ARTICLE 5 minutes

Prasiddhi and Praveen

March 7, 2024

Add to favorites

Meet the Girl Taking On Climate Change One Tree at a Time

Supported by her father, 11-year-old Prasiddhi Singh speaks out about the power of youth at the United Nations annual Climate Conference.

She was four years old when a cyclone devastated her hometown. Six when she started cold-calling landowners to get them to plant new trees. Ten when National Geographic shone a light on her work. And 11 when she attended her first United Nations Climate Conference.

Meet Prasiddhi Singh, a young changemaker from the southernmost state in India.

“I don’t know why, but I’ve always had this unconditional bond with nature,” Prasiddhi says. “It really engaged me, even before I started to walk and talk. I gain inspiration from the buzzing of bees, the magic of trees.”

It was December 12, 2016, when Cyclone Vardah made landfall and claimed 18 lives near Prasiddhi's hometown of Tamil Nadu, where it caused extensive damage to infrastructure, uprooted trees, and disrupted the power supply.

As Prasiddhi looked at the damage to the trees she loved, she was disheartened, and she wanted to do more than just be sad. Prasiddhi wanted to help.

“Treating trees like my friends is something I’ve always loved to do,” she says.

Prasiddhi Singh started tree plantations at age six, when she founded the Prasiddhi Forest Foundation.

“I started to participate in the community drives that were happening, and gained experience then about how a tree plantation happens—the watering, the weeding, planting native Indigenous trees. After learning more for two years, at the age of six, I launched the Prasiddhi Forest Foundation with the goal that I wanted to plant 100,000 trees by the end of 2022.”

Just imagine, a 6-year-old girl going to the landowners, stakeholders such as farmers, and government officials and asking them, “Do you have a place you will let me plant trees, for the sake of birds and squirrels?” 

It was difficult being taken seriously, Prasiddhi admits. Many never followed through. But slowly, people started to believe in her. Then upon her completion of planting 100,000 trees by 2022, she was featured in National Geographic.

In this National Geographic One For Change feature, Prasiddhi Singh shows her spirit and determination to plant more than 100,000 trees to protect the environment she treasures.

A Child Teaches Her Father About Climate Change

Today, Prasiddhi’s father Praveen Kumar is one of her biggest supporters. “I think I was the first one who was made more aware of climate change by Prasiddhi," he says.

Praveen is a 40-year-old automobile designer by trade. Until COVID hit, he had to travel a lot—to Detroit, Michigan, to Mexico—and wasn't home very much. During the lockdown, however, he was home for a year and a half. Though he had supported his daughter with logistics up until then, during the shutdown, Praveen began to see just how much she benefited from his presence. Praveen went through a transformation, he says, in which a very close bond began to form between father and daughter and he started to fully comprehend the global impact of her work.

It was at that point that Praveen promised his daughter he’d accompany her whenever possible. That vow was jeopardized when Prasiddhibut not her fatherwas granted official access to the UN Climate Conference in Dubai. The idea of his daughter traveling to another country without a family member to watch over her was concerning to Praveen. That all changed when Omega, which is accredited by United Nations, offered to share one of its credentials with Praveen. 

“I am so thankful that I was introduced to the UN Climate Conference and think it is really a good platform,” he says. “That’s why I’m so grateful to Omega for providing me with credentials to help Prashiddhi. I see this as a beautiful journey.”

Children & Youth Face the Most Consequences

Praveen and Prasiddhi noticed a common focus at the COP28 Climate Conference—children and youth. 

“We [the youth] are the ones facing the most consequences, which means we need to find a solution,” Prasiddhi. says. “Being 11 years old, I really wanted to show the potential that we have. Raising voices is important but I want to promote real action."

The takeaway?

Age is not a barrier. 

Your background is not a barrier. 

And, she says, "Real action is even more important.”

Prasiddhi presents on a panel in the Capacity Building Hub at the UN conference. Capacity building involves developing skills and resources to adapt to climate change, such as transferring technology, ensuring research, education and training, and improving national communications.

 “I’m very happy that I was able to serve the purpose, to make people think and look at things from a different perspective.” She showed how capacity building worked through her actions in planting 130,000 trees, as well as forestation, aiding farmers with agroecology, and an Indigenous mangrove plantation. 

Art Theme at COP28 Climate Live

Yet, Prasiddhi is quick to point out that planting trees is not the only way to protect the planet. It can be done in all sorts of unexpected ways. The audience at Climate Live, a stage at the conference that showcased the power of music to create change, was inspired as she talked about how to correlate art with nature and showed her paintings.

Prasiddhi Singh Art
Prasiddhi shows one of her "Art With Nature" paintings alongside Dr. Ash Pachauri, the POP (Protect Our Planet) Movement cofounder and senior mentor.

Prassidhi’s Green Pillar Foundation showcases how art and creativity can mobilize people across countries.  

“If I start a solution project, I need to involve the children, the government, I need to get the entire community involved," Prassidhi says, as one of the youngest members of YOUNGO, the United Nations Youth Constituency. YOUNGO held press conferences and Prasiddhi was interviewed on their Instagram Live.

An Instagram post for The Green Pillar, says, “The energy of children and youth is an electrifying force that can defeat climate change and carve a positive future for all.🙌🌟 At the COP28 enthusiastic voices echoed, where our founder Prasiddhi Singh and the global youth delegates came together sharing a unique symphony of passion and determination to work tirelessly for the planet.🌏☘️"

A Good Foundation

With nearly 75,000 people at the conference, it was invaluable for Prasiddhi to have her father at the ready, to help her navigate her way–though it was a challenge for him to keep up.

“Keeping up with Prasiddhi is very difficult!” Praveen says, laughing. “She wakes up early in the morning, then goes to bed at 12 o’clock at night. So I was preparing for the last three months, doing my jogging. But still she was far ahead of me.”

Prasiddhi is confident that her first UN Conference will give her a good foundation and the next time she'll be able to leverage it more. Her eyes lit up when she heard the Prime Minister announce the 33rd Climate Conference will be held in India.

Praveen is a proud father. “If someone is a sportsman or professional, he does it for himself," he says. "But an environmentalist does it for society. If they are true, if they are honest, they are on a very hard path, and I believe we are to support them. In the case of Prasiddhi, she finds people like Omega, people like me, to support her.”