What’s the Youths’ says? – Part I

What’s the Youths’ says? – Part I

Areeya from Thailand

Areeya from Thailand

“My name is Areeya. I work for an environmental NGO in Thailand named TERRA. We monitor Thai investments in neighbouring countries in the Mekong Region and campaign to promote understanding of trans-boundary impacts and rights of the communities to protect their natural resources, livelihoods, and posterity.

I came to Paris hoping to witness the global movement of the people, to find youth voices that speak about climate change and hope that their stories would inspire Thai youth to be interested in climate change. At the moment, many communities are losing their lands to extractive industries. Fishers folks are fighting against coal-fired power plant proposals.

Indigenous communities are at the forefront to protect the forests and their communities from being taken away. Extractive industries and especially coal induce climate change and pollute our soil and water–the basic ingredients for food security.

The forests are part of the natural ecosystem to recycle and absorb carbon, yet they are being cut and the communities who have been living in and protecting the forests–their homes–are being chased away. So, I believe that these are climate change induced disasters.

We (my organization) are not directly monitoring COP or the negotiation; however, we monitor energy policy to help our campaign against large dams and coal-fired power plants. It’s a good news to see Thailand submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which inserts a 20-25 percent decrease of nation’s greenhouse emission. It shows that it pays attention to take part in the climate negotiation and our prime minister also spoke before the members of COP21 about Thailand’s plan. I do not know much about Thailand’s adaptation and mitigation plan. Nonetheless, if we look into another document: Thailand’s Power Development Plan, we see that it aims to add in 57,459MW in the next twenty years and many projects include more coal-fired power plants and hydro dams, especially in Thailand’s neighbors in the Mekong Region.

At the moment, (the youths’) interest in climate change is still primitive. Many groups are aware of climate change but I personally do not know many who actively advocate on this issue. Thailand did not send any delegate to participate in YOUNGO or the official youth delegation.”

– Areeya from Thailand


Kuan-I from Taiwan

Kuan-I from Taiwan

“I am Kuan-I, Lee from Taiwan and I am an auditor in KPMG. The two main issue in my country that caused by climate change would be the extreme weather, especially typhoon and air pollution caused by deforestation and the exhaust emission. My organization, Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC) hold several workshops and Taiwan Power Shift to raise the awareness of the civil society and especially for the students and the young people. We are also one of the most positive teams in Taiwan to join in the COP and become the bridge between local and global communities.

Quite a lot of youth are interested in the environmental protection issue or energy conservation and carbon reduction, but the lack of whole picture on climate change is a problem. Youth have a much more ambitious goal and determination. It is probably what the delegates in UNFCCC need, for they may compromise with rather unambitious standard due to the pressure from certain sectional interests.

A series of COP21 documentary sharing events are organized, and we have already prepared 10 videos of different topics, including COY, human chain, red line march and the voice of youth.”

– Kuan-I, Lee from Taiwan


Kristina from Japan

Kristina from Japan

“I’m a student in France, Sciences Po, studying law and political science. I represented Japanese youth in COP21 as a member of climate youth Japan. I have been participating and organizing COP21 simulations around the world in 2015, so my initial purpose was to follow negotiations and compare with what we’ve done, but I ended up also learning a lot from the side events.

Interestingly even though Japan is an island and is supposed to be affected a lot by the climate change, we don’t hear much about the climate change induced disasters. I have read minor news how the agriculture in Japan (especially rice) is being affected by it (lower amount). We are doing our best to influence and improve government policies(we submitted opinion papers to three ministries – economics, foreign affairs and environment) but I think our most important purpose is to increase the awareness among the youth.

We should organize youth NGOs better through YOUNGO. It’s a very huge organization but since this COP was my first one I felt excluded and could not make the best use of it. We are thinking of organizing a climate march but I am not sure when. I really think we need to share the analysis of the paris agreement among the world youth!! and we need to come up with the solutions how the youth can contribute to the IMPLEMENTATION”

– Kristina Yasuda from Japan


Bellinda from Malaysia

Bellinda from Malaysia

“I’m a fresh graduate, my purpose of attending COP21 is to be the UNICEF Climate Youth Ambassador representing Malaysia. In my opinion, we can increase the Malaysian youth participation in UNFCCC by encouraging and ensure the active participation locally – e.g. participation in activities at their particular region, by going on the ground and organizing activities for youths at their particular area/region.

After cop, we plan to expand our work and maybe organize some activities at other different area/region in Malaysia so that more youths can participate and aware of the climate change issue.”

