Garvita GulhatiFounder & CEO, Why Waste?
- 30 Under 30
Garvita is a changemaker and environmentalist working towards the effective conservation of water and empowering young people to become a part of the change.
How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities?
Our book, “The Sustainability Stories,” has been published on Pratham’s Storyweaver and already has over 9000+ reads! We are now working with UNICEF to make these stories into fun interactive videos, the first of which you can catch here. For kids, by kids, this book aims to shape eco-friendly mindsets and inspire kids to be the change they wish to see in the world.
Our website, Why Waste?, also hosts modules to help restaurants, apartments, and anyone become more water optimistic. Our app is created with the goal of helping every single person become part of the solution. People are excited with the idea that they now have the capacity to change and be part of the change from wherever they are. The app helps you calculate your #waterfootprint and teaches you ways to save at least 100 liters of water every day!
We also host learning sessions on the same topic with various communities!
Tell us about your journey to where you are today.
In 2015, India faced one of its worst drought crises ever. Encumbered, four thousand farmers in a single state took their lives. Women and girls were walking over 6 miles each day to get water. I started learning more about the water crisis–its inequitable distribution and irrational usage. I learned that fourteen million liters of water are wasted every year just from the water that we leave behind in glasses at restaurants, and began noticing this first hand. The triviality of this egregious number moved me. That day, I became committed to saving every drop of water I possibly could and launched Why Waste? with the goal of changing people’s mindsets towards water.
At just 15 years old, my family and teachers forced me to focus on my studies. My friends often taunted me saying, “Why are you wasting time with Why Waste?” Restaurateurs refused to take advice from a teenager; moreover, our solutions didn’t comply with them. However, I felt so compellingly connected to this purpose that I refused to be disheartened. I re-approached the problem of water being wasted in restaurants with the GlassHalfFull concept, looking at water with a positive perspective.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?
Ideas of change belong to the world. They cannot be patented, and they mustn’t be copyrighted. When anyone and everyone is excited to adapt your idea in their environment, that is real change.
If you fail at something, it is only because there’s a much better, more powerful way of doing it, and you’re going to get there.
Your capabilities lie beyond your capacity to believe in them.
Your team is one of your most invaluable sources of energy in the most trying times. So make sure you build a great one.
Change happens together, change starts alone.
Change is the only constant, but now, the world is in constant need of changemakers.
Resilience is a trait that can make or break an entrepreneur.
When you work toward making a difference, don’t forget to look back and see how far you’ve come, and see the change that you’ve created.
Change on a large scale happens through systemic transformations. Build local, act global.
When you are trying to transform multiple entities in a system, just look for what benefits each entity uniquely, and you will easily find what benefits everyone as an ecosystem, making them part of your change.
What book, film, or art piece has had the greatest impact on you?
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund has been a powerful book for me on understanding the world's largest problems better and learning to approach them with optimism.
Who (or what) do you look up to as inspiration?
My inspiration has always been from those who strive to be unique and are relentless in their approach. They never give up until they realize what they set out to accomplish.