Garvita: Why Waste? Learning to See the Glass as Half Full
Why Waste? A Children's Book for Young Changemakers
Garvita Gulhati is enabling young people around the world see that age is not a limit to solving problems you care about.
At 15 years old, Garvita and her close friend, Pooja S. Tanawade, started “Why Waste?,” amidst reports of severe drought across many Indian states. “Why Waste?” is an organization educating citizens about creative ways to reduce water waste — starting with restaurants where four million gallons of water are wasted per year in India. While in high school Garvita focused on water waste in her area and helping students in her high school see that age is not a limit to solving problems you care about.
Garvita started a campaign to educate customers about how not to waste and taught restaurant staff to fill glasses only half full. Although they faced some resistance from restaurant staff, Garvita never felt her age to be a limitation. Quite the opposite: “The best ideas come from people like us, people of our age,” says Garvita. “We have fresh, growing and innovating minds.”
Garvita Gulhati, now 20, has numerous initiatives she is working on geared towards water waste and education. She is currently working with underprivileged communities to help them build their ideas and concepts to save water. While also working on The Urban Water Challenge, which is focused on identifying youth, who have inspiring ideas to save water in their communities. Garvita and team of nine “waterprenuers” support them moving forward to bring these ideas to reality. Each member of the team has a role to play, without each role they would not be able to come together as one venture and accomplish their goals.
“Why Waste?” is also in collaboration with the National Restaurants Association of India, which has helped the movement reach over 5 lakh (500,000) restaurants across India and continues to grow chapters and international partnerships in the United States, Mexico, Oman and the Philippines. Garvita and her team have also created a book, “The Sustainability Stories,” a collection of fables with a moral to kids, inspiring them to be more sustainable and shaping their mindsets from a very young age. She even created a program, “Perna,” where volunteers go to government school and NGO’s to read aloud these stories to children.
This experience of leading young inspired Garvita to help other young people see that they can also step up. “You can’t just expect things to happen, if you want to see something change, you need to get up and go take charge.” Her work has prevented over 4 million liters of water from being wasted, has reached over 600 schools across the country and impacted over 2.5 million students.
Garvita has inspired dozens of her peers to understand problems they see around them and find ways to take action. She continues to inspire young people through her initiatives and stories. To Garvita, the world needs all of us—especially young people—to lead positive change. She can create change but she can also foster it in others, leading to a systematic shift. “They say that change is the only constant,” says Garvita, “But I think now this world is in constant need of changemakers.”
This story was written by Zoë Ogilvie, LeadYoung Intern.