Madhvi Chittoor has made saving the planet her raison d’etre. The younger Indian-American wrote a local weather justice letter to US President Joe Biden; the Potus instantly replied to her this March
A pigtailed, lucent-eyed, idealistic lady not too long ago gave testimony towards PFAs (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) on the US senate for the PFAs Bill HB22-1345. The sprightly 11-year-old Indian-American has made saving the planet her raison d’etre. Madhvi Chittoor wrote a local weather justice letter to US president Joe Biden; the POTUS instantly replied to her in March 2022. In the letter, US President Joe Biden affirmed his help preventing local weather change, and promised to maintain Madhvi’s letter in thoughts whereas tackling the local weather disaster.
Witnessing President Biden’s stance to prioritise her plea within the midst of the conflict towards Ukraine, Madhvi Chittoor affirms with deep conviction: “He could have easily ignored it. It shows his commitment to climate change. He also wrote about what he has done to combat it, and affirmed his support for my climate justice fight.”
Weeks later, the bundle of vitality was on the PFAs Pollution Seminar with Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. The Jeffco college scholar’s activism is on level. Her perseverance, exemplary. President Biden’s respect for “my voice even though I am a child,” was vastly motivating for her.
“I fight for children’s fundamental rights to clean air, water, soil, food and great health, for future generations. We have to save our only home — Planet Earth,” is Madhvi’s plea.
Her different alias — #NoStyroFoamNinja — has helped ban 7.5 million styrofoam containers in colleges. It started when the Chittoor household noticed a CNN documentary Midway, the Plastic Island (2016) on the Great Pacific rubbish patch and plastic air pollution at Midway Atoll. Witnessing styrofoam balls floating, in items as a consequence of currents, with dolphins and seals struggling to swim anguished the local weather warrior.
“I shuddered imagining if my habitat was polluted,” and he or she set about researching, then at simply age 5, wrote Is Plastic My Food? (2016) to lift consciousness. It is an albatross’ perspective on local weather change, which she even illustrated. Her efforts noticed her obtain recognition from National Geographic and the US Congress.
Rallying elected officers, and the federal government, Madhvi spoke to 35 mayors, sustainability groups, and about 40 legislators throughout Colorado. Was she apprehensive? “I was scared and unsure at first, but my determination carried me through,” she admits.
The tiny lobbyist-activist first reached out to district US Congressman, Ed Perlmutter. “In January 2018 (at six), I worked with him, and the then governor John Hickenlooper to declare April plastic and styrofoam pollution awareness month.” This set her on a path to deal with styrofoam trays at 155 college cafeterias (writing to the ex-superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools, Dr Jason Glass, who arrange a process power which Madhvi led).
Soon, styrofoam trays had been changed by compostable bagasse trays, impacting 86,000 college students, eliminating 7.6 million — clocking 20 million now.
“My second signature campaign (2019-21) led to the bill HB21-1162 in the Colorado general assembly banning all styrofoam containers and single-use plastic bags at all Colorado restaurants,” quips the pint-sized activist-lobbyist of the three plastic air pollution payments in 2020. A regulation handed by the Colorado governor on 6 July 2021 the place she witnessed the invoice signing ceremony, the precise signing pen was given to her. Her moniker #NoStyrofoamNinja, she laughs, is because of her black belt in Taekwondo (at former Blue PowerRanger and Hollywood stuntman Master Mike Chat’s franchise).
Raising her voice towards PFAS, Chittoor continues her combat. Speaking with state consultant Lisa Cutter to convey it up as a invoice within the 2022 legislative session, she labored with Colorado governor Jared Polis to declare March as PFAs Pollution Impact Awareness Month. “In February 2022, the bill HB22-1345, banning PFAs in consumer products was introduced,” she smiles.
Making strides in an in any other case hostile surroundings, Madhvi has been nurtured by a rock-solid basis in Indian philosophy with easy middle-class immigrant dad and mom who set excessive requirements. Each tentative albeit assured step hides a resolute champion of the earth.
Her small body belies a imaginative and prescient and tenacity that noticed her meet VP Kamala Harris. “Madam VP Harris is genuinely keen to fight climate change. Her Indian background, and being the first US woman vice-president, she is a role model,” chirps Madhvi who offered the Global Plastic Policy to Harris. The assembly was “awesome,” she giggles. Finally, a fleeting glimpse of the kid she is, “On March 15, 2021, my mother acquired a name saying, ‘This is secret service from the White House calling. Can you verify your social security number?’ She simply froze, gave her SSN, and on speaker, they stated, ‘Madhvi, we are inviting you to meet Madam VP Harris tomorrow.’ I used to be thrilled and a bit scared. I went to Downtown Denver. I offered my Global Plastic Policy, supported by 75 international locations and lots of signatories — Dr Jane Goodall, VP Al Gore, former Ecuador President Rosalia Arteaga, former New Zealand PM Helen Clark, and others.
