Pleasant Hill, CA
Adarsha recognized the complex relationship between the economy and the environment. In December of 2007, he co-founded Project Jatropha, an organization dedicated to promoting the plant Jatropha curcas as an ecologically friendly and economically profitable crop among the farmers of rural India. Project Jatropha collaborated with Parivarthana, an NGO that helps farmers, and Labland Biotechs, a plant biotechnology company, in order to convince farmers that raising Jatropha was an economically sustainable project. After demonstrating the conversion of Jatropha seeds into biofuel, Adarsha redistributed the biofuel so that farmers could test it on their irrigation pumps. The results were clear: the biofuel burned cleaner and worked smoother than the diesel that had previously been used. Armed with this knowledge, farmers set about planting the 1,000 Jatropha seedlings Adarsha had purchased for them using the money he earned by winning the 2006 CA spelling bee. Adarsha says “Carbon dioxide emissions are local, but their effects are global. Though this project is located in India, it is hoped that it will spearhead a movement that will eventually help mitigate global warming from CO2 emission and decrease the dependence on fossil fuels.” Recently, Project Jatropha expanded its operations and distributed 13,000 seedlings to a wider base of interested farmers.