Seventeen Year Old Aadya Joshi Pioneers Education and Action Toward a More Biodiverse India

by | Jan 17, 2020 | Heartivist Of The Week

Aadya Joshi was a young child when she started searching intently in the trees in her native Mumbai, India, for the beautiful colored birds that her grandparents had described as decorating the branches when they were growing up just two generations prior.

Joshi remembers being disappointed that she could never find the birds of which her grandparents spoke–not for lack of trying, but because the birds simply didn’t live there anymore.

The knowledge that these birds would no longer grace Mumbai’s skies due to their loss of habitat and food affected Joshi so much that she decided to take action—and she didn’t wait until she was older to make a difference.

At 15 years old, Joshi, now 17, founded The Right Green, an initiative that aims to spread awareness about the vital role of native plants in supporting local fauna, like insects, birds, and small animals, and facilitate community action towards their restoration.
She describes:

“Today we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of species. One of the important causes is the loss of natural habitats and native plants. Native plants serve as a vital food source for insects, which in turn are food for other species like birds and small animals. Hence the loss of native plants and their replacement with exotic, non-native plants has a cascading effect that results in a significant decline in biodiversity.”

Awarded a TPP grant in November 2019, Joshi developed a special curriculum that includes games and other activities to spread awareness about biodiversity to elementary and middle school students in Mumbai. The Right Green also works to stem the decline in local fauna in India’s cities by housing a growing database of native plant species that supports the largest number of local species—a project she pioneered with the assistance of Dr. Douglas Tallamy, an authority on urban ecosystem regeneration, whom Joshi contacted after educating herself on the biodiversity crisis. The Right Green also conducts workshops to encourage and educate local citizens and municipal authorities to choose native plants for their yards and gardens to help restore India’s native biodiversity.

Joshi created the curriculum with the intent of spurring young people like herself into action.
“There are four steps required towards change: awareness, appreciation, access, and action. [Through these steps] and the educational program I created on understanding and implementing native biodiversity at the school level, I will empower school children to learn about native plants and develop their own biodiversity gardens.”

Joshi’s two-pronged approach to the biodiversity crisis—educating young people and creating the database—demonstrates a keen willingness to address not just the symptoms, but also the root causes of the issue: a trait that is a hallmark of successful TPP grantees and a cornerstone of TPP’s values.

Says Joshi: “I realized that a large number of non-native plants in the city of Mumbai was one of the reasons for the disappearance of the birds. I found that spreading awareness could help bring back some of the more than 250 species of birds and numerous species of butterflies and the rich biodiversity that our city once had.”

TPP thanks Joshi for the incredible work she’s doing to restore balance to India’s biodiversity, and we hope that one day, the birds so loved by her grandparents will fly once again.

 

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By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

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🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
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The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

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It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
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