The Ecolibrium Project
An international 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on empowering, educating, and connecting climate leaders.
Helping create a local garden!
Ecolibrium volunteers at one of our many online events.
Helping create a local garden!
Helping create a local garden!
Please confirm you meet the following criteria
We have submitted the supplemental form linked in the description above
We are aged between 14 - 20 as of February 11, 2021
We live in the United States or its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
We are not employed by, or directly related (parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
We have been working on this project for at least three months
We consent to Ashoka and/or GM featuring our work on their website, social media, and in other materials regarding this Challenge using the information in our application
We confirm we have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Students lack access to a viable platform that allows them to collectively fight for environmental causes. Social media serves some environmental interests, but it lacks the concentration of dedication to make any real difference. In order to achieve environmental change, dedicated students must collectively use their power as a whole to forge solutions, policy recommendations, and community efforts to fight the larger issue: climate change.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our website serves as the center of our mission. Over the past year, we have come in contact with over 40 environmental clubs scattered across the United States which have since become chapters. We have created accounts for all of these clubs on our website that allows them to have access to our library of educational resources about the environment. These include PowerPoints, research papers, and editorials all geared to educate students on environmental concepts. We believe by education (through our website) we can drive students to take the initiative to fight climate change. To then cohesively connect these students, we created our Slack community. This serves as our primary method of encouraging students to act for the environment. In this community, students collaborate to brandstorm local community projects, attend seminars, and develop solutions to environmental problems. Recently, we also created a political task force within Slack that is working to create petitions to rewrite air pollution regulations.
3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.
Science, technology, engineering and math are all at the forefront of The Ecolibrium Project's aim of creating a better future. We used HTML and CSS to build a platform that connects thousands of student leaders across the world. This platform features various members-only features, including a social network with blogs, messaging, forums, petitions, an online resource library, and quizzes. Data visualizations are also used extensively on our website, especially in our blog posts. We used libraries on Python and R to form these visualizations based on data from Google Trends, the NOAA, the MIT Center for Environmental Research, etc.. We also connect our volunteers who want to work together on STEM-related projects. Through this, we advise these teams about topics like environmental engineering to encourage them to solve global problems including food insecurity and sustainable irrigation. Finally, the events that we host require a plethora of research regarding environmental and sustainability concepts, so we review scientific papers to gather information. Through these initiatives, we have used STEM to further our goal of connecting leaders.
4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
Our inspiration started when Arnold Schwarzenegger came to our local high school to speak about California’s environmental issues. Many of us who attended the conference realized that many climate activists accomplished a lot individually, but were unable to effectively organize to magnify their impact. Since we knew organization was a major roadblock, we decided to do something. We had some environmental knowledge, but we decided to increase our knowledge by reading academic papers to really understand the problem. We came to the conclusion that a grassroots approach that allowed students to collaborate to find solutions to environmental problems was necessary. Through this we believe students will be able to organize more effectively. We soon founded a club and began our nonprofit in an effort to encourage these grassroots efforts to take shape across the nation.
5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”
Founder & Executive Director Pratham Hombal talks about becoming a Changemaker and making a unique impact on the community.
6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.
We expanded our network to 42 chapter clubs and 1500 volunteers, held online events for students worldwide, and volunteered at local gardens. On our website, we've educated others on living sustainably and created an online resources library for our chapters to use for their independent educational goals. We have formed Action Teams, which work on creating infographics, constructing data visualizations, and designing carbon capture methods, which helped increase our community impact.
7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Many climate leaders get demotivated easily, as meaningful activism is not easy. We are different from other environmental online platforms in that we take an active approach to keep our users engaged through frequent events, competitions, volunteer events, petitions, etc. Through this, we ensure that students have a chance to broaden their understanding, while allowing them to return to the portal frequently to attend our discussions, speaker events, and competitions, or to match with local organizations. This active presence is what keeps our thousands of volunteers active and our 18-member
8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.
Our nonprofit has been expanding our community online, hosting online events and discussions every month to educate students. One of our events, which centered on fast fashion, encouraged students from the Fresno region to upcycle material. We also have been partnering with other organizations and reaching out, as well as building relations with other environmental organizations. Through our social media, we have built an online community where we can spread our message and advocate for environmental change. We also expanded our network by talking to affiliates from around the world and working with them on different STEM-related projects and events. Overall, we have reached over 1500 volunteers through our online events and affiliate network, and even more through our social media activism. Also, we have created partnerships with a school district, several NGOs, and local businesses.
9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
We plan to increase the number of users even more by allowing anyone to create an account rather than limiting it to our chapter network. We plan to partner with officials from school districts and universities to start more chapters worldwide that can use the platform to be matched with volunteer and student organizations in their area. This can help amplify climate efforts, especially in underprivileged communities where issues like air pollution are hit the hardest. We also plan to use our support from sponsors and partners like the UN Partner Program, Google, and the American Chemical Society to bring the platform to students from even more countries and create a lasting impact there.
10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.
Our online platforms helped to encourage students to live sustainably and promote activism through use of our online resource library. By expanding our network to 42 clubs, we helped spread our environmental message to other schools and communities, increasing student involvement in our project. We also hosted online events for students, educating them on better environmental practices. Our Slack Action teams helped gather students to raise awareness of climate change on a local level.
11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?
We would partner with other Changemakers through media communication; utilize platforms such as Instagram and Messenger to arrange meetings to brainstorm ideas. As partners, we will work together to organize online events where we collaborate to spread our knowledge to a broader, combined audience. We would display the organization's profile on our website and social media, allowing them access to all our resources to help them grow both individually and collaboratively.
12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?
We engage others primarily through social media. Our posts consist of animations, videos, and podcasts with the goal of encouraging activism. To help build a community of students, we host monthly events (with Instagram as our main audience) where we discuss environmental concepts. From there, we encourage students to join our Slack community. In this Slack community students are able to communicate and share their ideas about environmental solutions and community projects with other students.
13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.
Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?
How did you hear about this challenge?
General Motors page or contact
Ashoka page or contact
Article in the news