One of the biggest platforms in India for youth action for sustainability, Young India Challenge (YIC) was organized in the capital of Odisha on 22-23 February. The Winning team will get Rs. 1 Lakh seed funding for implementing sustainable living solutions.
YIC is a platform created by Human Circle to find solutions to India’s biggest challenges like climate change, responsible consumption and Production and young peoples’ mental health. Human Circle started as a community of people driving #DoWhatYouLove movement and now the community is working with youth that stands for sustainability. Like the recent edition, this year the core theme of the event #DoWhatYouLove was combined with ‘Sustainable Living’ as a part of the larger ‘Youth for Sustainability’ initiative driven by some like-minded organizations.
Wioleta Burdzy Seth, co-founder of Human Circle and co-creator of Young India Challenge said, “This is the 7th year and 11th edition of Young India Challenge. The event is organized by a group of volunteers called the “Happiness Team”. Today we have invited 120 young people from 42 different cities across India, to find solutions to UN sustainable development goals challenges like responsible consumption & production and climate action”. She added. “Every year thousands of people apply for YIC, because they are inspired to find solutions for India’s and world’s complex challenges.”
Punyasloka Panda, lead volunteer coordinator, Youth for Sustainability (YfS) clubs said, “I came back to Bhubaneswar from New Delhi leaving my well-paid job to start YfS clubs. My city has seen the effects of climate crisis first hand. Over the years, we have witnessed several cyclones hitting Odisha, we are aware of the problem, and now we need to find solutions together. Up till now, 550 people have been reached out to through events and workshop, 50 youth have joined YfS clubs as active volunteers. Activities of the clubs range from auditing restaurants and canteens for sustainable sourcing, for example: not using single use plastic, using sustainable palm oil etc., cleaning drives in stadiums, beaches, college campuses; using art, culture and technology, to create awareness about climate crisis.”
Kamal Seth, India Representative of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) stated “According to a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) study, every second product we buy on a day to day basis has an ingredient of palm which has often been connected with deforestation related issues. Having said that according to a report by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the best alternate to palm is sustainable palm. In India, we have started educating and training, oil palm farmers for sustainable agricultural practices, and getting a premium from the market for their certified crop.”
Organisations like Human Circle, RSPO, The Climate Reality Project, UN Live, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) and many others have come together to create a new initiative called ‘Youth for Sustainability’ (YfS). As a part of the initiative, six YfS clubs across have been launched across Odisha with plans to expand to other cities soon.