Youth: Open Space #11 : Earth, Climate Justice, and Green Transition

Published by AYF Secretariat on

In this Open Space and in the observation of Earth Day 2021, AYF is providing a platform for youth to share their views and experience in regards to Climate Justice and Green Transition in Southeast Asia. On the 18th of April (Sunday), over 50 youth in Southeast Asia attended the session. The participating youth are coming from 7 countries, which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Timor Leste, and Vietnam

It was an entirely youth-led discussion, co-hosted by Ella from Timor Leste, Duc from Vietnam, and Fifty from Indonesia.

The session’s topic for this open space falls under the issue of the environment and the planet Earth, together with their social, economic and political dimensions. This year marks the 51 year of Earth Day (annually observed on April 22). The message remains the same, to urgently call for transformative actions for our planet. Paving our ways into the future meaning saving and sustaining the hospitable earth with its stable climate and rich resources. We are now in the critical points that would decide if we are able to do so or we would live a future with harsh and harsher consequences of climate change.

Climate justice is the key term nowadays to highlight the fact that climate change and global warming are not merely the issue of environment. Climate change and global warming impacted populations differently and are worst impacting the underprivileged communities. The past years, we have witnessed for the first time the climate refugees, which are displaced communities due to climate change, migrating and moving to a much more hospitable living environment. Climate justice encourages us to look deeper into the intersectionality of the climate change impact— to seek injustices experienced by different communities socially, economically, in the health sector, and any other aspects.

Currently, the UN’s SDG addresses the issues through SDG 13 “Climate Action.” Read more on the progress, info, target and indicators of SDG 13 here. The 2020 of SDG 13 can be found here. Right now, we are waiting for the High Level Political Forum on SDG 2021 (happening in July), and the forum will be discussing SDG 13 among other 8 “prioritized” SDGs.

At the same time, we have the Paris Agreement— Legally binding international treaty and agreement on Climate Change. In 2015, 195 countries signed the agreement and 191 ratified the treaty. The goal is “simple,” which is  to mitigate global warming and climate change impacts through actions that can keep the rise in global average temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels; and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F). Watch The (Current) State of Climate Crisis video by TED (4 Minutes), here

Another TED videos we recommend you to watch: 

  1. Why is 1.5 degrees such a big deal? (1 minute)
  2. What is Net-Zero? (1 Minute)
  3. Why Act Now? (1 Minute)

Last, it is important to note our current situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Right now, there is a growing spirit of building back better. This has been seen as the opportunity to ensure that we are transitioning into a more sustainable community and living situation on Earth. It is known as “Green Transition”. It calls the leaders, governments, and people in power to act and commit to create and do a recovery framework plan that includes the environmental dimension and address the climate crisis and its impact for all that put focus on the most vulnerable community. Most importantly, it calls us, the citizens, the youth to monitor and intervene in the transition  and “building back” period to ensure that we are moving towards a green future. Check the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, here.

Copy of Black White Think Speak Typography Saying Poster

Here are some highlights from the session

I do feel the pollution in the city is increasing and getting more serious than when I was a child because people are building more factories around the city and they use more personal vehicles and it affects my living standard a lot. I do feel that many young people try to get abroad, try to live in a developed country just because they have a cleaner environment.

Duc, Vietnam

I see many climate change effects in the agricultural sector, for example, it becomes harder for the farmer to plant rice, because we can’t predict when the rain season come and go.

Muhardianto Cahya, Indonesia

Climate change affects me personally because I have been an audience to the modernization of my area. So, I live in a suburban area but I have seen farming spaces converted into urban spaces. These urban spaces are often catering to the rich. So, from what I experienced, most climate and environmental change effects exemplify the experience of the impoverished, because they lack the means to counter it and they lack the resources to make their living experiences better.

Eunice, The Philippines

We all know that we don’t have planet “B”. Each day, hundreds and thousands of species are being endangered and extinct. The question is we humans, will we be spared from this extinction if we still continue to destroy our planet?. Another thing is that people are being affected by climate change in all aspects, like clean water, food, education, and sea-level rise.

