United Arab Emirates - January 24, 2021: Innoventures Education student Isha Reddy engaged more than 700 students across the UAE in a contactless, 10-day eco drive to collect and recycle waste. Reddy, 17, is a student of Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills and founder of Go Akhdar, a platform that encourages sustainable living through community initiatives. The ongoing pandemic resulted in the recycling drive taking place remotely, but through effective collaboration and communication, a large number of individuals were motivated to take both action and responsibility for the environment.
A sustainability advocate since her early teens, Reddy has also published a book on sustainable development at the age of 15. Her sustainability startup Go Akhdar is a platform for sharing green news and blogs, and creating community engagement initiatives, like the contactless recycling drive she organized in October 2020.
Go Akhdar also recently organized a virtual eco winter camp, focusing on creating awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals through hands-on activities. Besides environmental awareness, such initiatives also offer students the opportunity to volunteer and participate in community service.
Reddy said, “The UAE is making great strides in the area of sustainable development; be it through government initiatives, public-private partnerships, investments in clean technologies, or youth empowerment, the future of sustainability in the UAE looks extremely positive and exciting.”
Reddy recently attended the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2021 (ADSW), hosted by Masdar. ADSW brings together world leaders, entrepreneurs, and academicians from around the world, under one platform, to discuss and design strategic solutions to our world's sustainability challenges.
Reddy said of the experience: “Attending ADSW, particularly the Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) forum, was extremely enriching. I had the opportunity to listen to visionary leaders in this field, including His Excellency, Dr. Abdulla Belhaif AlNuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Francesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA, and His Excellency Eng. Awaidha Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Energy Abu Dhabi. It was inspiring to hear about UAE's sustainability vision and goals, and why youth should be empowered and educated to bring about a positive change.
“As the founder of Go Akhdar, I am excited to be a part of UAE's sustainability journey. It is heartening to see the government supporting youth and empowering them to become global leaders.” A proud moment was when the UAE Minister of Community Development, Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, shared one of Go Akhdar's social media posts on her Instagram story.
The Head of Secondary at Dubai International Academy, Emirates Hills, Hitesh Bhagat remarked proudly: “I am thrilled to see Isha take on the mantle of sustainability in such an impressive way. We need more students like her who put the environment before all else and think about our footprint on the planet.”
Reddy thinks it is becoming increasingly important for both individuals and businesses to be mindful of their resource consumption and disposal. “Being environmentally conscious, reflecting on one's carbon footprint, becoming a responsible consumer, and contributing towards a circular economy are some of the simple ways to build a new culture of sustainability in societies.”