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Green Scholars Academy

A 16 year old student in Tokyo, Japan. Shunwa Takayama is driven to learn and achieve more in order to  make a positive impact on others and contribute to a better world, particularly with respect to environmental issues.


Shunwa spent much of his childhood in suburban New York, far away from his home country and culture. The different perspectives he saw and the sense of independence he gained left a profound impression on him, helping to make him into the passionate person he is today. In his final year of elementary school in the US, he undertook a year-long project based on deforestation. This inspired his budding interest in relevant fields such as environmental science, politics and government, and biology. These interests endured through his middle and high school years, and he has thus pursued summer programs on social sciences, independently studied about the food chain and its impacts on the environment. For example, in the Kaleidoscope Education summer program he joined in 2022, despite being the youngest in his cohort and dealing with COVID-19, Shunwa won first prize with his final project on deforestation and illegal logging.


Recognizing the general lack of environmental education opportunities for youth in Japan, Shunwa has created Green Scholars Academy (GSA), an organization based on promoting awareness of the enormous environmental burden that everyday actions produce as well as the idea that even small changes can have a significant cumulative impact. Specifically, by educating Japan’s future leaders on this topic, his project aims to create this platform for them to sprout. By teaching them now, the youth can create their own projects to make a difference in their local communities and inspire their younger peers to be green citizens from day one. Also recognizing the role of government, GSA is also committed to political activism. Recognizing that change needs to come from the grassroots, Shunwa, in his position as Student Council President, is engaged with environmental issues in his school and locality. Slowly but surely, he plans on further pushing for change on a wider scale.


As politically active Shunwa hopes to be, he also recognizes we cannot wait for governments to act. Thus, while part of Green Scholars Academy’s mandate is to engage politically, its main thrust is to educate people, especially the younger generations, on these topics and empower them to make incremental changes in their own lives. Decision by decision, person by person, we collectively have the responsibility and power to create a better environmental future. GSA aims to be part of the solution.

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