Kehkashan from UAE Hub Receives Action for Nature 2013 International Young Eco-Hero Award

July 1, 2013

Kehkashan Basu, leader of the COE UAE Hub, placed second in the Action for Nature 2013 International Young Eco-Hero Awards. Congratulations Kehkashan!

Action For Nature is proud to announce our 2013 International Young Eco-Hero Awards, which recognize young people 8 to 16 years old for their environmental achievements. We hope the accomplishments of these outstanding young people will inspire many others to preserve and protect the Earth upon which all life depends.


Kehkashan Basu, Second Place, Age 12, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Efforts to Stop Land Degradation

Kehkashan Basu was born on June 5th which is also recognized as “World Environment Day” and she feels this was a sign that “it was preordained that I should grow up to be an eco‐warrior.” Kehkashan has pursued three areas of environmental work – tree planting, cleanup campaigns, and recycling – all of which support her ultimate goal of stopping land degradation.

When Kehkashan turned eight years old, she used her birthday money to buy and plant a tree sapling. Since then, tree planting has become an annual birthday tradition and Kehkashan has planted over 100 trees in the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Brazil. Additionally, her project involved several beach cleanups in one of which over 25,000 cigarette butts were collected. Her essay about her work to stop land degradation and waste segregation received an award from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and was featured on their website.

In 2012, Kehkashan initiated the United Arab Emirates’ first Climate Justice Academy for Plant-for-the-Planet, where she held a youth workshop on stopping land degradation through tree planting and addressing climate change. Kehkashan was also the youngest international  participating delegate to attend the United Nation’s Rio+20 meeting, where she held an official press conference calling on youth from around the world to join the fight against land degradation.

Kehkashan is now the Global Coordinator of Children and Youth, UNEP’s Major Groups Facilitating Committee and she is the only minor to hold this position in the history of UNEP. She has also recently been elected as the Global President of the Children’s Board for Plant-for-the-Planet for the year 2013 - 2014.

To carry the Rio legacy forward and continue to spread knowledge about how to combat land degradation, Kehkashan founded her own youth organization, GreenHopeUAE, whose mission is to support environmental causes and raise awareness about sustainable development and the creation of a “green” economy. Kehkashan is committed to helping achieve land degradation neutrality, and she created an educational video to help inform others about land degradation’s causes and solutions: Kehkashan's Message on Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality. Kehkashan says that this project has given her the confidence to challenge preconceived notions and that, “the sky is really the limit if one has the passion.”

Click here to read about the other 2013 winners.

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