By Sakshi Agarwal
Schoolgirls Sakshi Chandak and Chandana Satish wondered why Bengaluru lacked a major energy conservation drive, even though other areas of environmental conservation were being tackled by various individuals and groups.
So they took it upon themselves, and launched Students Take Responsible Initiative for a Viable Environment (STRIVE). Today, the teenagers have two projects running on the principle, “from roots to results”.
The first, known as STRIVE Hour, is sculpted along the lines of Earth Hour, a global campaign in which people turn off all non-essential lights for a pre-decided hour. But instead of conserving electricity for just an hour once a year, the STRIVE team encourages various institutions to do so on a more regular basis.
Their campaign was launched on June 5, 2016, on World Environment Day. They started off with five minutes a month, and later, amended it to be longer with each successive month. Households are also urged to do the same, but on a weekly basis.
Currently, the project has successfully engaged over 700 families along with five schools and nine offices. This translates into saving up to 15 lakh watts of energy every year.
The second, known as N2N or Newspaper to Notebooks, focuses on completing the energy loop by turning waste into wealth. They collect newspapers from educational institutes; this has cleverly been turned into a competition, which ensures they get the maximum supply possible.
The used papers are then converted into 100 percent recycled notebooks. These are distributed to underprivileged children, not only providing the needy with resource material but also becoming the tool through which they educate them about environmental conservation.
So far, they have collected 18 tonnes of newspaper, which have been transformed into 9,000 notebooks distributed to students through organisations such as Parikrama and The Learning Curve. They plan on strengthening their links with NGOs and government schools. They’ve proved that age is no barrier to creating change!
Both girls are headed to Canada this year to begin their undergraduate studies. Sakshi, who is 18, is headed to the University of British Columbia while Chandana, 17, will go to University of Waterloo.
But their work in India will continue. They are appointing STRIVE Ambassadors from different schools and colleges, who can take up the two projects in their institutions and locations. This has allowed them to grow beyond Bengaluru, and spread their reach to Lucknow and Hyderabad. You can follow their journey on facebook.com/istriveorg.
First published in the July 2018 issue of eShe magazine.
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