100,000 Swedish Krona prize is awarded annually for making extraordinary efforts for the climate and environment
Two Indian Americans and an Indian student are among the five finalists for this year’s Children’s Climate Prize all of whom make extraordinary contributions to the environment and climate.
Beside Indian Americans Samyak Shrimali, from Portland, Oregon and Akhila Ram, from Lexington, Kentucky, Sparsh from Patna, India, Jacqueline Prawira, from Mountain House, California and Eiman Jawwad, from Lahore, Pakistan have also made it to the finals.
The winner will be presented in November and will receive a diploma, medal and 100,000 Swedish Krona ($9,180) prize money awarded by the Children’s Climate Foundation to develop their project, according to a foundation press release.
Read: Two Indian Americans among 2021 Children’s Climate Prize finalists (September 29, 2021)
Among this year’s nominations, contributions were received from all continents and from over 30 different countries. This year’s jury included former Children’s Climate Prize winner Vinisha Umashankar, who knows from her own experiences what winning the prize can mean.
“It was a tough decision to choose the five finalists among all the nominations, but we eventually got there,” she says. “This year’s finalists are truly talented people in their own fields and in their own ways, and I do believe all five finalists are deserving of their positions.”
“I am so proud of this year’s finalists because they have all achieved great things,” says Stella Axelsson, President, The Swedish Federation of Young Scientists. “These kids can do anything and so can we. I think the more people that realize this, the more change we’re going to accomplish.”
Samyak Shrimali, 17, has designed PlantifyAI, a mobile application that utilizes deep-learning AI algorithms to efficiently and accurately detect crop diseases in plants. When detected, the app also provides treatment steps, common symptoms, and access to recommended curing products.
With PlantifyAI, Samyak has provided a free, easy-to-use, and widely accessible tool, directly into the hands of the farmers, which has the potential to significantly increase global food security, and thus reduce hunger and greenhouse gas emissions.
“With PlantifyAI, Samyak has recognized a global challenge and found a solution,” the jury noted. “By using AI technology, the mobile application can be beneficial for farmers all over the world, as it provides a proactive tool that saves food resources.”
Samyak shows a systemized approach: detect – prevent – cure, which, given the potential scalability to adapt to different local environments, can result in great impact for both economical and social sustainability worldwide, it said.
Akhila Ram, 17, has developed a machine learning model that uses satellite data to predict detailed changes in groundwater with high accuracy for the United States. A groundwater monitoring dashboard utilizes the model predictions to provide an accessible way for everyone to be aware of groundwater trends.
With these precise measurements, local officials are equipped with the tools needed to preserve their region’s resources, eliminating excess groundwater depletion.
“Groundwater monitoring is normally very costly, so Akhila’s solution could create completely new possibilities for planning and monitoring groundwater,” the jury noted. “Her work is scientifically impressive and the potential scalability of her machine learning model is huge where this kind of data is publicly available.”
“Being able to predict and plan groundwater resources could be useful to both local politicians and to citizens, making a great impact for many,” it said.
Sparsh, 17, has invented the Thermal Floater, a device that efficiently converts thermal energy from the sun into electrical energy. Sparsh’s floating invention can easily be installed on any inland or stagnant water bodies, thus it doesn’t require any dedicated land resources.
The module is just 15 cm by 15 cm and can easily be connected to several units to generate even more energy. In an array of modules, the system can generate electricity up to 10 kWh per day, which is 3x more efficient than a typical solar panel of the same size.
Apart from converting thermal energy, the modules also contribute to other environmental benefits, such as reducing evaporation (increasing water availability for other uses), as well as reducing algal bloom in freshwater.
“The ongoing discussions on renewable energy sources, soaring energy prices and growing electricity demand makes Sparsh’s innovation much needed,” according to the jury. “With the Thermal Floater, Sparsh has an impressive way to mitigate climate change by using thermal energy.
“Also, the whole idea of a floating device is great and innovative, making use of water surfaces, such as dam reservoirs, wastewater treatment ponds or drinking water reservoirs and thus reducing pressure on land resources.”
“This solution is easy to implement and very accessible, thus it creates a huge potential globally for both households and for countries where land resources are scarce,” the jury noted.
Jacqueline Prawira, 17, has invented Cyclo. Cloud, which utilizes fish scale waste to adsorb up to 82 % of heavy metals from contaminated wastewater.
Eiman Jawwad, 17 has made organic fertilizer utilizing used up tea leaves and coffee to reduce waste and help reduce costs for the nurseries.