– Belle Bellinda from Malaysia


Yu-Cheng from Taiwan

Yu-Cheng from Taiwan

“I graduated from Keele University majored in International relations. Now I am looking for a job in the PC company. Typhoons, flooding, drought, mudslide, sea level rising and dengue fever are the major climate change induced disaster in Taiwan.

One of the strategy that Taiwan government took to address the issues is by passing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act in June.

I believe the youth should have the right to participate in the high-level negotiation meetings and be able to intervene directly (in UNFCCC process).

We completed the Youth Delegation Interview Program and participated in the discussion of Asian Youth Climate Netwok Declaration during COP21.

I have also joined the Climate Global March, Health Central to Climate Change Action (Monaco & Health and Environment Alliance – HEAL) when I was in Paris “

– Yu Cheng, Chang from Taiwan


“I am now studying in Master in International Relations and European Studies, I went COY because I wanted to get some incite/ information about climate change related policy/ ongoing works before the start of COP21, it is valuable for me as I planned to work on climate change in the future.

In Hong Kong there is more higher average temperature, causing longer and hotter summer with heavier rainfall and more unexpected extreme weather like heat waves and fluctuation in temperature, typhoon and rainstorm which affects a lot in traffic and daily life in Hong Kong. Climate change also threatened the deep-sea species due to alternation of circulation pattern of regional ocean.

Youth participation and motivation are not strong, nor the coherence of climate change related youth group. Young people will discuss among us, but there is no concrete platform for us to join some campaign or take actions against the climate change issues. ”

– Yau Hing Yu

Interviews done by Elaine

Bilateral Meetings with International Youth Groups in COP21

Bilateral Meetings with International Youth Groups in COP21

So we have mission to accomplish.

The mission is bilateral meetings with other youth delegations during COP21,  to understand what other youth groups are doing in COP and to gain exposure from their experiences. We are newbie and they may have been here for years. I think this exposure is worth an article because it was one of my exciting parts in COP.

Each of the MYD members were in charged of “adopting” a country’s youth coalition and arrange a meeting with them. I was in charge of contacting New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) but it did not happen in the end because they were very occupied and it was a problem to find a mutual free time for all the members. The secured ones include meetings with the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC).

Fun fact: UKYCC and AYCC have more female members than male, but it is another way round for TWYCC.

UKYCC meeting was our first one on 10th Dec, in green zone. There are around 6 to 8 of them. We were quite excited as we have no experience in handling such big number of participants in such meeting. It was a bit delayed and I tried to take lead and to conduct the flow, just a simple one- introduction from both side on what we did before COP and during COP; then it will be a free Q&A or chatting session. It was fine initially but when it reached the free chatting part, the note taker – Shak got a bit lost because everyone was kinda split into small groups; with various diverse topics. I was sitting in the middle, trying to bridge the gap without spoiling the  anticipated conversations, so you could imagine how challenging it was ! :/

The next day, we had lunch with AYCC, there were only 4 of them. Conversation was much converged given the advantage of us seated in a roundtable (now I know the significant role seatings play in a discussion!).

The session with TWYCC was in the evening and we did some serious walking to our meeting venue. TWYCC intended to interview and film some of us, resulting our meeting started a bit late. There are around 4-5 members from TWYCC (not the whole team). However, only 2 of them are the “real” members as the other 2-3 people were from the media team who exclusively worked on  recordings and shootings (interesting team structure!). So those are the kind of problems that you would probably face when it comes to bilateral meetings- many things are uncertain- timing; venues; unexpected incidents like delays and number of people who turned up.

Lesson Learnt: It could be better if we could know more about the logistical information beforehand- e.g. number of people attending, so we can find a suitable place to comfortably fit us; and location, whether it is blue zone or green zone (travelling between these 2 places can take 15-20 minutes to and fro).

I personally felt at ease after talking to these bunch of youths because I am not the only one who was overwhelmed and lost in this COP circus; and I am also not the only one who thinks team problem is a shame because that’s what happened to everyone. Most importantly, I learnt from these youth coalitions that they all have a proper structure within the team, so at least they know how to coordinate stuff although they are all moving around individually. Great learning from them! I think this bilateral should be made another MYD traditions for the upcoming batches.

bilateral meeting

Written by: Emily
Edited by: Wanji

Reflection on Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Reflection on Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Spot me at Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Spot me at Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

While I was still in Malaysia preparing for COP21, I received a short email from Adrian and Lastrina asking if I am keen to share my climate initiatives and experiences for the coming Youth Forum event organized by Indonesian Pavilion in COP21.