VP Harris stated she would help it, and promised that her coverage employees would observe up, which they did in April 2021. “They referred me to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s office. Finally, in November 2021, he made the announcement that the US would support the Global Plastic Treaty,” says Madhvi, honoured, humbled and glad to galvanise the heads within the US authorities to affix the treaty which was ratified within the UNEA 50 in March 2022.
Meeting Dr Jane Goodall bolstered her ecological ideology too. “Dr Jane Goodall has a very kind and calm persona. She has redefined species conservation through her ground-breaking work, single-handedly bringing attention to the urgent need to protect chimpanzees — that is inspiring.”
Her clarion name is air pollution and its devastating influence. “We humans have triggered the sixth mass extinction, happening at a faster pace. Because of ocean pollution caused by ‘plastic soup,’ the zoo and phytoplanktons are contaminated with leachates. They are eaten by small animals which are then eaten by bigger animals. When humans eat squids, crabs, lobsters, fish, etc, these toxins enter our body and cause diseases,” explains the little activist-scientist.
Pertaining to India, Madhvi busts recycling plastic as a fantasy: “Plastics can only be downcycled. A plastic bottle can be recycled into a mat, shoe, etc. During this process, billions of microplastics are released into water, soil and air,” says the lady who has spoken with many downcycling plastics companies in India. “As for governments – stop the dumping of plastics from China into India. Plastic consumerism has increased 10,000 fold in India. Ban unnecessary styrofoam, and oil and gas industry’s manufacture of new plastic. Refuse plastics,” she says.
Stopping the oil and fuel business from manufacturing ‘nurdles’ or plastic pellets, which are “the biggest unspoken ocean pollutants,” Madhvi cites how a ship sank within the Indian Ocean, spilling oil and trillions of nurdles. Clean up remains to be taking place on the coast of Colombo.
A strong philosophy, entrenched in Indian values, and “simple and disciplined upbringing,” Swami Vivekananda’s teachings information the 11-year-old. “Swami Vivekananda is my biggest inspiration. His phrases are golden and timeless. When I used to be 5, my mom compiled all his sayings right into a paragraph — ‘How to Build Character’ which I narrated out of reminiscence — and it nonetheless resonates.
Her mom (Telugu), born and introduced up in Chennai and her father, a Tamilian born in Calcutta, who grew up in Delhi, lived in Mumbai and Bengaluru, are “kind, compassionate and helpful, volunteering at my school and community. They inculcated honesty, kindness, respect and above all to be grateful,” chirps the activist who’s fluent in Telugu, a smattering of Tamil, and reads and writes Hindi and Sanskrit.
From her mom, Lalitha, she learnt the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, shlokas, Indian traditions — just like the Shodashopachara pooja, lighting the deepam, and providing naivedyam — whereas additionally embracing American festivals.
Battling governments and influencing policymaking apart, Lalitha calls her prodigious. Not only for her credible activism and information, however for her spectacular arts repertoire. The Guinness World Record holder for the Youngest Professional Music Producer, a Bharatanatyam dancer, Carnatic musician, she chants Sanskrit prayers with such ease — Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and Sarve Janaah Sukhino Bhavanthu, Aum Shantih Shantih Shantihi. For Madhvi, the Upanishads resonate in invoking peace.
Author of six books, the younger local weather warrior has created change when most others would have given up. A gargantuan process. “I may be a child but I have learnt that through determination and persistence, I can make things happen on a global scale though it may take time,” she says.
An advocate of Indian historic values, she says, “No culture has done as much in-depth research and study on the human psyche and being.”
At 4, Madhvi began studying the piano, quickly composing music snippets. Her innate capacity to play music by ear, she has since turned to the violin, cello, clarinet, recorder, trumpet and guitar. I’m… Princess Genius together with her 12 finest compilations (2019) obtained social media recognition from Lorne Balfe, Hans Zimmer, Ron Howard and Nat Geo Genius.
Working on an album to be launched in 2023, Madhvi’s academics Mary Fraser (piano), Sue Mogan (violin) noticed her as the one scholar to complete your complete Suzuki book-1 in three months.
Harmony With Nature (2017) is Madhvi’s longest composition.
Her simplistic plea is that people respect and heal the planet; her organisations Madhvi4Ethics and Eco Ethics rally this trigger. And she is way from performed but.
The writer is a senior journalist. Views expressed are private.
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