Towards a Climate Resilient Future at Youth For Change Conference 2023
On 28 October 2023, youths and young adults from nine countries (Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam) gathered at the Lifelong Learning Institute, Singapore for the eighth edition of our annual Youth For Change Conference (YFCC). The theme of this year’s edition was “RE:IMAGINE THE FUTURE” and aimed to excite young people about innovative responses to climate change with reference to examples from World Vision’s interventions and success stories, and to introduce and inspire youths to how they can move the needle on climate change and environmental sustainability beyond personal lifestyle changes.
The programme for YFCC 2023 provided a brief overview of climate change and what it means to become Net Zero, as well as the innovative approaches that World Vision is undertaking in the field towards climate resilience.
Our keynote speaker was Mr Leslie Koh, a local Sustainability Strategist and ESG Advisor who assists SMEs on their sustainability journey. He gave the youths an overview of what climate change, Net Zero, and greenhouse gases were. He also went through the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions and shared the differences between scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. During the workshop in the afternoon, the participants were able to do hands-on practice by calculating carbon emissions based on three case studies (a café, a garment factory, and a tea beverage company), and in the process, learnt how their personal choices and the different industries they support can contribute to the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Leslie sharing about climate change at his keynote session
Participants working on carbon calculation case studies, with the help of Edison, a volunteer facilitator
Participants also had the opportunity to virtually visit two World Vision projects. First, Ms Erber Tirado, Programme Manager of Field Operations in World Vision Philippines, shared about the Abaca project in North Cotabato. She shared about the benefits of the Abaca plant, and how cultivating Abaca contributes to both environmental conservation as well as the economic livelihoods of farmers. Youths were taken through the process of the Abaca value chain from planting, cultivation, harvesting, processing, and eventually the selling of Abaca products. They also heard first-hand accounts of how vulnerable individuals in the community benefitted from the cultivation of Abaca.
Erber shares about how Abaca products help to reduce the use of plastic
In the second virtual visit of the day, Mr Arnav Bhadra, an Innovation Programme Specialist at World Vision Nepal’s Innovation Lab (NLab), shared about the environmental challenge that Nepal faces with regards to plastic waste, and the innovative thinking and design behind transforming plastic waste into Polyfloss material, which can be used to insulate school roofs. Participants also heard testimonies from teachers and students about how the newly Polyfloss-insulated roofs in their school buildings allowed them to learn better by bringing down the temperature in the classroom in the summer, and also dampening the sound of rain during the wet season.
Arnav shares about the research behind the Polyfloss project
Youths were also able to learn from and be inspired by each other during the Human Library segment, where they went around listening to their peers talk about their various climate-related projects that they were implementing.
- Station 1: Cassandra Yip, a final-year Environment Studies undergrad at NUS, shared about Earth School Singapore, an environmental education school that she founded, which aims to create sustainable impact through education, action, and inspiration among children and youth in the community.
Cassandra sharing about the environmental education school she founded
- Station 2: Sitha, IMPACT+ club member at World Vision Cambodia, shared about the various projects she and fellow youth leaders implemented in her community, such as the production and installation of rubbish bins, education on waste management, as well as recycling used and waste materials.
Sitha sharing about her waste management project
- Station 3: Natasha Chia, student at Republic Polytechnic, shared about a board game she created with her friends in collaboration with the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), that aims to educate primary school children on the effects of climate change, and how they can save resources.
Natasha sharing about her educational board game
- Station 4: Beam, a World Vision Thailand youth leader, shared about Trash2Cash, a youth-led environment and sustainability programme that translates trash to cash. The project aims to raise environmental and waste management awareness in schools and encourages youth to think about how they can add value to waste, which will have economic and environmental benefits.
Beam sharing about the Trash2Cash project
- Station 5: Putri and Faldi, youths from World Vision Indonesia, shared about the haze-response project they were both involved in, which aims to curb the impacts of haze in their districts. They also shared about the research they conducted on the causes and impacts of deforestation.
Faldi [center in red shirt], and Putri [right in blue top] sharing about their haze-response project
At the end of the day, Mr Tony Rinaudo, Principal Climate Action Advisor at World Vision Australia, wrapped up the conference by sharing his story of the origins of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), and how it came to be the largest positive environmental transformation in all of Africa. Participants were particularly inspired by his story, which showed how it is possible for just one person to make a big impact.
Tony sharing about positive impacts of FMNR
Hear what our participants had to say about YFCC 2023!
I loved the human library as we were able to network and learn from one another how our actions can be impactful and create a ripple effect for bigger and better change for our environment.
-Surapalli, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
Carbon calculation was new to me and the sessions really opened my eyes to how I could also do small things in my own country that can change the world.
-Suparat, WV Thailand
The human library segment gave me the opportunity to listen to projects conducted by youth from different countries, which really encouraged me. Climate change has been a big problem that seems hard to handle, but I learnt we can start small and influence those around us to effect change!
-Vy, WV Vietnam
YFCC helped me gain a deeper understanding of what having a carbon footprint meant and how to calculate my own carbon footprint.
-Haeun, WV Korea
I’ve always been concerned about diversity and climate issues, and listening to Tony Rinaudo share his experiences empowering and educating people to protect their local resources really encouraged me to want to do the same.
-Marsianus, WV Indonesia