With the ongoing climate crisis, sustainability has become a priority for many. Environmental activists have risen up in protests, campaigns, and have taken to social media to encourage everyone, including big businesses, to be more sustainable and limit their carbon emissions. These inspiring advocates are fighting for a better future; our future.
And, Devishi Jha is doing exactly that.
Jha joined Zero Hour as the Partnerships Director and has ever since fought for a more sustainable future. More recently, Jha became the Co-Founder of Voyagers, a youth-led platform consulting with businesses, such as IKEA, on sustainability in relation to Gen Z. As an Asian-American, Jha has encountered both challenges and successes in her work as an environmental advocate, which she discusses below.
Tell us your story. How did you start environmental advocacy?
I remember watching a video in middle school about what would happen if the world’s average temperature rose six degrees. As I watched natural disasters increase with greater intensity and frequency and WW3 starting over drinking water, I knew that I needed to find a way to advocate for change. I became a volunteer for Zero Hour in 2019, and currently serve as their Partnerships Director. I also advocate for sustainable business and environmental economics at my company, Voyagers.
What is Voyagers and what inspired you to begin this initiative?
Voyagers is a platform that serves as a GenZ amplifier for sustainable brands. The idea stemmed from my interest in business, economics, and environmental science. After researching more about company supply chain and corporate responsibility, I realized that there was a niche GenZ could fill in advocating for sustainable business. This eventually led to the creation of Voyagers.
How does it feel to be working with brands like Sephora, IKEA, and Clif Bar?
It’s definitely surreal to be able to work with brands I’ve seen throughout my childhood, especially in such a short period of time (Voyagers has been active for less than 7 months). But it is also exciting to see how brands are changing their core business model to account for sustainability, something never-before-seen by fortune 500 companies.
What does a sustainable future look like to you?
A sustainable future is one that is able to maintain longevity and prosperity for all. We have made enormous progress in recent years to account for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the private sector, as well as workers health and safety initiatives, but there is still much to be done. I’d like to see environmental initiatives introduced by both public and private sectors that benefit all people, not just a select few.
What is your advice for a young activist trying to get involved?
I always offer this piece of advice: don’t hesitate to reach out! If you find an organization (or want to start something new) that speaks to your values and beliefs, then don’t hesitate to send an email or text to get involved. It’s that easy.
What challenges have you faced as an Asian American in your industry?
Being an Asian-American immigrant has definitely caused challenges in the activism and corporate space, but these spaces are constantly evolving to become more inclusive and welcoming. I hope that my own work in activism allows more Asian-Americans like me to enter the space and contribute in a meaningful way.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope to continue my activism and entrepreneurial work in all facets of sustainability!
What impact do you hope Voyagers will have in the upcoming year?
I hope Voyagers is able to amplify the work of many sustainable brands this year, as well as be a catalyst for change in the corporate sector; I hope that Voyagers is able to change the core of corporate business models, placing sustainability at the same pedestal as financial returns.
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