Keesh, The Phillipines

 I think we can contribute by educating a lot of people, even without any with social media account or internet platform. We can talk to people about how the climate change affects our present and future life. I agree that a lot of people think that we should reduce our consumption of goods.

Ralph, The Philippines

Speaking about green transition in ASEAN, we should take into account that hydropower is still disputable whether it is a green energy or it is the threat to climate sustainability. ASEAN should find more ways about green energy and highly consider its costs that can affect the survival of living beings including human being.

Ricardo, Timor-Leste

in Philippines, the climate literacy only being taught on some sort of cross disciplinary area of subject, such as technology and sciences. So, what I did is I inform our educators, that we should have this climate literacy that will require comprehensive environmental education to be taught in every school. This is the new way that we should do to approach the climate change issue, especially we are now facing this trying times of pandemic.

Albert, Philippines

Climate issue is not an individual issue, it’s a global issue that we should take actions to address and to prevent the destructive impact of our society. As youth we need to implement the solutions that we already have. We already know the solution, but the problem is it’s not being implemented fully. Climate change is a complex thing, we need to have a different approach and we need to address it in a specific way. As youth we need to contribute to this change, because climate change is not only our problem but will also be the problem of the next generation. As the youth today we need to exchange ideas and take actions as a community on the global level. We need to do mitigation and education and engage more people to take action together.

Jefri, Indonesia

I’m from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan. Back in January we had the biggest flood in 10 years. A lot of people lost their homes, they had to go to refugee camps. All of the people were affected by the flood, as well as youth. We need to talk about climate change because it is affecting us.

Rizki Febriani, Indonesia

Just few weeks ago, huge tropical cyclone happened in  east of Indonesia and it also affected Timor Leste. Now looking back at the topic, it’s not only youth that were affected by natural disasters but also our younger generation like little kids. It’s not only affecting them physically, like the place where they live but it also affecting their emotions physiologically. It’s important to talk about how the climate change not only affects the youth but also little kids.

Ella, Timor Leste

I’d like to substitute the climate change for climate crisis, because we’re in a crisis right now. There’s correlation between climate crisis with the poverty, because the climate crisis actually increases the poverty of the farmers.

Jody, Indonesia

In Brunei since 2011, we have no plastic days. We encouraged the people to bring recycled bags for shopping. It has been good contribution for the earth in general.

Riyan, Brunei Darussalam

I think it’s good to hold our government accountable for it. Because there are instances when the politicians are passing bills and laws that are not important for the moment. It is climate crisis, they have the authority and the power convince and help people. They have the resources, they have the money. If we convince people to do what they can do to solve the crisis, maybe they don’t have enough resources of their own, they don’t have the finances, they don’t have the time. Meanwhile the government has the authority and resources, so why not ask them to pass bill or laws that will benefit and address certain issue. Every country is suffering from this crisis. I would like call our government to include this topic in schools curricula because it’s one way our young can be informed about the issue. Teachers must be serious in teaching the issue. Everyone is fighting for their rights, human rights, gender equality, but what if our environment is suffering severely, we will all extinct. So environment is something that we must address first, before anything else.

Melvin, The Philippines

We need to also remember that big companies are also responsible for environmental degradation. The loss of rain forest, palm oil plantation which absorb huge amount of water and at the same time polluting the waters, the loss of biodiversity as the impact environmental crisis, those are some of the impact of the companies and the neglect of governments we need to hold them accountable.

Zahro, Indonesia

  1. ASEAN governments must work together to develop a framework for ESG risk assessment.
  2.  We must increase the cross-sector collaboration needed to drive forward the sustainable finance agenda.
  3. ASEAN Climate Literacy should require comprehensive environmental education to be taught in every school and to all age levels.  It should have own area of study and adapt curriculum to fit the various provinces, age groups, and social sectors.
  4. ASEAN already have a Climate Change Framework therefore we must held them accountable to develop an implementation rules and regulations across levels from local community up to the national then regional level.

Albert, The Philippines