Young Naturalist Award 2020
Climate change activist, public speaker, and conservation communicator
Born in Haridwar to wildlife conservationists, Ridhima grew up with the dialogue of activism, evolving into a passionate, knowledgeable communicator for the planet herself. She has witnessed the devastation caused by misled development projects and climate change, and noted the horrific pollution of the Ganges river.
In 2017, when she was just nine years old, Pandey filed a petition against the Indian government at the National Green Tribunal for lack of climate action. Though the petition was ultimately dismissed, it brought the spotlight back onto the enormity of the climate crisis. In 2019, Ridhima became one of 16 children activists petitioning the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to hold five of the world’s leading economic powers accountable for their inaction on the climate crisis! Troubled by the enormous problem of air pollution that plague countless cities across the country, she wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2020, requesting that the government take immediate action.
A role model for children everywhere, Ridhima, now 13, is frequently invited as a speaker for youth at various events. She was invited as youth ambassador at the Global Sustainability Film Awards held by Difficult Dialogues, an international forum that discusses pressing world issues. She was a youth representative and a speaker at Global Pneumonia Forum. She has also been part of Earth Day Network’s global initiative, My Future My Voice, which compiles messaging from 50 inspiring youth activists from 17 countries. She is currently a member of the Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council for COP 26.
She has called for a complete ban on plastics, and minces no words when holding higher authorities accountable. Ridhima is a well-received, popular TEDx speaker, and has also spoken at international conferences like the Notre Affaire à Tous in Paris and Xynteo Exchange in Norway. Listed as one of BBC’s top 100 most influential women in the world for the year 2020, she relentlessly communicates the rationale for science-led, heartfelt nature conservation to massive audiences.