Youth: Open Space #6 : Climate Change & Youth

Published by AYF Secretariat on

The world push the pause button during the coronavirus pandemic as globally people minimize their mobility, go under strict lockdown, and isolate. After for weeks, social media was full of narratives that the earth is taking pause and recovering. It is true, in some big cities the pollution and air quality index has been better and less mobility means carbon prints from transportation are also less. However, with the pandemic-related waste, we should re-think if the pandemic would worsen or accelerate climate change. All over Southeast Asia, youth have been fighting for environmental justice and demanding public and people in authority to address climate change.

On the 25th of October (Sunday), ASEAN Youth Forum conducted the sixth Youth: Open Space for youth to discuss climate change through youth-perspective. Over 40 youth in Southeast Asia attended the session. The participating youth are coming from 11 countries, which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines, Timor Leste,  and Vietnam.

It was an entirely youth-led discussion, co-hosted by Stella from The Philippines, Sekar from Indonesia, and Alynna from The Philippines.

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Here are some highlights from the session

Discussing about climate change is important for young people to realize that it is our responsibility to keep our environment and our earth for sustain. By discussing about the climate change, we are able to arise our awareness about climate change and how to avoid it, at least make it run slowly. Expecting that our voice as a young generation can be listened by the higher level of stakeholder like government in our own country, ASEAN official, or may be United Nation.

Fifty, Indonesia

The food industry has also donated a large amount of pollution, we know that plastic is the first choice to wrap fast food and many of us throw it carelessly after use. Nowadays still there is no best treatment for plastic waste , so that it becomes a pollution for our soil and river. There are some examples of plastic diets that are applied in Malaysia, Indonesia, or in other countries. People are suggested to bring their own cloth pouch when they go to shop, grocery store, or mini market. The use of plastic to wrap his stuff is a subject to extra payment for the plastic.There is also a campaign to use metal straw instead of plastic straw. Plastic straw seems a small thing, but the use of plastic straw in café and restaurants producing big amount of waste for everyday. Every major changes begin from small steps. But it must be done now or never.

Sharifah, Malaysia

Start from little thing in surround of us for example by posting an idea or picture that inviting people to throw garbage in a proper place, not burning the household waste, sorting a household waste, and recycling some of it that are recyclable.

Ema, Malaysia

It really should be started from ourselves to create a green lifestyle for example having a small amount of clothes, doing a plastic diet, and using a bicycle. Creating a movement or campaign is the following action that can be done, like she and her friends do by creating the Asia Pacific Climate Project.

This is a non government organisation concerning regional and international environmental issues. The members of AP Climate Project come from many countries such as Myanmar, Fiji, Indonesia, Bangladesh. As a campaign activity, we are creating an APLive session which can be followed virtually. APLive Session is an open space to talk and discuss climate issues and how to solve it.

This movement also try to push the government or policy makers to make more eco-regulations. We as the citizen has right to live in secure and health environment. Fight for climate change is not only the work of grassroot but also government need to support by ratified some regulations that help and push people to have green and sustainable behaviour.

Fifty, Indonesia

Youth should have a role in addressing climate change because the actions we do now would result in what we would experience in the future. Climate change affects the status of our environment and has an effect on the economy, livelihood, food security and so on.

What we can do is keep educating and campaigning to have a green lifestyle. Start from our house, our livelihood, and it will spread widely to our country. Inside of government, we need to pay more attention to any regulations that can be affected by our environment.

Climate change is a multidisciplinary problem or a hyperobject. That is why this term was coined instead of it’s former name global warming. This just shows the many fronts we have to consider: ocean acidification, greenhouse gasses, energy, human encroachment, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, and so on.

Cromwell, The Philippines

Climate crisis is an important issues as it can affect the ecosystem and biodiversity that involved many species and human because we are actually connected as one. Sorry my mic is not working

Shuning, Malaysia

Raising awareness is a must because there hasn't been an obvious environmental problem here so most people just don't care and ignore it. Going vegan is one of the best ways to reduce carbon footprint.

Whawha, Thailand

I think paper packaging can replace. Online shopping is really bad for environment when we think of the packaging.

Kathrinewest, Myanmar

I prefer to be aware of the plastic problem and try to reduce using it and reuse it. I keep that plastic..in case cannot reduce, Keep using it.

Phyo, Myanmar

I am wondering about the concept of green hotel, green apartment, provide gree area and animal friendly but the truth they are cutting the forest for the building

Fathiyyah, Indonesia

COVID-19 greatly helps in the environment as pollution is lessened and the people are concerned with the environment unlike before that we do not care on what is happening around us.

Lawrence, The Philippines

COVID-19 pause the production; once COVID-19 is gone, the production is back; the air population will be back or worse! Better take the opportunities now to raise stronger awareness. We also need to make sure that the post covid-19 strategy is climate conscious. As governments are trying to plan for recovery, the recovery tends to favor strong production boost.

Pirun, Cambodia