Knowledge and Insights from Youth: Open Space (April 2023)

Published by AYF Secretariat on

Youth open Space 1 - April

AYF hosted Youth: Open Space on Sunday, April 16th, 2023. There are three youths sharing topics that are really close to their lives. This article serves as a reflection on the enlightening discussions that unfolded during the event, emphasizing the power of youth voices in shaping our collective future.


The Importance of Campaigning for Regional Solidarity

By Terese Anne Teoh Hui Shan (Singapore)

Creating a climate-just future and promoting regional solidarity are crucial aspects of Terese's discussion. She emphasizes the urgency of transitioning away from extraction-based systems and advocates for a just transition that encompasses both regional and international dimensions. The aim is to prevent governments from merely shifting pollution and harm to other countries, disguising their environmental impact. Terese expresses concern over the potential misuse of clean energy systems, whereby some countries may inadvertently perpetuate harm in other nations while turning a blind eye to the resulting consequences.

In her first point, Terese highlights the importance of dismantling systems of inequality. She sheds light on how impoverished nations contribute trillions of dollars to wealthier countries through systems of extraction and inequality. This perpetuates a destructive cycle, where environmental degradation persists, and affluent nations continue to amass wealth. Terese uses the example of waste management to illustrate this issue, with developed countries exporting hazardous waste to poorer nations as a cheaper disposal method. Consequently, this practice leads to pollution and waste-related challenges for the receiving countries.

Terese further discusses the exploitation of child labor in the African chocolate and cocoa industry. She raises concerns about multinational corporations profiting from cheap labor in these regions while inadequately compensating the workers. Additionally, she highlights the detrimental effects of sand mining, exemplified by Singapore's importation of sand from Cambodia to expand its land area. This practice results in environmental destruction and encroachment upon another country's land.

Overall, Terese's arguments emphasize the necessity of a more equitable and just future. She underscores the significance of considering the far-reaching consequences of our actions on both other nations and the environment. By advocating for regional solidarity and promoting a transition towards climate justice, Terese calls for a collective effort to address these pressing global challenges.


My Story about Human Rights and Climate Change

By Naba Hesti (Indonesia)

Climate change has profound implications for human rights, as highlighted by Naba in her presentation. She emphasizes the universal nature of these rights and the adverse impact of climate change caused by human activity. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation disrupt livelihoods, access to clean water, food security, and overall well-being.

Naba's powerful visuals of her region's polluted skies due to forest fires serve as a vivid reminder of the direct consequences of climate change on communities and individuals.

The youth play a crucial role in addressing climate change. As key stakeholders, their inclusion is essential for a sustainable future. Their fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and sense of urgency bring vitality to the climate change discourse. Governments must actively engage with young people, harnessing their knowledge and commitment to develop effective policies and initiatives. Empowering youth-led movements, providing education, and ensuring their meaningful participation in decision-making processes are vital steps toward a more equitable and sustainable future.

Integrating human rights considerations into climate change actions is vital to address environmental challenges. Naba's presentation highlights the interconnectedness of climate change and human rights, emphasizing the need for comprehensive strategies that protect and promote both. By recognizing the critical roles of governments and youth, we can forge a path toward a climate-just future, ensuring the well-being and rights of all individuals in the face of climate change.


Most of the time; I failed

By J.E. (The Philippines)

J.E. shares his experiences with two impactful initiatives that unfortunately faced challenges and were not sustained. The first initiative was Project Gifted, a violin instruction program aimed at providing underprivileged youth with access to education and art while fostering good citizenship through violin playing. However, after approximately three years, the program could not continue due to his partner's increasing work commitments, the impact of a volcanic eruption on their workplace, and ultimately the onset of the pandemic.

Another initiative J.E. was involved in advocating for the adoption of a municipal ordinance to implement a seasonal closure for Tawilis, an endangered freshwater sardine species. The objective was to protect fisher folks and conserve the species. Although they were close to holding a public hearing with the municipality, a volcanic eruption occurred in 2021, shifting the priorities towards disaster response and delaying the hearing indefinitely.

Despite these failures, J.E. gained valuable lessons and experiences. These setbacks also highlighted several enabling factors that contributed to his journey, such as individuals who provided him with opportunities, the availability of paid advocacy work in rural areas, and his preference for non-traditional desk jobs from 8 to 5.

Through these experiences, J.E. learned the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges. His journey serves as a reminder that setbacks can offer valuable insights and contribute to personal growth, while also emphasizing the significance of supportive individuals and conducive circumstances in pursuing impactful endeavors.

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