Kehkashan Basu Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Damp hands, a flushed face and being tongue tied — all symptoms that someone facing a crowd of 400 people might experience. Not Kehkashan Basu though.

When the 11-year-old Gulf News Readers' Club member steps up to the podium to speak at the 2012 Global Youth for the Environment Forum, being held in Seoul, South Korea from Tuesday and Wednesday, it will be the seventh international conference she has spoken at.

She told Gulf News that the privilege of speaking at the upcoming conference was the prize she received for winning the 2012 Global Youth for the Environment Forum monthly essay contest.

Students from the fifth to ninth grades from all over the world participated in the 100-word essay competition where they had to summarise their environmental activities and provide detailed information showing the same.

The five winners have received an all-expenses paid trip to speak at the conference where one winner will be chosen from among them.

Carbon footprint

Basu, who was chosen as the winner for the Africa-Middle East region, will be speaking to a delegation of 400 people about how they could reduce their carbon footprint. This is a topic she is experienced to speak on.

She said: "Since I was eight years old, I have been actively participating in environmental campaigns, like paper and can collection drives, planting trees, water conservation, doing workshops for my peers in [my school, as well as others], and have also spoken at many conferences."

Basu is passionate about doing her part and even with all the campaigns and conferences she is a part of, she takes time out every year on her birthday to plant a tree.

She said: "I feel I have a responsibility and my birthday is incomplete without planting a tree."

Having been born on World Environment Day, June 5, she admits she also feels it is her responsibility to fight today for a sustainable future tomorrow.

"As I was born on World Environment Day I feel that I have a preordained responsibility to fight for the environment, and I feel that if we don't act now our future generations will never forgive us," she said.

"I believe that every drop makes an ocean and that if everyone does their part we can have a sustainable city and preserve our environment for future generations."