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The Start of Our Asian Youth Climate Change Network!

December 12, 2009

Asian Invasion / COP-out!

We had a party last night with the Asian youth attending COP 15. Our house was packed with young environmental advocates from all over Asia including Japan, China, Taiwan, Burma, Thailand and Malaysia.

Picture taken by Ping (hence not in picture)

It was interesting to have such a diverse mix of individuals from around our region in one place, discussing not just climate change but regional issues like the role of ASEAN in environmentalism, development, regional politics and of course, how we can work together in the coming year. Among us, there were environmental engineers, legal students, aspiring economists, geography experts and diplomats-to-be, each with their own unique (and sometimes contentious) views on Asia’s needs and obligations in the fight to save the climate.

Yaaaaammmmmmmmmmm Seng!

One thing many of us felt strongly about was the under-representation of Asian youth and Asian perspectives at the Conference of Youth (COY) and COP 15 this year.

Given the varying levels of development in Asia, the diverse strategies and challenges we face and the immense knowledge-sharing that could possibly occur, us at ECO suggested that the time was ripe for establishing an Asian Youth climate change network.

We’ll be starting off with a google group to link everyone together to get a solid network and dialogue started. The network will help to keep us all informed of each other’s activities, events as well as to serve as a platform to exchange ideas and information on environmental issues. More importantly, we’re planning to hold a small but cohesive conference of Asian youth in mid-2010 to discuss ways that we can impact climate change policies across Asia and the UNFCCC.


Live from COP 15

ECO Singapore

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Spock permalink
    December 15, 2009 4:32 pm

    Er..and what was all your CO footpring for getting all of you to COP from SIN? !

  2. December 15, 2009 9:27 pm

    Hi Spock,

    Thanks for posing this question! We have been waiting for someone to ask this question!

    Yes, flying from Singapore to CPH has increased our carbon footprint. We do believe, however, that our participation and assistance to the COP 15 process will allow us to “earn” back the emissions we have caused.

    We wouldn’t have gone if we didn’t think that it was absolutely crucial that we play our part in COP 15. Just like this year is an unprecedented year for the UN as the nations try to establish a binding legal treaty, this year’s Conference of Parties (COP) is also crucial for NGOs—in particular youth groups—in the UNFCCC process. Youth NGOs have been granted official constituency status which in practical terms means that we can participate in and attempt to influence the negotiations taking place. On a symbolic level, this means that the youth have been duly recognised as pivotal stakeholders in the the climate change debate.

    This long-overdue recognition is an important step in the right direction as we, the youth, will be inheriting not only the UNFCCC’s policies but the social, environmental and economic repercussions of delayed actions on climate change. These are problems that we will have to deal with when we become leaders, workers, voters and parents.

    Hence, we’re not just here to put ourselves on a pedestal or to simply say “we were were”.Our team is here to learn as much as we can, empower ourselves with knowledge and world savvy and put our minds together to generate solutions with other youth from around the world. We’re learning so much here just from listening, interacting, and participating and we hope to share what we’ve garnered with our friends back home when we return! If consensus building was the key to effective global action, than our time working with all the youth from across the world have allowed to learn this important skill.

    On a related note, your question leads to another important point that I believe should be highlighted. Addressing climate change doesn’t mean resorting to extreme measures like halting air travel or overthrowing capitalism (as many radicals propose)—the best solutions involve creative means to changing the way we live—sustainable consumption, recycling, clean energy, urban solutions, etc.

    Thanks for listening, Spock! 🙂 🙂

  3. Spock permalink
    December 16, 2009 2:57 am

    Interesting response – it reads as though it was a pre-prepared press release !
    Will ECO pay to offeset the CO emissions from this trip? How much was the cost was funded by the government and how much was it from donations, personal fundings, etc?
    I do advocate young people learning to have their own voice (especially in SG!).
    I don’t advocate stopping air travel or over-throwing capitalism (did I infer that?)
    But what ECO needs to demonstrate on its return to SG is that the “CO investment” is going to positively improve the local eco movement. That means dialogue with the powers that be to actually make policy changes to enable people living here to become more eco-friendly.
    Frankly, I don’t see ECO being effective – yet. There is no platform for open dialogue between Sinagporeans, ECO and the government.
    See also my posts under “Putting Protests to the Test”

  4. December 16, 2009 9:55 pm

    I guess what you’re trying to say is that my response was well-written, so I will take it as a compliment. 🙂

    Like I mentioned, it’s not just about finding a voice–it’s also about empowering yourself with knowledge, experience and exposure. Having been enriched by this experience, we will all go back to our schools, communities and jobs with new ideas and certainly, have many plans in the pipeline for post-COP 15 events.

    Also, for your info, we weren’t funded at all by the government. In fact we worked hard to raise funds from sponsors and fundraising projects and have all scrimped and saved our own $ to attend this conference. Yes, some of us who can afford it have bought carbon offsets. We would welcome any financial support if you have any ideas.

    I guess what you mean by “But what ECO needs to demonstrate on its return to SG is that the “CO investment” is going to positively improve the local eco movement” is that we need to show that our trip was worth it. Rest assured, we will. We’re planning outreach talks, compiling a short publication, and initiating more cooperative efforts with other Asian groups and our own government. It’s important to understand, though, that the most impactful change occurs incrementally.

    Complaining that there is no platform isn’t going to make one materialise. Working smart and hard to make one happen by offering solutions instead of criticism will create more possibilities. Apart from policy changes and working with the government, ground-up solutions are crucial as well, so we intend to work with communities, other movements and organisations, companies, etc.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts! It’d be great if you could submit a blog entry or a youtube video with your views on climate change and we’ll put it on our blog 🙂


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