Young Heroes


Vinisha Umashankar

by The Monitor's Editorial Board from United States

146051Earthshot Prize finalist Vinisha Umashankar speaks during the World Leaders' Summit at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2.Associated Press

November 3, 2021

Of all the speakers so far at this month’s climate summit in Scotland, one has drawn an enthusiastic standing ovation. It was 15-year-old Vinisha Umashankar who told the crowd:

“I’ve no time for anger. I want to act. I’m not just a girl from India. ... I’m a student, innovator, environmentalist, and entrepreneur but most importantly, an optimist.”

She was invited to speak because she was a finalist in a global contest aimed at turning back doomism about climate change by finding individuals who have invented the best market-ready solutions to repair the planet.

Vinisha’s invention was a solar-powered iron that could be used by the 10 million street vendors in India who now steam-press people’s clothes with irons heated by air-polluting charcoal. She was 14 when she came up with the idea. She was also the youngest contestant for the first Earthshot Prize and one of the 15 finalists.

Vinisha says that all of the winners and finalists for the prize “chose not to complain” about climate change. Rather the contestants’ inventions show “the greatest challenge in the history of our Earth is also the greatest opportunity. We lead the greatest wave of innovation humanity has ever known.”

Page created on 11/5/2021 4:23:56 PM

Last edited 11/5/2021 4:32:50 PM

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