Before this week, I don’t think I’d interviewed anyone quite like Adarsha Shivakumar, who was featured in today’s Trib.
The junior at Oakland’s College Preparatory School started an international organization when he was 13, when he used his spelling bee prize money to buy seeds that convert into biofuel.
I could barely keep pace with his thoughts as he told me about Project Jatropha and its work with poor farmers in southern India, where his parents were born. As soon as I had caught up, he took off again, describing an effort to promote tree-planting at urban elementary schools.
When I asked what motivated him to tackle major environmental issues at his age, he said he didn’t think his generation had much of a choice. “I like being alive,” he said.
During a conversation with his adviser, science teacher Adrianna Smyth, I asked if she thought Adarsha would come up with the next big idea, or change society fundamentally in some way.
If he doesn’t, she said, “There’s something wrong with the world.”
photo by D. Ross Cameron/Tribune staff