WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Shivm Mehta knows that to a certain degree, the future is in our hands.

He’s the creator of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge-winning phone application “A Climate Change Guide for Kids.” And get this: he’s only 14 years old.

The Williamsville East freshman took home victory in the competition for New York’s 26th District. Believe it or not, he’s self-taught as a coder.

“I learned by myself through YouTube videos and courses online,” Mehta said.

According to the Congressional App Challenge, more than 9,000 students across the United States and its territories registered for the 2022 competition. In all, more than 2,700 apps were created.

“This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, and most apps per district submitted, with most districts receiving over 20 apps,” the Congressional App Challenge website says.

Mehta, who described himself as “a big reader” and a fan of documentaries, said climate change has been something on the minds of he and his family, specifically, how they can make the world a better place.

“I was watching a Bill Gates documentary, and one of the big things of his foundation was clean water and climate change,” he said.

This inspired Mehta. Instead of just seeing what he could do alone to improve the world around him, he wanted to show others how they can help, too.

“One of the things I wanted to do, personally, was reduce my carbon footprint,” Mehta said. “But when I did research on it, I couldn’t find anything that related to me.”

Remember, he’s not old enough to drive, and the electric bills aren’t in his name. So, suggestions about types of cars to drive weren’t of much use. And as the name of his app suggests, Mehta wanted to do something for people closer to his age — kids and teens.

In eighth grade, Mehta surveyed around 150 of his classmates, asking them about how much they know about their carbon footprint, how much they care about it and if they’d be willing to help reduce it.

“The result was, overwhelmingly: they know very little, but they’re definitely willing to help,” Mehta says.

The way the app works is based on math, something this gifted student loves. It allows users to enter numbers based on what they do in their daily life.

“It’s very simplified,” he says.

Once the numbers are entered, the app then tells users to add, subtract or multiply certain factors in an effort to better the environment.

He’s got a few years to go, but once high school’s over, Mehta plans to keep up with coding, hopefully involving his environmentalist efforts, as well.

Concerning climate change, one of the factors at the front of Mehta’s mind is transportation, and how many vehicles like airplanes and cars release harmful gases into the atmosphere.

“I kind of want to make people think that with every single action that they do, they are somehow contributing to their carbon footprint,” Mehta says.

Computer science obviously isn’t a foreign field to him, and it’s familiar to his family, as well. Two of Mehta’s cousins are studying it in college and his dad is “a big coder,” he says.

“Computer science runs in our family,” Mehta, who said he’s been reading a book about Steve Jobs, told News 4.

Down the road, Mehta hopes to continue spreading awareness of climate change and what people can do to better the Earth. With so many people having phones, an app is one way to put change right in their hands.

Mehta’s currently working on the second version of the app, which he hopes to have improved functionality. You can’t get it yet, but this bright Williamsville coder hopes to have it ready for the public in two to three months.

Students who are interested in participating in the 2023 Congressional App Challenge can pre-register now before the contest begins on June 15. The deadline for the 2023 contest is Nov. 1.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.