The Ecolibrium Project

An international 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on empowering, educating, and connecting climate leaders.

Photo of Pratham Hombal
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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):

https://www.ecolibriumproject.com/ https://www.ecolibriumproject.com/blog.html https://sites.google.com/view/ecocon2020/ecocon?authuser=0 https://medium.com/@info_89383 https://linktr.ee/ecolib https://www.instagram.com/ecolibriumproject/ https://twitter.com/ecolibriumthe https://www.facebook.com/Ecolibrium-Project-105186717563238/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/ecolibriumproject

Date You Started Your Project

07/31/2019

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?

  • Friend support
  • Sales
  • 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.

  • Public Relations

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • General Motors page or contact
  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Article in the news

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 90.9%

Probably - 0%

Maybe - 9.1%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 80%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 20%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 0%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 36.4%

4 - Yes, I think so - 45.5%

3 - Maybe - 9.1%

2 - Probably not. - 0%

1 - No - 9.1%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 10%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 63.6%

4 - Yes, I think so - 36.4%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 72.7%

4- Yes, I think so - 27.3%

3- Maybe - 0%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 81.8%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 45.5%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 100%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 63.6%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 54.5%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 54.5%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 0%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 40%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 60%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 20%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

Other option - 0%

14 comments

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Spam
Photo of Rohan Hadavale
Team

Very thorough and organized responses. I love what this project is dedicated to and I think it has a lot of potential. Keep doing what you're doing and sky is the limit!

Spam
Photo of Pratham Hombal
Team

Thanks Rohan Hadavale , we really appreciate it!

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