Earth Warrior and Ecopreneur: Emaan Danish
It is said comparisons are odious, as indeed they are, for each person comes with his or her own strengths. But this does not mean that the strength is developed without inspiration and emulation, and sometimes it is here where similarities occur, and comparisons make their way in.
In an age of heightened awareness about Climate Change, the old guard has seen itself being overtaken by the custodians of tomorrow who not only demand a better future but are wresting control through climate action. The young Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, has fired the imagination of millions across the world and shaken the ground under the feet of many powerful lobbies and persons.
In four years, her tribe has grown immensely to include youth activists, who, through their activism and actions, are showing a way forward where environment sustainability can become a building block to combating the impacts of Climate Change.
Pakistan is lucky to have young Emaan Danish as a very vocal and proactive member of that global tribe. Through her words and actions, this eleven-year-old is showing the way to many how to contribute to environmental sustainability.
Climate Change is not only governments business, its your business its my business!
Books, Tourism and Garbage Collection
"I am lucky to be able to travel, especially to the Northern mountainous parts of Pakistan" she shared how her journey as a young climate activist with a business plan started. Northern areas encompass Himalayan, Hindukush, and Karakoram mountain ranges and have resplendent valleys and stunning peaks dotted with breathtakingly beautiful lakes. Even as a child, she appreciated the beauty of lakes like Mahodand in Swat. However, she noticed the degradation due to the human footprint and over-tourism bringing in pollution on subsequent visits. She could also see the stripping of Natural resources due to local population pressures.
A lot of credit for this realisation, of course, goes to her parents, as she is homeschooled and is educated and mentored by them. This is why even at the tender age of eight years, the sight of cut trees and the sprawl of the restaurant and hotels bothered her and introduced her to knowledge about the perils Climate Change posed.
'I wanted the local restaurant owners and tourists-spot hotels to do something themselves about the garbage, but I could not convince them", she shared what compelled her to take the initiative. " I decided to take action myself and moved towards recycling waste material and becoming an 'Ecopreneur'. What started her on the path of environmental sensitization was an activity she participated in when she was going to school at the age of about 5, where she learned about renewable energy. She also liked reading books about the environment.
First venture : 'Activity Board'
What started her on the path of environmental sensitization was an activity she participated in when she was going to school at the age of about 5, where she learned about renewable energy. She also liked reading books about the environment.
She says she had started her 'business' when she was about eight years old though the catalyst was her baby brother, who would crawl up to sockets and switches and fiddle with them… a dangerous activity if there ever was one! This sparked her first-ever product idea, and she created an "Activity Board" to keep him busy, using discarded switches and other stuff.
There was no looking back as an idea came thick and fast, and having supportive parents was a big boost. She was signed on to pitch her idea and product made out of wood scraps for a pitch session at the leading technology incubator. The Nest I/O. Her work and vision received great appreciation and encouragement, but at seven years, she was just not the right fit to become a part of the cohort.
Second Venture: Fizza the doll
Just as it takes a tribe to raise a child, it takes one to propel a bright child to realize the full potential. So from the encouragement at the Nest I/O, she moved on to the Climate LaunchPad Pakistan, where her interest was tweaked and polished and skills honed, leading her to create Fizza the Eco-friendly Doll, which became her conversation starter at environment events and forums.
The idea of this doll came through a scary experience when she saw the picture of a hermit crab whose head was stuck inside a discarded plastic doll that had washed ashore—explaining that hermit crabs are always looking for crevices and shells to hide in, which is why it tried to get inside. However, once inside, it suffocated to death. She thought of lifting such plastic dolls off the beaches but gave that up to create a doll that would not pose such danger even if discarded.
She designed it and made sure it was entirely made from recycled material. Her grandma helped her with the prototype. The making of Fizza dolls has now been outsourced to community women, with Emaan closely monitoring all variants' design and fashion choices.
Not only did the business grow, so did the family, and just like Emaan, Fizza too had a brother, Ali, named after Pakistan's famous mountaineer Ali Sadpara, who lost his life climbing K2, the world's second-highest peak.
Third Venture: Emaan`s Peekaboo
This cloth doll was now her mascot! Talking on various forums with her doll, she went one step further with 'Emaan's Peekaboo', where stories and books were added to her repertoire.
Her journey towards diversification was boosted by FNF Pakistan when her incubation at the National Incubation Center, Karachi, was supported, and a website Emaan's Peekaboo, was established to take her Climate advocacy to another level.
Emaan is happy that the response to Fizza, Ali, and her storybooks are encouraging enough to keep the cycle going and is looking to place her products on Amazon.com too.
Her story is an inspiration for not just her peers but for everyone who wants to make a positive contribution through Climate Action as it is not the size and scale of the action that matters but its impact on imagination and the ground.
Emaan has proven herself to be quite a Climate Warrior in just a few years, and despite her age, she has overtaken many established initiatives through her charm and passion that shines through whenever she speaks about the subject that is close to her heart… and is also now becoming her identity.
Support from parents, encouragement from friends and peers, and professional skill enhancement will surely pack quite a punch in her fight for environmental sustainability.
Emaan Danish is currently showcasing her projects and ventures at the Pakistan Pavilion, Dubai Expo 2020, UAE