Maddyness is collaborating with YSYS, which connects diverse people with opportunities in business and tech. We’ve spoken to three alumni from its FoundersDoor incubator programme about how they started their businesses, and the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced along the way. Second up is Maya Lingam, founder of EcoSpot.
Tell us what EcoSpot does and how it came about in your own words. Did you have expertise and experience in the field you chose?
EcoSpot is a community platform for climate action. We help young people develop lasting sustainable habits and behaviours.
I started building EcoSpot after going along to a pre-pandemic climate strike and interviewing teenagers who were very aware of the climate crisis, but felt the action they were trying to take in their own lives was insignificant. I’m also Gen Z and know it can feel pretty depressing to know our generation has decades and decades ahead of seeing the climate crisis unfold.
So, coming from a background in startups, I saw an opportunity to use tech to enable community-led climate action, showing young people the power of the collective impact we have when working together. I also feel it’s important to change the narrative away from ‘the world is burning’, to highlighting some of the benefits of climate action – for your health and wellbeing, for saving money, strengthening your local community and for the biodiversity of your environment.
Because who wants to feel that they’re only taking action out of guilt, fear or sacrifice?
Within the platform, schools choose interactive green challenges for their community to take part in together, tracking their collective impact through the achievements dashboard. Schools can create teams internally and compete with other communities using the platform through the leaderboard. Finally, we double up the positive impact for the planet by planting trees through our partner the Eden Reforestation Project every time a challenge is completed on the platform.
Why do you believe that sustainability starts at school? What role will education play overall in combating the climate crisis?
There are more than 2.2 billion children on Earth today who must be equipped with the behaviours needed to live sustainably and protect their futures in a world that will change rapidly around them.
At EcoSpot, we see the education system as a crucial way to reach as many young people as possible, helping them to develop sustainable habits during their formative years that will last for the long term.
Engaging with schools means we can also reach marginalised communities – those who are most affected by the climate crisis but are typically overlooked in this conversation. And education isn’t confined to the classroom; by putting climate action on the agenda at school, we can achieve a much greater impact. Using tech to get young people modelling these behaviours back to their families at home, we can foster behaviour change that goes beyond the school gates and into the wider local community.