Well, the moment I say “Yes” is the day I am glad I did it.

(more…)

Climate Innovators: Empowering a Global Generation of Young People

Climate Innovators: Empowering a Global Generation of Young People

Young people like me and you. What can we do and how can we be empowered to get ourselves more involved in climate-related initiatives and to bring forth such empowerment to intergenerational scale?

Today, I have decided to attend this dialogue known as “Empowering a Global Generation of Young People”, a side event in COP21.

Side Event at COP21: Empower Global Younger Generation of Young People

Empowering a Global Generation of Young People

 

Highlights from Guy Ryder, a director-general of International Labour Organization

According to Ryder, in today’s world, there are ⅓ unemployment in the world are youth and parts of them lose their jobs due to the impacts of climate change. Yet, the climate impacts of today are not their responsibility but they are the ones bear most of the problems.

So, how can we improve this?

Ryder highlighted if we want to achieve low carbon societies, closing the gap with the skills we have and we need are priority for policy makers. He then maintained governments, employers and workers should come together to find ways to empower and enable the youth to use their spirit of innovation and creativity to produce the responses they need.

“It is imperative for us to look to the future, to empower youth to build areas of education that promotes creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.” said Ryder.

For instance, enterprises are encouraged to provide trainings to young people to become a solar technician and thus to increase skilled forces that promote clean energy. Also, he emphasized the importance of promoting, enhancing and endorsing climate education and trainings to young people as they are the people that need to adapt to uncertainties of climate in the future.

Highlights from Kabiito Denis, an agronomist/farmer in Uganda

Moderator: You are a young farmer yourself. What keeps you farming? A lot of people leaving farming for “greener pastures”

Dennis: In African context, many people leave agriculture because it stems from our family. My mom was a housewife and a poultry farmer. She always tell me to “go get a better job. Farming is tedious. Farming is for uneducated people like us.”

After coming from school as a young agronomist. I have that passion of farming. You can’t give advice to people unless you get your hands here. From doing it now, I can experience, if the season is unpredictable. I can get tailor made solutions because I can interact with nature and connect with the rural communities and bring them into one society all along the agricultural chains. I want to inspire. In most of Africa, we have young people who likes agriculture. It interest people from cities to head back to rural areas. We can help to develop rural areas via climate smart production. If we have good industry in production. We can attract back the youth.

Moderator: What is holding youth back? What would young people to claim that space?

Dennis: They are facing problem and they are not in the decision making process. They can’t move on. Youth have not been involved in other activities where elders are doing and this make them shy away. Making lesser income shy them away. The youth will shy away if income is low. Unless we increase the productivity. Having a decent life and agricultural product in the changing climate will attract youth.

Traditional system and lack of quality education. We are not part of the decision making process which will hinder us to become the agent of the change. We need this part and the system need to include us so we can fully be able to extend our capabilities, skill to get in.

Highlights from Vincent Bryant, Founder of Deepki

Moderator: Vincent, you are in the arena of startups, entrepreneurship, technologies. Can you share with us your opinion on empowering the young people?

Vincent: Let’s imagine you are living in 19th century in USA. You go to Pennsylvania to get decent amount of oil and earn dollars. Some of you will find, some of you would not. Two engineers will let you know where to find the oil based on geological analysis.

Today, story is not about oil but clean energies and “Big Data”. The First ingredient is “Data”. I believe you have all the data to promote energy efficiency.

Second ingredient is Predictive models. We built predictive model to resolve research on how much energy can be saved via a building and imply it to similar buildings. As a student, I am proud of using big data to put constriction of carbon footprint on campus and people. The government are not fast in doing so. Five most consumption measures can be measured from the existing datas.

Today, we have 17 employees (Average age: 29) in this 15 months old company. It is the value you create that is valuable will attracts the youth today. You create value to improve their comfort and save their expenses. It is easier to spread the word to other organization. I spend a lot of time meeting young people who has desire to work on meaningful topic. Not to work for regular industry who does not understand where the money go. If there is a desires, it is powerful to change people’s behavior and speed up the energy transition.

Highlights from Rogie Nichole Aquino, Sole4Souls Philippines

On the other hand, Rogie Nichole Aquino, a 20 years old youth from The Philippines is one of the youth who managed to put words into action. Rogie believes in taking action NOW than later. He made a recommendation in UNESCO to initiate his own projects (e.g. Sole4Souls initiative) in his home country as he hopes to inspire his fellow Filipinos.

Moderator: As a youth, What drives you to take action?

