Kehkashan Basu is a 12 year old environmental and social activist from the United Arab Emirates whose sole objective is to involve and mobilize kids and youth in the movement for a sustainable and green future. Born on 5th June, which interestingly also happens to be the World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an environmental activist. Spreading the message of peace and sustainability has been her passion since she her early childhood days.
Needless to say, Kehkashan has been working tirelessly to motivate youngsters all over the world to care for the environment. She was the youngest international delegate at Rio+20 held in Rio de Janeiro last year where her work on stopping land degradation won her a global award from UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Infact, she was the only child to be a part of a UN press conference at Rio+20 which was held to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification . She also conducted several workshops on sustainability and also launched the first Asia Pacific Youth Water Summit at this landmark event. She was chosen by UN Conference on Sustainable Development Major Group for Children and Youth (UNCSD MGCY) to be the voice of the children and youth at several forums and reached out to the children of Rio’s slums to integrate them in the march towards sustainability.
As a member of the Arab Youth for Climate Movement, Kehkashan attended the Conference of Youth (CoY8) as well as CoP18 held in Doha last year. Her exemplary work as a youth ambassador has seen her participating in numerous international conferences, notable being Eye on Earth Summit, World Future Energy Summit and Asia Pacific TUNZA Conference. Her efforts to promote environmental advocacy won her a prize from the Korea Green Foundation and she was invited to give a presentation at the 2012 Global Youth for Environment Forum held in Seoul, Korea.
In addition, Kehkashan is the founder of a youth organization called Green Hope UAE which strives to provide a networking platform to children and youth to carry forward the Rio legacy. She is Climate Justice Ambassador for Plant-for-the-Planet and in her role as the Academy Coordinator conducted the first Plant-for-the-Planet in the UAE which mobilized school children to plant saplings in the country. Kehkashan is the Regional Ambassador of TUNZA Ecogeneration, an active member of UNEP, United Nations Major Groups for Children & Youth (UNCSD MGCY) and the Emirates Environmental Group apart from being the Chairperson of the UAE chapter of International Youth Council.
Kehkashan has actively pursued a number of grassroot-level projects on environment protection and biodiversity conservation. She plants a tree on every birthday as a symbol of her solidarity to the green cause and has planted saplings in the UAE, Indonesia, Kenya and Brazil. Despite her heavy involvement in environment protection, Kehkashan has always achieved top grades in school which helped her in winning the prestigious HH Shaikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance in 2010.
Kehkashan works towards being the change for a better future and believes in the words of Mark Twain “Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first”. Her objective is to take a leadership role in spreading awareness about natural resource conservation in school and community and also be a role model by practicing the tenets of conservation which may spur the young generation to lead the fight against climate change