environmental education

100 Water Heroes: Dr. Elion Schwartz

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Executive Director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership

Dr. Elion Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, an organisation that seeks to build “a sustainable future for Israel rooted in environmental health and social justice” (Hyman, 2010). In addition to his work with the Herschel Center, Elion is the Director of Shaharit, “a synergistic mix of thinktank, leadership incubator, and community organizing hub that is nurturing a new social partnership among all of Israel’s communities, building a future rooted in the common good.”

In terms of his work with the Herschel Center, Elion stresses the importance of a collaborative approach to environmental sustainability:

“We bring together Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, Oriental and European Jews, believing that environmentalism should reflect a larger, inclusive vision for the society.”

One of the Heschel Center’s initiatives is the Environmental Fellows Program that seeks to encourage and develop Israel’s next generation of environmental leaders. They have also fostered a network of Israeli schools that are strengthening environmental education and awareness amongst their students.

In addition to these initiatives, Elion works at the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he lectures “advanced degree courses in Judaism and environmental education, the interrelationship between Zionism and the environment, environmental policy and ethics” (Hyman, 2010).

Elion is one of our #100WaterHeroes for his contributions to achieving sustainability in Israel through environmental education and social justice.

100 Water Heroes: Habiba Al Marashi

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President of Arabia CSR Network & Co-Founder and Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG)

Habiba Al Marashi is the co-founder and Chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), an organisation that seeks to conserve the environment “through the means of education, action programs and community involvement.” Under Habiba’s leadership, EEG has successfully organised a range of initiatives surrounding environmental education, waste management and recycling, research and public campaigns.

In addition to her impactful work with EEG, Habiba has also launched the Arabia CSR Network, the first corporate social responsibility (CSR) network in Dubai. The Arabia CSR Network is the first multi-stakeholder collaboration that “engages small and large businesses and government institutions to strengthen their commitment to sustainable development across the Arab world.”

Habiba is also a co-founder of the Emirates Green Building Council, a board member of the UN Global Compact and President of the UN Global Compact Local Network for the GCC States.

Habiba is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her meaningful contributions to achieving environmental sustainability in the United Arab Emirates.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/habiba-al-marashi-09134b31

100 Water Heroes: Vedant Goel & Yusuf Soni

Vedant Goel

Vedant Goel

Founders of Ineedsai

Vedant Goel and Yusuf Soni are IT professionals and entrepreneurs from Pune, who met at university and have been doing impactful conservation work ever since. In 2012, they collaborated to launch Ineedsai, a social organisation that “aim[s] to teach the young minds about the importance of water and sustainable use of resources.”

In addition to providing education to youth who are unable to afford it, Ineedsai has also led blood drives and traffic awareness programmes. Regarding environmental conservation projects, Vedant and Yusuf stress the importance of educating young people on the necessity of sustainable living:

Water is one of the most essential necessities of life and yet, it is becoming an increasingly scarce resource, one that needs careful planning and management. We must learn to value every drop, even if we are not directly affected by the water shortage. The state of things inspired my friend, Yusuf Soni, and I to do something about it, and who better to start with than school children? After all, they are the future keepers of our natural resources.

(Goel in Youth Ki Awaaz, 2016)

Yusuf Soni

Yusuf Soni

Vedant and Yusuf travel to schools throughout Maharashtra to educate students on water conservation. One of their initiatives saw over 10 000 students and teachers from various schools using the leftover water from their water bottles to water plants on their campus. Collecting water at the end of the day may seem simple, but it is important in that it “will not only provide an alternate way for water conservation but also help kids understand the concept of sustainable development and use of alternatives” (Sarma, 2016)

Vedant and Yusuf have also been recognised in the respected Limca Book of Records, for having gathered 5011 children to participate in My Teeth – Better Teeth, Better Health, a campaign focused on educating young people about dental hygiene.

Vedant and Yusuf are our #100WaterHeroes for recognising the importance of educating young people on water conservation and sustainable living.

Vedant Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/vedantgoel



100 Water Heroes: Matt Malina

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Founder of NYC H20

Matt Malina is a water educator with such a passion for the New York water system that he created a series of educational tours and lectures about NYC’s incredible drinking water system: NYC H2O. Their mission is “to inspire and educate New Yorkers of all ages to learn about, enjoy and protect their city’s local water ecology”.

Native New Yorker Matt founded NYC H2O in 2009 and initiated the series of tours, lectures, field trips and beach clean-ups that make up the current public and school programs. A public school math teacher and co-founder of InTandem (a tandem cycling program that pairs blind and sighted athletes), Matt’s passion for water comes partly from his past school career as a competitive swimmer and triathlete.

Matt Malina is one of our #100waterheroes because of his single-minded determination to educate and inspire New York’s citizens about its incredible water system.

Twitter: @nyc_h2o

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NYCH2O/

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New York City, USA