3 Young Climate Change-Makers From Around The World
Our world is no longer the same as it was 50 years ago. Climate change now threatens to undo the past 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction. For the first time, a global generation of children will grow up in a world made far more dangerous and uncertain as a result of a changing climate and degraded environment.
We spotlight 3 groups of children and youth from all across the globe who have decided to step up and do their part for the environment!
1) 13-YEAR-OLD NAAMAN, KENYA
13-year-old Naaman and his mother have adopted Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) practices to manage their once-degraded farm and are happy about their improved harvest.
13-year-old Naaman from Kenya approached Peter, his neighbour, to learn his secret behind his flourishing trees and well-attended farm. Peter is a Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) champion in his village after receiving training from World Vision on how to reverse land degradation. These techniques helped restore his two-acre land previously affected by charcoal burning and deforestation.
Since August 2019, Naaman has been practicing FMNR techniques and shared that, “I have seen our trees grow bigger and we also get to eat fruit such as guava, avocado and other local wild fruits.”
Naaman’s interest in FMNR has also encouraged his mother, Pamela, to join Naaman in taking care of the trees by pruning them on top of caring for her usual maize and bean crops on the farm.
Naaman has learnt more about different trees, including those that can be used for health purposes. When children like Naaman are mentored and given opportunities to meaningfully participate in solutions, positive outcomes are experiences for families and communities.
Pamela shares, “Facts speak loud and clear: action is needed to tackle climate change, improve food security, fight poverty and minimise disasters. What better way to take action than to educate children like Naaman on how to be the cause for the required positive change in families.”
2) 17-YEAR-OLD ABUL, BANGLADESH
Abul and the Child Forum members handing out plant saplings to a woman living in their community to improve green cover.
When 17-year-old Abul from Bangladesh was 7-years-old, he experienced the devastation of super Cyclone Cidr in 2007. Abul sighs, “I still remember that terrible night, we were so scared...In the morning I saw water was everywhere, roofs of houses blew away, almost all trees were uprooted...Our house was badly damaged...We lost all our belongings in the house.” Living in a coastal area in Bangladesh, Abul’s community has been frequently affected by the effects of climate change.
Abul became a member of World Vision’s Child Forum in high school when he realised it was a good platform for children to learn about child rights. He shared that they also discussed issues like global warming and climate change, organising campaigns to protect the environment and warning the community to prepare for disaster.
In 2019, Cyclone Fani and Cyclone Bulbul hit Abul’s community in May and November respectively. When they were informed that Cyclone Fani was heading towards their region, as President of the Child Forum, Abul mobilised the Forum members to prepare the community to mitigate the impact of disaster, together with the local government and World Vision.
“We found families who needed help to evacuate. Every day we went to villages and warned the people to take preparation. Some of our members helped prepare the cyclone centers and evacuate families. We did the same for Cyclone Bulbul,” says Abul.
Abul’s Child Forum members participated in the Child and Youth Consultation on Climate Change and shared that, “I learnt that we cannot fight against climate change alone, it needs to be a combined effort. All countries, poor and rich, have a role to play.”
“We made a plan to raise awareness among the children, our friends in school and colleges. We will organise campaigns to fight against climate change, the children should know what is happening around the world because today’s children will lead the world in the future.”
3) 16-YEAR-OLD CHERRY AND 11-YEAR-OLD MIN, MYANMAR
Youth representatives, Cherry (16, left photo) and Min (11, right photo in the middle), sharing their experiences and planting trees to share knowledge about climate change in their communities.
Due to erratic weather conditions arising from climate change, Myanmar has faced increased likelihood of flood disasters in recent years. 16-year-old Cherry clearly remembers the flood disaster that hit her town in Mandalay in 2010. She worries that another such disaster will occur again.
As such, youth representatives like Cherry and Min (11) have been imparting their knowledge about natural disasters and how climate change is affecting their communities to children and adults at Youth Consultation Workshops. At these workshops, Min and Cherry not only share about the effects of climate change and disasters, but also teach individuals how to prepare and adapt to the changing environment.
Cherry shares that the youth group has organised garbage collection sessions to clean the environment and create a more systematic waste disposal system. She has also made suggestions to local authorities to launch programmes (talk show, dramas) to teach the community about caring for the environment. To help improve the natural environment in his community, Min shared that, “I am organising child groups in our school and ward to grow trees weekly and monthly.” He has also urged local authorities to begin planting more trees and plants in Mandalay.
Children like Naaman, Abul, Cherry and Min are not keeping quiet about how climate change is affecting them. They are bold in speaking up and taking action to fight climate change!
By taking on the 30 Hour Famine: #ClimateAction from 26 - 29 May this year, 100 trees will be planted in Ethiopia for every team (individual or 2 or 3) who successfully completes the challenge! Your individual efforts to fight climate change and stop disasters may be small, but combined with thousands of youth across Singapore, we can make the environment and the people living in vulnerable communities flourish again.
Find out more at www.worldvision.org.sg/30hfc and sign up now!