5 Young People with Big Ideas for the Planet

Shubhendu Sharma 

Shubhendu Sharma was working as a young industrial engineer at Toyota when he got his big idea: to set up a company that brings back wild, native forests on overlooked parcels of land. By the time Sharma was 25, he had already laid the foundations for his business. Seven years later, his company Afforestt is now working in India and around the world to grow native forests in city centres, outside homes and factories, and at airports and rail stations. Read more about his story here, or watch his TED talk.



Isabel and Melati Wijsen

Isabel and Melati Wijsen were just 10 and 12 years old when they launched their campaign to ban plastic bags on their home island of Bali. Bye Bye Plastic Bags attracted global attention and support, and ultimately succeeded in getting Bali’s governor to commit to a ban on plastic bags by 2018. Learn more about their campaign, or watch their TED talk.




Kevin Kumala

Kevin Kumala was 29 when he launched his business, Avani Eco, which makes biodegradable alternatives to plastic products. Today, the company produces four tons of material every day – all made from 100 per cent renewable resources. Check out the company’s eco-friendly shopping bags, compostable coffee cups, wooden cutlery, ponchos and paper straws. Read more here, or watch a video of Kevin drinking one of his products.




Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has achieved a lot in his 17 years. The young American activist is the youth director of an organization called Earth Guardians, which aims to inspire a global youth movement to fight climate change. He has sued the United States government for a lack of action climate change, and been awarded a community service award by former President Obama. He’s also a hip-hop artist: His song “Speak for the Trees” was chosen as the theme song for the 2015 climate conference in Paris. You can read his profile in Rolling Stone, or watch his TED talk from 2014.