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Meet the Youth Ecopreneurs Who Will Shape #GenerationRestoration

Graphic of Astro and a windfarm

Salesforce, in partnership with the World Economic Forum’s 1t.org (Trillion Trees Initiative) and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (UN Decade), recently launched the UpLink Generation Restoration Youth Challenge, a global call for youth-led solutions to conserve and restore ecosystems in support of one of humanity’s greatest challenges — climate change

From hurricanes in the United States, to devastating fires in Turkey, to floods in Europe, to the droughts in Argentina, there has never been a more urgent time to heal our planet. UN Decade aims to help prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean, but this lofty goal will only be achieved if everyone plays their part.

Using the UpLink platform, the youth challenge invited submissions covering conservation and restoration of intact and degraded terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, peat, and more. 

Salesforce and its partners then reviewed submissions from ecopreneurs and in particular, Generation Restoration change-makers, taking action in these three areas identified in the challenge:

  • Successful examples of ecopreneurship
  • Capacity-building for youth
  • Advocacy, inspiration, and engagement

What is “Generation Restoration”?

Today, there is a new generation of youth entrepreneurs known as “Generation Restoration,” who are putting the planet’s health first and demonstrating the power of an environmentally-savvy generation to bring about real, concrete change towards a healthy and sustainable planet. 

This generation is largely made up of Gen Z youth. A 2021 Pew Research (1) report found that Gen Z is overwhelmingly worried about climate change: 76% say that it’s one of their biggest societal concerns, while 37% see it as their number one concern.

What’s more, these young adults believe more in themselves than any other actor — government, leadership, or business — to lead the way to change. In a recent study conducted by The Youth Change Makers Report, when asked who will lead the change towards a more sustainable future, the most common answer was “young people” (37%). Only 10% reported considering adults as capable of making the necessary changes, while only 13% said they believe in companies’ capabilities (2)

How Salesforce aims to support Generation Restoration

Salesforce is committed to building a more sustainable future for all, having identified the environment as a key stakeholder for the company, and by harnessing innovation to improve the state of the world. 

Through that innovation, UpLink was born. Salesforce’s UpLink platform empowers a new generation of social entrepreneurs for mass mobilization — bringing people together so they can collaborate, develop high-impact solutions, and meet Sustainable Development Goals for a better, safer, and healthier world. 

“With UpLink, we’re able to empower and inspire a new generation of change-makers who are leading the climate restoration movement. To be able to connect ecopreneurs to a broader community that can help shape climate innovation is truly something extraordinary,” said Natalia Latimer, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Salesforce.

Announcing the Generation Restoration Youth Challenge Spotlight Award winners

As part of the youth challenge, 1t.org and Salesforce recently announced four Youth Challenge Spotlight Award winners:

Seawater solutions 

  • A multiple-award-winning startup based in Glasgow which focuses on coastlines. The founders focus on taking two of the world’s most abundant resources — degraded land and seawater — and build wetlands that capture carbon, create jobs, and produce food, as well as improve and stabilize the coastline. They started in 2017, and in just four short years have launched wetland farms in Ghana, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, and in 2021, planted more than 100,000 mangroves in Ghana. 

Treeeconomy

  • Founded by two students, Treeconomy is an impact-driven startup on a mission to revolutionize forestry-based carbon offsetting. The team has pioneered an integrated suite of remote-sensing, data science, and green finance tools to address the fundamental financial barriers that oppose reforestation at the landowner level. Since its inception, they have evacuated over 300 tons of water, produced 50 tons of biochar, and dispatched over 35 tons of nutrients, sequestering 10,500 tons of carbon overall.

Green Generation Initiative 

  • Green Generation Initiative nurtures young people to become environmentally conscious at a young age. Through education, greening schools, creating food forest establishments, and adopt-a-tree campaigns, the initiative is creating a nature-first culture in the minds of youth in Kenya. Green Generation Initiative has reached over seven countries and impacted over 20,000 students; currently operating in 35 schools, they’ve planted over 30,000 tree seedlings through their ‘Adopt a Tree’ Campaign. 

A full list of youth challenge winners can be found below.

The 14 best submissions have been invited to a four-month accelerator program facilitated by the World Economic Forum and its partners to help the winners gain visibility, attract partners and funding, and scale their solutions to accelerate their impact.

The Generation Restoration Challenge is:

More information:

1 Pew Research on Gen-Z Millennials Climate Change Activism, 2021

2 Electrolux The Change Makers Report, 2021 

Astro

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