  • Mudatuga (Portugal) is a start-up creating domestic and community compost solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the disposal of organic waste in landfills. Its leading product is Compostuga, an eco-friendly Bokashi bin made with cork residues that allows consumers to compost anything at home. Mudatuga addresses Portugal’s growing urban waste problem while aiming to become a catalyst of circular waste management in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Nossa Horta (Brazil) is a grassroots movement in Rio de Janeiro city promoting urban agriculture through community gardens primarily in low-income neighbourhoods. Each garden fits the needs of the local community and teaches adults and children about climate change, medicinal plants, unconventional foods.
  • Subjee-Cooler (India) is a portable zero-energy cooling chamber that keeps vegetables fresh for five days without energy input. The Subjee-Cooler has been instrumental in improving farmers' income and decreasing food waste throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Tree Square (Philippines) is a scalable model for urban reforestation supported by the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The project combats climate change one square meter at a time through collective and individual action to re-green cities. Tree Square’s goal is to achieve 10,000 square meters of urban tree coverage across 100 cities in the Philippines, with the potential to scale to other countries in Southeast Asia.
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