While attending the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil I became a Climate Justice Ambassador for the global organization , Plant-for-the-Planet , and we planted two saplings right in the middle of RIOCENTRO while the Earth Summit was in progress.
Thereafter , I was appointed as the ACADEMY COORDINATOR for the UAE . It was also then , in June , that I started working on a plan to bring the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative to the UAE. Over the next several weeks, our team of youth members made plans , invitations sent out , meetings held with several schools and finally I was ready to roll out.
We finalized 22nd September as the day of the event. The magnificent ballroom of the Hotel Intercontinental, located in the picturesque Dubai Festival City, was the venue of the academy. I was also able to make arrangements for planting several saplings which was basically at the core of our academy. In all , we planted 64 saplings.
I composed and performed a song with a green message and the entire audience joined in the chorus.
Our academy was full of energetic and enthusiastic discussions and received an overwhelming response and we had a full house of students, some of them even drove down from different cities, such as Abu Dhabi ( 2 hours drive ) , Ajman and Sharjah.
I concluded the academy by quoting Mark Twain, who said “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” All of us agreed that this academy was just the first step and together we could and should work towards a more sustainable future.
So , STOP TALKING , START PLANTING for a better tomorrow!
The academy was a huge success and drew media attention as well.
Report in Gulf News :
Students from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi take part
Dubai: Scores of UAE students pledged support to the battle against climate change in the UAE’s first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy held at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City on Saturday.
Plant-for-the-Planet is a global children’s initiative where children will take on the role to empower other children in Plant-for-the-Planet Academies. It aims to train over one million children in up to 20,000 Academies worldwide by 2020.
Dubai resident Kehkashan Basu, 12, who represented the UAE youth at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil in June, organised the event as the Academy Coordinator.
She passed on the Academy’s stong message “Stop talking. Start planting.” to students from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi.
Report in the ‘7 DAYS’ newspaper :
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Schoolgirl Kehkashan Basu discovered at an early age that her birthday was World Environment Day and she’s been on a mission to help save the planet ever since.
The 12-year-old has just returned to Dubai from the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development where she won a UN award and was the youngest delegate. In Rio she called on children around the world to act now to save the Earth because “the planet cannot wait”.
Kehkashan, whose birthday is June 5, said: “Being born on World Environment Day, I feel that I am pre-ordained to be an eco-warrior. My objective is to take a leadership role in spreading awareness about conservation in my school and community and also be a role model by practicing the tenets of conservation.”
During a speech she gave at Rio the schoolgirl said: “I am 12 and I want my land to be green and bountiful when I grow up and I want that to remain for the future generations to come.”
She added: “This is my message to all children in the world. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Plant your first tree today. Talk about it to your peers. Spread the message and stop ecoside.”
Being an eco-warrior is something Kehkashan is taking very seriously. She has a three-page list of achievements, ecological groups she is a member of and conferences she has attended.
On it is everything from Hawksbill Turtle conservation to choreographing her own eco-dance to spread the message of conservation to schoolchildren. She actively promotes recycling everything from cans to toner cartridges and has won eco poetry, art and photography competitions and environmental quizzes.
Her latest role is as an ambassador for the ‘Plant for the Planet Foundation’ and she is encouraging other children to become ambassadors too. She said: “While attending Rio +20, I was appointed as a Climate Justice Ambassador by Plant for the Planet as I planted two saplings at the venue.
“Then I received authorisation from Germany, its headquarters, to conduct the UAE’s first academy in my role as co-ordinator.” Plant for the Planet is a global children’s initiative and Kehkashan said: “They tell others about the climate crisis and take action by planting trees. While the adults keep on talking, we say: ‘Stop talking. Start planting’.”
The schoolgirl held her academy at the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City and penned an environmental song for the occasion. She said: “We had a full house with students coming from Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi!”
Kehkashan said: “When I grow up I want to become a nuclear scientist and environmentalist. I want to study in Harvard, it’s my dream to do as much as possible for the world, to find alternative ways of producing energy.”
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