Romal Mitr, a junior at The Quarry Lane School in Dublin, received an honorable mention in the 2021 International Young Eco-Hero Awards Program, sponsored by Action for Nature.
Action For Nature is an international nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that encourages young people to take personal action to better the environment and to promote love and respect for nature.
Mitr, 15, was recognized for her web-based project, Reimagining Earth, which encourages others to find creative ways to address local environmental issues, including film and map making, lobbying, and using recycled paper for origami. She also convinced the City of Dublin to form an Environmental Youth Council, which was adopted as part of the city’s Climate Action Plan for 2030 and Beyond.
As the teenager explained, “After hearing that many of my peers wanted to join the environmental movement but were unsure of how to incorporate their diverse and seemingly unrelated interests, I established an organization that showcases how we can draw upon all of our distinct passions in order to innovate solutions to environmental problems like climate change.”
Last year, Mitr was also named a “Planet Hero” by EarthX, an organization sponsored by the National Geographic Society, for her environmental endeavors.
To learn more about Mitr’s efforts, go to www.reimaginingearth.org/.
Three other Bay Area students were also among the 25 youths recognized this year by Action for Nature.
Aarushi Wadhwa, from San Jose, won first place in the 15-16-year-old category for her project Aqua Pods, which addresses the waste of resources from overwatering plants. Aqua-Pods consist of a sponge-like material made from 100% biodegradable materials, including coffee grounds, potatoes, and banana peels, that retain water and increase soil fertility. They are currently being distributed in California, as well as in Kenya and India.
Amelia Fortgang, from San Francisco, won third place in the same category for creating the Bay Area Youth Climate Summit, (BAYCS) a youth network for climate-change mobilization that was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last September, the Fortgang, 16, organized a day-long virtual summit that drew 280 young people from 88 schools in 14 states and 5 countries. The agenda included 16 workshops ranging from coral reef protection and climate justice activism to environmental entrepreneurship. Since then, BAYCS has continued running monthly workshops on such topics as air quality, Indigenous activism, and environmental justice.
Ganesh Kumar, a 15-year-old from Fremont, also received notable mention in the 15-16-year-old division for his project, Goodbye Plastic Straws. Over the past two years, he researched ways to create affordable biodegradable straws and developed a straw made from palm leaves.