Meet the UAE's green girl spreading eco message
Young student is encouraging other children to spread the eco message and get planting trees, reports Myra Philp...
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.”