During the summer of 2016, 16-year-old Shiv Goel decided to cut red meat and leather products out of his life to be more environmentally conscious. As he embarked on this sustainability journey, he learned about the dangerous impacts of the fast fashion industry on the climate and decided to make more conscious buying decisions.
"My life experiences, specifically with the environmental movement and the activist community, have shaped me and refined my strengths in leadership and commitment."
But when he started to research better alternatives for goods such as belts and wallets, he saw a lack of resources to guide consumers like himself. In response, Shiv decided to get involved with various environmental organizations and create a sustainable shopping resource. Through his varied experiences, Shiv has come into his own as an environmentalist. "I know that's a pretty broad term, but it encompasses who I am," he said. "My life experiences, specifically with the environmental movement and the activist community, have shaped me and refined my strengths in leadership and commitment."
Today, Shiv is the Executive Director of The Green Consumer Project, a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for consumers looking to make environmentally conscious fashion decisions. The organization seeks to promote products and companies that are providing sustainable alternatives to consumer goods. In his role, Shiv uses his voice to increase awareness about sustainability and fashion. "The buying power of the consumer is unparalleled in forcing the hand of large corporations," he said. "I seek to inspire consumers to use that power to start a movement so we can show corporations that we value the environment more than their products."
"I seek to inspire consumers to use that power to start a movement so we can show corporations that we value the environment more than their products."
Shiv was honored for his Environmental work through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact by using their voices for good."My dream is for the voices of activists like me to spark a movement to inspire corporations that abuse their power to change and incorporate regenerative practices," he said.
Shiv acknowledges that finding his voice didn't happen overnight. His journey into environmentalism and activism took time and perseverance. "It took me months of trying my hand with different organizations before I found a place where I felt I could make a difference," he said. “My advice is to do just that. Discover your passions and why you want to get involved--find organizations with missions that align with your goals and join up. It's a great starting point to understand the inner workings of the activist world.”
Over the next five years, Shiv plans to continue developing and growing GCP, dedicate his life to environmental work, and make environmentalism more accessible for individuals of all backgrounds. “I hope that my legacy will be true, unequivocal, change,” he said. “I want to dedicate my life to making the world a better place for future generations, so I truly hope that I can accomplish my goal to some extent and be an inspiration for others to do the same.”
Shiv is passionate about creating opportunities for tomorrow's voices to be heard today, which he says he has in common with The Conversationalist. "One thing about The Conversationalist that resonates with me is the fact that [it] acts as a centralized hub to facilitate your cause, which is very similar to the principles of the GCP," he said.
"It is up to us to understand the changes the world needs so that when we do hold positions of power, we can truly effect change."
In addition to promoting a unified world that fosters kindness, humanity, and equal opportunity, Shiv wants Gen Z to come together and acknowledge their potential for power. "We all hold power to spark change and make things happen, but older generations, unfortunately, hold more direct power because they dominate the political and corporate worlds," he said. "That will change. One day, we will be the ones in office and C-Suite positions. It is up to us to understand the changes the world needs so that when we do hold positions of power, we can truly effect change."
We couldn't be more grateful to Shiv Goel and all he does to create consensus around climate change. Keep up with him on Instagram to learn more about making more environmentally conscious purchases or joining their team of youth volunteers at The Green Consumer Project.