Hot Issue, Cool Solutions

On Thursday, Sept 29, 2011, The Climate Reality Project Indonesia (TCRPI) held a workshop for the youth group at TUNZA 2011 in Bandung. I and three other fellow TCRPI presenters who teamed up for this workshop have only been communicating via emails and telephone conversations, but we eventually made it. We had our session right after lunch time, scheduled from 13:30 to 15:00, and it started unsurprisingly a bit late. The room was filled with about 25-30 young people, mostly from Indonesia (Bali, Madura, Manado, Bangka, etc.) and the Caribbean countries, and also a couple of young boys from Sri Lanka.

Our session was divided into four: Dian started first by explaining about The Climate Reality Project, then continued by Arifah who delivered the scientific background of Global Warming and Climate Change. Between the two presentations, we screened a video of a woman being rescued by her neighbor during a heavy, violent flood in Brazil. That was quite a breathtaking scene that got a conversation going in the room. The video was a part of TCRP new presentation material that we acquired only in the morning, so we wished we could have shown more of the new slides. Anyway. The third presentation by Risa explained about how we – youth – must take the stand, discussing the quitter and climber types. The fourth (and last) presentation was my part, talking about Hot Issue, Cool Solutions, pointing out what youths can do in facing the current environmental situation and in preparing a pleasant, liveable earth, by being creative and active.

At the end of the presentation, we asked if any of the audience has an experience in mobilizing his or her communities, or in conducting a project, which relates to the issue. It turned out that some of them are having ongoing projects, i.e. providing clean water for his village, managing local solid waste, etc. We could see that no matter which part of the world you come from, the problems are similar. Most of us are prone to the impacts of extreme climate, but at the same time most of us – especially young, energetic people – also have the potential to face the challenges and to improve our own environment.

Following are my slides. All images, if taken from external resources, are credited, and I’m very much indebted to greendiary.com for their post about children & youth and their activities.

Among my suggestions is for them to check their ecological footprints and compare them to those of their friends’, classmates’, neighbors’, families’, etc. See who’s most ‘harmful’ for the environment and who’s most friendly, challenge themselves to change their lifestyles into more harmless ones by reducing the widest part of their footprints. I have applied this challenge to my students in several classes, who offered surprising and entertaining solutions, all specific to their (local) situations.

Another challenge might come in the form of controlling your waste. This can also be done collectively, i.e. one classroom competing with another, to see which class comes up with most garbage by the end of the week. It can include not only the classroom facilities, such as chalkboard and cleaning substance, but also the students’ candy bar wrappers, packed juice or bottled drinks, papers, etc.

Youths and their hopes for the Earth should be heard, and in this era of global information access, social media and Internet technology, relaying messages should come in a more creative forms. Groups of youths that are active in the ecological issues can connect to similar groups abroad and share experiences, just like we did in the workshop session. They can post stories, photos, plans, to inspire and encourage others.

Children and young people now are those who will live on Earth many many years from now, so they have the right to decide the kind of world they’ll live in. And they can’t just rely merely on current decision makers, multinational companies, and all adults in general. So let’s change the world into a better place to live!

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