Eco-Activist Sagarika Sriram is making change through small actions

Sagarika Sriram was 10 years old when she started reading newspaper stories about a planet in danger — one about a whale washed ashore after an oil spill, another about turtles was found to have plastic in the stomach. At that moment she knew that she wanted to do something in order to act, and Join an environmental group organizing cleanup campaigns in her home city of Dubai. The experience, she says, “helped me understand what an individual can do and how I can really make a difference.” But personal power is strongest on the scale, and in 2016, as a project for a coding class, Sriram created Children for a better world, a digital platform that has brought together nearly 100,000 young people from around the world who also want to learn how they can fight climate change.
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Sriram, now 16, has been called “an inspiration to all the young girls in her country and West Asia” by the United Nations Environment Program. She heads a growing group of youth climate activists organizing and campaigning online for a cleaner, healthier future. “We are the generation that will face the consequences if the climate crisis is not resolved, echoing the sentiments of other young global climate leaders, such as Sweden,” said Sriram. Greta Thunberg. She recalls remembering Bali’s Melati Wijsen, a teenager who successfully pressured leaders there to ban plastic bags in 2019. “Such an inspiring and powerful change was That has taught me to never give up,” said Sriram, who works closely with other young people. activists and organizations across the Middle East.

As well as participating online, Sriram organizes local cleanups on beaches and deserts in the United Arab Emirates, collecting waste such as cigarette butts and face masks. She says the pandemic has made conducting these events “a little more complicated”, but we suggest that people can go on their own in their own small family groups and make an impact. . ”

Slowing climate change requires drastic action by governments and corporations, but Sriram believes even small individual actions can create a “ripple effect” and help build momentum. go in the right direction. “Change can be made on a large scale even with small actions,” she said. Kids for a Better World reflects that thinking, with material designed to teach children aged eight to 16 about climate change and what they can do in their own homes and communities to reverse it. it (for example, they can grow food or grow plants at home, or collect recyclables and avoid plastic bags). Sriram wants those lessons to be taught in schools around the world. “Education is the foundation of what we learn and we spend a lot of time in school, so this is information that can help change our future,” she said.

DECEMBER 29, 2021- DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Sagarika Sriram, a teen climate activist, was photographed outside her home. Natalie Naccache's photo for TIME
Natalie Naccache in TIMESagarika Sriram, a teenage climate activist, was photographed outside her home on December 29, 2021.

Growing up in a desert metropolis exposed to risks from rising temperatures and dwindling water supplies made Sriram acutely aware of the need for action. She believes that youth advocacy is effective in bringing much-needed attention to the challenges facing the UAE and its neighbors. “When kids spread a message and you go door to door telling people about it, they tend to understand what is going on,” she said.

Even if she only likes small acts, Sriram has big plans. She aims to study behavioral economics at Stanford University while continuing her activism work and running the Children for a Better World program, which aims to expand globally. and created an “international team of eco-warriors,” as she puts it. Furthermore, she hopes that the work she is doing will inspire others to fight for a greener planet, as others have inspired her. “We are creating our own system of inspirational change makers,” she said. Eco-Activist Sagarika Sriram is making change through small actions


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