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Green shoots

Youth voices are leading a global movement today, making urgent calls for action to halt climate change and protect the planet. Check out these ICS volunteers with practical initiatives to make a difference.

Let’s raise a toast to ending food waste

Naomi Darling
Naomi Darling, who now volunteers to combat food waste, on placement in Tanzania.

In the UK, 44% of bread is never eaten. To tackle this, Naomi Darling, 23, volunteers three times a week with Toast Ale, a social enterprise in London that makes beer using surplus bread that would otherwise have been thrown away.

“Whilst volunteering with ICS in Tanzania, there was a focus on everything being sustainable. I wanted to continue supporting and working with green companies to disrupt the current unsustainable way of living,” said Naomi.

Using permaculture to help Kenya’s poorest farmers

Lilian Adhiambo Juma, 29, from Siaya County in Kenya, has carried out a grant-funded project from ICS to prepare farmers for the future. Over a three-day workshop with 114 farmers, Lilian trained farmers to defend themselves against the immediate effects of climate change.

“In Kenya’s rural areas, the majority of people are poor,” she said. “My goal is to use low-cost solutions to their farming problems such as soil degradation, deforestation and infestation to help them earn – and all while restoring the landscape.”

Engaging young people through film and activism

Following her ICS placement in Zambia, Emma Lewins, 25, has partnered with the Environmental Justice Foundation. Based in London, Emma is rallying fellow young people with a social media campaign and events. With a passion for the human rights aspect of climate change, Emma is organising film screenings of climate documentaries and encouraging young people to contact MPs.

“We want young people to be empowered to have a say about our planet and other species,” explains Emma.

Emma Lewins
Emma Lewins (second from right) is rallying young people with a social media campaign and events.

Combatting desertification in Kenya

Kenneth Ramah is passionate about tackling desertification in Kenya, an issue that affects over 80% of his home country. With his ICS grant-funded project, Kenneth hosted an event for 150 members of the community where he raised awareness of the investing in land and mitigating against the issue.

“The event brought together people from different tribes, genders, ages and sectors of development. The discussions and presentations were fruitful and inspired participants to take personal action. We also planted 125 trees as a gesture of taking action.”

Building a future in sustainable construction

Josh Graham
Josh Graham hopes to make the built environment a safer and more sustainable place to be.

Following his degree in Environmental Science, Josh Graham, 26, from London, is busy combating climate change through a variety of initiatives. From working on meat-free alternatives to autonomous electric vehicles, his business, Ehab, is working to help the construction industry adapt to extreme weather variability.

“Hundreds of millions more people living in poverty, millions of species extinct and worse living conditions for all of us. This might sound distant and alarmist. It is however exactly where we are heading in our lifetimes.”

With one in four people living in unsuitable housing, Josh hopes to make the built environment a safer and more sustainable place to be.

Protecting wildlife through conservation in the UK and beyond

Megan James, 23, from Brighton, thinks that protecting the planet is not only necessary but also a privilege. Working at the RSPB, Megan fundraises for the charity’s conservation projects in the UK and across the world.  

“The RSPB's environmental work is outstanding, and the chance to be a part of this was really exciting, especially given the current state of our climate crisis. It's so important for everyone to care about the planet! If we fail in our duty to take care of the Earth and pass it along to future generations in a healthy condition, humanity will have failed itself.”

Using photography to spark change in Tanzania

Illustration: camera with some green leaves

Working in his home country of Tanzania, Lameck Kiula, 25, joined an ICS placement where he and his team planted 6,500 trees in Mwanza, Geita and Simiyu. Following his placement, Lameck continued his activism through photography, where he was invited to attend the Global Landscape Forum conference.

"The conference was a huge platform for me and other young leaders to discuss and build on the momentum to offer emerging solid action plans for tackling deforestation and land degradation challenges in Africa," said Lameck.

Planting 2.4 billion trees

Eloise Moench
Eloise Moench is working with a reforestation charity in response to Brazil's devastating forest fires

In August 2019, the Brazilian rainforest experienced over 30,000 forest fires – with little response from the government. Eloise Moench, 23, from London, is working with Black Jaguar Foundation, a reforestation charity based in Brazil in order to combat the troubling headlines.

“Investing in reforestation is investing in our future. Brazil has one of the some of the most rich and biodiverse ecosystems globally so ensuring the protection of their rainforests has become a vital way to combat climate change and protect biodiversity.”

Cycling towards a carbon-neutral future

As an eco-friendly alternative, Velocious Cycle Couriers is a sustainable business that provides carbon neutral delivery solutions for businesses and individuals.

Illustration: bicycle with a large box strapped on the back

“Having a 'green' business model is important because as is common knowledge we have a climate crisis on our hands. I hope our company will encourage people to find eco-friendly solutions to everyday issues,” said Humza Saleem, 21.

Humza, from Bristol, has taken over the business that helps companies and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by providing a green solution.

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Funded by the UK Government.

ICS is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which projects the UK as a force for good in the world, including reducing poverty and tackling global challenges.

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