Youkang Zhang is a 16 year old student based in Shanghai, and he is interested in addressing the global issue of climate change through the lens of food security, poverty and debt crisis.
When Simon was young, he remembered watching snow falling from the skies in winter. He built snowmen and participated in snowball fights in kindergarten. However, the snow is disappearing as he grows up. Winters are either warm and wet or cold and dry. The loss of snow is certainly not a significant result of climate change, however it is the most memorable one for his childhood.
As a high school student, the summer of 2022 has been one in the history book, with extreme heat conditions in Shanghai. This inspired and motivated him to study the topics about climate change and consolidated his mind to be responsible for it.
In addition to climate change, Simon is also interested in its consequences such as food insecurity and poverty. He started his Model-for-Good Project to empower the next generation to adopt data-based monitoring and modeling to tackle global issues to more precisely deliver relevant and localizable solutions. He was nominated as a speaker at World Food Forum 2022, which is organized by FAO as well as 12 other UN agencies and global NGOs. For the latter, he has been a thrifty person since his childhood, never wasting anything useful. He conducted waste matter classification and tried not to waste energy on extra lamps, air-cons and heaters since his childhood. He believes that if everyone saves more resources than before, the poors and the ones in need of resources can get more. Furthermore, Simon is participating at the AMC competition and aiming for a high score.
Looking into the future, he as well as his generation can foresee the issue of climate change worsening over time. Systems change is required, from all relevant stakeholders, to reverse course. At university, his aim is to upskill his knowledge and skills to better model climate change as part of his professional (and personal) development.