Espanola teen creates climate change awareness app

Punya Pandey of Espanola says an article on climate change inspired him to create an app to raise awareness about the issue.

The app is called Vesa Terra, a free, no-data collection app that aims to raise awareness. The app allows users to see their eco-footprint, compare what other nation's footprints are and to see how long it would take to double pre-industrial CO2 levels depending on world emissions.

“I read that we only had 11-12 years before we can actually make a change and knowing that the last ice age was only about five degrees colder than this ice age and that we are going to warm upwards of 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, so that was really sort of a wakeup call,” said Pandey, who is 15.

“Climate change data isn’t that accessible at this time, right, so for those emission factors, it wasn’t really readily available on the Internet. So at least it's going to provide access to this data in short summary version so that people know what they’re dealing with.”

He said the app cost roughly $2,000 to develop and was funded by his parents. The app’s questionnaire is about 10 questions and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.

Pandey started coding at age seven and was taught by his mother, who has a background as a software engineer. Although she no longer works in the field, she said she is so happy to see her son using the skills she passed along to him.

“Seeing him doing it and making it real, it's really fascinating for me,” said Shyamala Pandey.

"It's really good so I enjoy it and I’m proud of him. It's good he’s doing something with it that kind of makes a difference in people's lives."

The family moved to Espanola three years ago and Pandey just completed Grade 10 at Espanola High School. He created the app on his own in his spare time.

“It took me about five to six months to make the app," he said.

"So I used to come home from school finishing my extracurriculars, homework, stuff like that, (then) go up and work on the computer for about four to five hours, maybe more.”

He's unsure of what he wants to do for a career path but said he would like to create more apps in the future.

The app is available now in both English and French. It can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices.

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    Lyndon George is an Anishinaabe member of the Kettle and Stoney Point First Nations helping our people in Hamilton and beyond seek justice. He will be a part of the  Second Annual Indigenous Unity Rally in Hamilton and speaks about this on the show.

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    On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples the SIRGE Coalition was formed to call upon government, corporate, and financial decision-makers to avoid the mistakes and harms of past resource development by protecting the rights and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples around the globe, many of whom live on lands rich in transition minerals. We speak with Kate and Galina about the coaltions work.