From Greta to India's Krithi, climate heroes hog limelight
From activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden to conservation scientist Krithi Karanth from India, the yearly jamboree of the rich and powerful from across the world in this Swiss ski resort town will host many a climate heroes this week.
From activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden to conservation scientist Krithi Karanth from India, the yearly jamboree of the rich and powerful from across the world in this Swiss ski resort town will host many a climate heroes this week. Going by the theme of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, which calls itself an international organisation for public-private partnership, more than 3,000 global leaders will assemble here this week as 'stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world'.
The WEF said, its 2020 annual meeting will be more action-oriented than ever with its Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab expecting it to be a "Do shop, not a talk shop". Helping bring about systemic change to return our planet to a sustainable path, there will be an unprecedented number of leaders from across civil society making progress at the community, national and global level, the WEF said.
There would be a number of 'teenage changemakers' attending the event, including Fionn Ferreira of Netherlands. As a young scientist, Fionn has created a project extracting micro plastics from water and aims to prevent them from reaching oceans. Besides, it will be attended by Ayakha Melithafa, a 17 year-old South African who advocates for low-carbon footprint in her community and supports the inclusion of diverse voices in climate activism. Autumn Peltier of Canada, on the other hand, has been advocating for water conservation since the age of 8, and is Anishinabek's Chief Water Commissioner, representing over 40 First Nations in Canada.
Greta Thunberg is already famous as an international climate activist and a leader of the School Strike for Climate movement. Melati Wijsen of Indonesia, with her initiative Bye Bye Plastics that she founded with her sister, has banned plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam in Bali since 2019. The members from the civil society and academia include Gary Bencheghib of Indonesia. Gary's film-making has brought home the impact of environmental degradation to millions of people.
For example in a film he made navigating the world's most polluted river in Java in a kayak made of plastic bottles. Kerstin Forsberg of Peru has lead dozens of community-based environmental projects in Peru, engaging hundreds of citizen scientists and over 50 schools in marine education. Salvador Gomez-Colon of Puerto Rico, after Huricanne Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, developed project 'Light and Hope' which supported over 3,000 families with solar lamps and manual washing machines.
Jane Goodall of USA is a world-renowned primatologist and her work has paved redefined the relationship between humans and animals. From India, Krithi Karanth would be present. As Chief Conservation Scientist and Director of the Centre for Wildlife Studies, Kirithi's work focuses on human-animal conflict and land use change. Wanjuhi Njoroge of Kenya founded #SaveOurForestsKE as a campaign that raised awareness about the decimation of forests and led to a nine-month ban on national forest logging in the country.
Carlos Afonso Nobre of Brazil has dedicated his career to the Amazon region and developed pioneer research on the climate impacts of deforestation. German citizen Johan Rockstrom's work developing the planetary boundaries framework that facilitates human development while defending the planet's boundaries is regarded as seminal. British Lord Nicholas Stern's seminal 2006 study on the economics of climate change was the first of its kind to quantify the cost of climate change.
Holly Syrett of Netherlands has led a grassroots approach in 40 cities for citizens to re-use, re-purpose, buy less, buy second-hand and use their purchasing-power to support items that respect people and planet. Neel Tamhane from Bangladesh has led a tree-planting drive that has already planted 9 billion trees in 27 cities in South Asia. Asha de Vos of Sri Lanka has founded the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project in 2008, the first long term study on blue whales within the northern Indian Ocean.
The WEF is also showcasing a series of installations, including Partnering with Nature, developed in collaboration with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Algae Platform by Atelier Luma and Department of Seaweed by Julia Lohmann, two projects exploring the potential of algae as an alternative to conventional materials such as plastic; and Totomoxtle by designer Fernando Laposse which aims to reintroduce native varieties and restore indigenous farming practices in Mexico. The meeting brings together nearly 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, participants will focus on defining new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world.