Hariyo Pusta: Paving the Way for a Greener Community

January 9, 2024

If Greta Thunberg, a young activist, can challenge world leaders to take climate action, why aren't other young people doing the same? This thought often crosses my mind.

"During my school years, I actively participated in eco clubs, finding joy in contributing to tree planting and community initiatives. I used to believe that the newer generations were solely tech-oriented and less concerned about the environment. However, I've come to realize I was wrong."

During my last field visit to Dhangadhi to observe the Hariyo Pusta (Green Generation) campaign, I had the pleasure of meeting Abhishek Bista, a young and energetic climate activist. I was so impressed by the local level initiatives under his leadership. He has completed three environment initiatives including plantation and community clean-ups engaging more than 300 young people from Dhangadhi, Kailali.

Abhishek serves as the local programme In-Charge in Dhangadhi and coordinates the Hariyo Pusta campaign in three community schools in the Kailali district. Seeing Abhishek, as a climate warrior, who was not only active in taking green actions but also raising a generation to be more sensitive on environmental issues. Abhishek was a role model for young students to be more vocal on environment protection. He is just one of seven local In-Charges who volunteer for green actions at the community level.

'Hariyo Pusta’ is a grassroots green campaign focused on strengthening and promoting green actions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Through informative sessions, eco-club formation, and mass plantation programmess, it strives to be a movement for sustainable prosperity and a greener community implemented in community schools.

The campaign has spans across 14 municipalities in emerging cities in Nepal, aiming to boost greenery, mitigate the consequences of climate change fostering youth-led climate initiatives. Over the past two years, the campaign has engaged 3500 students from 42 community schools, forming 42 eco-clubs all over Nepal. These proactive young minds have planted over 1600 saplings in their school premises and open spaces in the community. Additionally, they have led clean-up events, cycle rallies, and dustbin installation campaigns to promote clean and green communities.

Reflections from Local In-Charges:

I'm glad to see these impressive young leaders who are just as remarkable as Greta. Meeting the Hariyo Pusta In-Charges from all seven provinces completely shifted my perspective on the younger generation. They are not only doing things to help the environment but are also educating other young people to reduce and recycle waste. Additionally, they are advocating for effective implementation of policies like National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement to protect the environment. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Generation Z cares deeply about the environment, even more than I had initially believed.

UNDP Nepal has teamed up with the youth-led organization We for Change, community schools, and local governments to make this initiative more impactful. Our strong commitment to expanding the movement into other municipalities has not only maintained our momentum but has taken it to new heights. Through proper planning and effective collaboration, we are making significant progress toward our mission, ensuring that no one is left behind and leaving a lasting impact on the communities we work with.

About the author:

Binita Karki is currently working as Head of Solutions Mapping at UNDP Nepal's Accelerator Lab and also looking after youth compoment. Follow her at @Binita_Karkii