The Voices of The Future

2020-03-30 12:17:24

As clichéd as it sounds, the world really is changing at a rapid clip. And this time, we can feel that it’s headed in the right direction. Green technology is attracting the best and brightest minds, and are being able to pay them at par. Each year, the success stories of green technologies build up their roster. Governments are on board. Political will exists. And the biggest, most successful companies in the world, are turning a green eye to their business.

Take Volvo Cars for instance. Not only have they launched a new electric model each year, but have also pledged that by 2025, 50% of all sales will be electric. What’s more, their carbon footprint for producing each car will be down by half of what it was in 2018. They’ve also launched the BreatheFree campaign in 2018 and 2019, with an aim to empower the masses with tools to fight air pollution.

Which brings us to the other trend that delights us: the mainstreaming of environmental activism. We all know what the issues are, we’re all thinking about them, and we’re all trying to do our part to reduce the impact. In fact, there now exists the polar opposite to environmental apathy in the form of eco-anxiety. Our minds have been changed, the paradigm has shifted.

Even young school children today are hyper-aware of the problems that exist, and, as expected, want to contribute to the solution. Take for instance 13 years old Archit Shanbag from Mumbai. He has designed an agricultural solution called Semi-Automated Industrial Farm (SAIF) that increases crop yields and farmer incomes while bringing down the use of pesticides, weedicides, and commercial fertilizers. The solution also brings down pollution by smarter disposal of agricultural wastes.

The good news is that fantastic, well thought out ideas like this are not going to waste. Archit is the winner of Volvo Car’s Voices of Future contest, launched to collect ideas from school children on how to combat climate change in general, and specifically, air pollution. The prize here is a Rs 1Lakh scholarship from Network18. But what really excites Archit is the mentorship program with PerSapien, Volvo Car’s technology partner for the BreatheFree campaign. He hopes that under PerSapien’s guidance, and with their knowhow, he will be able to take SAIF to market.

Volvo Cars will also publish an e-book containing the top 20 ideas generated by the contest. Like Archit’s SAIF, these ideas address our biggest problems today - dirty air, water conservation, intelligent transport, clean energy, and so much more. There is a burning need to not let these ideas go to waste. If you are a business, or an innovator with the means to foster these ideas, step forward now, and be a part of the future.

For the rest of us, there is a lot that we can do at the individual level. It’s the little actions every day that add up to an enormous change. If you don’t know where to start, head over to takes the pledge.