Karnav Rastogi is the author of 11 books with the environment as his main focus. The TOI #Unstoppable21 jury has picked the 14-year-old from Mumbai as one of the Unstoppable 21 Indians under 21 years
Across the world, climate activists and environmentalists are working incessantly to spread awareness about the effects of climate change. One such climate warrior is Mumbai boy Karnav Rastogi. Now 14, he started writing stories that are centred on the environment from when he was six years old, with his first book, titled ‘Kartik & Mixie: A Journey About Creation’, published when he was eight.
“Karnav always believed in Lord Byron’s words, ‘A drop of ink may make a million think’, and he reflects the same thought, that writing is the best way to express oneself,” said his mother, Dr Shweta Rastogi.
The young author has written 11 books, seven in English and the rest in regional languages. Inspired by the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan launched by PM Narendra Modi, Karnav wrote a story about a magical dustbin, followed by stories on trees, magical seeds, water pollution, etc.
“Nature has been his biggest inspiration for writing. During Covid he learnt about plastic pollution and also realised how Mother Earth healed. He first reduced his carbon footprint and shared his approach with friends. He became a UN Environment Programme Tide Turner Plastic Champion at the age of 11. Realising that there is no awareness among students, he created two e-comics: ‘Kartik, Daddy & Plastic: A Journey About Beating Plastic Pollution’, and ‘Kartik, Mixie & Monster: A Journey about Ocean Pollution,” said his mother.
Focused on fighting the effects of climate change, Karnav released his seventh book, ‘Kartik, Mixie & Climate Change: It’s Now Or Never’, with an appeal to each reader to plant a tree after they finish reading the book, which comes with a neem seed packet for the reader to plant. If the book is passed on to someone else, the reader must place another seed in it to be planted by the next reader, Shweta Rastogi explained.
Aside from writing, Karnav conducts workshops for students across states as well as for NGOs and orphanages. His workshops, titled the ‘Author In You’, aim to create awareness about climate change and strategies for fighting it.
Asked about his future goals, the young author said, “I want to conduct a few sessions in each state and Union Territory to reach at least 10,000 students who can in turn inspire 10 other students each. That way we will have at least 1 lakh climate change warriors and at least 10,000 trees will be planted.”