Kehkashan Basu is a 12 year old environmental and social activist living in the United Arab Emirates whose sole objective is to involve and mobilise children and youth in the movement for a sustainable and green future. Born on 5th June which is also World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an eco-warrior. Spreading the message of peace and sustainability has been her passion since she was only 8 years old and she has worked tirelessly to enlist the support of children and youth across geographical boundaries.
Her work has been recognized internationally and she is an active member of several organisations. She is the Regional Ambassador of TUNZA Ecogeneration and the Country Coordinator of TARUMITRA & GREEN The GENE. She is an active member of UNEP and also of United Nations Major Groups for Children & Youth ( UNCSD MGCY ). She is currently the Chairperson of the UAE chapter of the International Youth Council.
Apart from the above, she holds the following positions/memberships :
She is a 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 inducted scores of school children and culminated in the planting of 64 saplings in one day.
She has actively pursued a number of ground level projects on the environment and biodiversity conservation. She plants a tree on every birthday as a symbol of her solidarity to the green cause. She has planted over a hundred saplings in the UAE, Indonesia, Kenya and Brazil.
She was the youngest participating international delegate at Rio+20 held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While in Rio, her work on stopping land degradation won her a global award from UNCCD and she was the only child to be a part of a UN press conference there, held to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification. At Rio+20, she conducted several workshops on sustainability and also launched the first Asia Pacific Youth Water Summit. She was chosen by UNCSD MGCY to be the voice of the children and youth at several forums and reached out to the children of Rio’s favelas ( slums ) to integrate them in the march towards sustainability.
She represented the UAE at the 2011 TUNZA International Children and Youth Summit held in Bandung, Indonesia where apart from giving a presentation on her work, she also performed at the closing ceremony. Her work as a youth ambassador has seen her participating in over a dozen international conferences, notable amongst which have been Eye on Earth summit, World Future Energy Summit, COP11 – CBD and the Asia Pacific TUNZA conference.
Her work on 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.
Public speaking, debating and leadership are Kehkashan’s forte and she was the erstwhile Head Girl of her Junior School and is currently a Student Representatice Council member. Kehkashan is a proficient musician and she sings, plays the piano and guitar. She has won several quiz, art & painting, poetry and photography competitions. Her essay titled “Dear Mr UN Secretary General..” won her an international prize from The Living Rainforest, UK and she went to London to receive the award.
Kehkashan works with several international charities as she believes in alleviating the sufferings of the less fortunate.
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”.