Rogie: Guilt. Youths are reckless. We do not know the affects that we do until the result is in front of us. Then, we will think “why didn’t I pursue this path?” After the guilt stage, I feel motivated to take the action as we need to start now. If not now, when? We all are the agent of change. We all have this responsibilities to make this happen.

Hence, we need to be Open-Minded: Do not stick to what we have done before. We need to be innovative, unity, work with all stakeholders and not to be stuck in the old way like how Governments in The Philippines – where they are stuck with their old political system with big main ideas that disregard others. We also need to stay committed in what we do. We all have the responsibility. We should all act now.

Closing of the event:-

The closing of this event is the most inspiring one when Veteran Negotiator – Former Minister at Republic of Congo arrived later to share his opinion on empowering young people.

H.E. Henri Djombo, Republic of Congo:

“Age does not define the keen sense of responsibility. Some kids mature later. You have old people stay young in their mind. Notions of young and old are subtle. This is the result of their education. They will always committed to causes. Educate the young. We have to support and empower them. It is not about the environment but also education. Give  them the tools they need.”

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

A Skype session with Leonardo da Vinci High School, Potsdam, Germany

A Skype session with Leonardo da Vinci High School, Potsdam, Germany

German

Students from Leonardo da Vinci High School, Potsdam, Germany.

We “scuttle” our way to YOUNGO room to have a skype session with a group of high school youths from Germany!

I panicked and became anxious as I stared at my brightly lit laptop screen. I did not know what to share. Thoughts that were running in my head.

My experiences at COP21? I think everything happened in the blink of an eye. My first week was somewhat confusing owing to many negotiations and side events were occurring concurrently, there were just too many things to focus on at one time. I was excited but was quickly drained out as well.

Nonetheless, I am glad that we were able to have a quick conversation with the high school youths. They inspired me with their enthusiasm and curiosity; a strong desire to learn something. For me, it is the curious mind that inspires humanity; to transcribe dreams into reality. With curious mind, born the vision to build sustainable dreams on this ever so realistic earth.

Sharing some of my COP21 experiences here:-

  • COP21 – encompasses of UN team, negotiators, civil society organizations and youth! Youth are the catalyst. They are the one that can help to fill the gap and build a network that connects and holds stakeholders together. These actions can be direct, i.e. MYD member recent participation in giving interventions on behalf of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) during SBSTA Closing Plenary or subtle i.e. MYD members direct engagement with some of our Malaysian negotiators throughout the whole COP21. Throughout the COP21, MYD has organized several impromptu meetups with our negotiators and Malaysian CSOs to strengthen the bond and to understand the UNFCCC process.
  • Climate mobilizations do make an impact! At COP21, YOUNGO is an official youth constituency under UNFCCC. Youth from various organizations including MYD members are given the opportunity to participate their daily meetings and action working groups to coordinate mobilizations actions in COP21. Thanks to their consistent lobbies along with other CSOs in COP21, strong scientific evidences and pressures from the vulnerable countries throughout negotiation processes; the world manage to set new REAL temperature targets in the latest adopted Paris Agreement – to limit the global warming by 2 degree Celsius and aiming for 1.5 degree Celsius.
  • Active Climate Actions all year round! If you want to make a change, it requires persistence. You need to keep pursuing what you believe with sensibility. Every great work sparks from your own desire to explore. Then, your choices to search for like-minded people or projects within your community

MYD team was formed in June 2015 and we were given 6 months of preparatory journey to COP21. Throughout the 6 months, MYD has successfully organized a training series with various experts from various backgrounds (e.g. climate scientists, Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, climate journalists, CSOs, policymakers, etc) at Malaysia. We also proudly produced and submitted our Youth Statement on Climate Change towards COP21 to our Prime Minister. As a team, we are able to establish our presence at local, regional and international climate events such as Power Shift Malaysia, Asean Power Shift at Singapore and Conference of Youth (COY11) at Paris.

These are just several experiences we have thus far. For post-COP21, MYD members are ready to engage and share their COP21 experiences with their people back home in hope to educate the public and raise another team of youth to understand climate science and policy as well as the infamous UNFCCC process.

In my opinion, effective teamwork and continuous engagement with all stakeholders intergenerationally are essential in order to make bigger impacts on combating climate change.

Hence, thank you students of Leonardo da Vinci High School for giving us this opportunity to share our experiences with you via Skype and vice versa. I hope we can hear more from our readers too! If you have any climate initiatives’ experiences / collaborations you want to share with us. Email to us powershiftmsia@gmail.com and we are happy to engage!

Written by: Jolene Journe Tan.