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Green Ambassadors in a Post-COVID19 Society

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Green Ambassadors Training 2021

After the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 13, 2020 declared novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic, humankind are pushed into an ongoing global crisis that presents substantial challenges to different socio-ecological systems, with clear impacts on many aspects of the environment. As the pandemic continues to unfold, the direct and indirect effects to human lives and the global economy are also affecting the environment and climate. Thus, the Green Ambassadors Training held last 17-22 March 2021 focused on the theme, ‘Green Ambassadors in a Post-COVID19 Society’.

The training which was participated by around 70 YMCA staff, leaders, volunteers and youth from the YMCAs of China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand is part of the region’s continued efforts to combat climate change. Interested networks like schools related to YMCA work on Climate Change and Environment also joined the training. In the current context of COVID19 and as preparation to the post-pandemic society, the training was specifically designed to reflect on the personal and organizational practices that contribute either to the positive or negative impacts of the crisis to environment and climate. It also looked into potential ways to contribute in rebuilding resilient societies with nature-based solutions.

The training included panel presentations on Christian Spiritual Life Training in Times of Climate Crisis by Yoo Mi-Ho, Executive Director of the Christian Environmental Education Center (“Salim”) in Korea and Change Mobilization of Resources Utilization by Dr. Tanawan Sintunawa, President of the Association for the Development of Environment in Thailand. It also incorporated case studies of YMCA projects such as the Moratuwa Carbon Neutral YMCA presented by Niranga Fernando, general Secretary of YCMA of Moratuwa and the Youth-Led Solution on Climate Change project entitled, ‘Creation of Second Life for Second-hand Clothes’, presented by Serena TZU-CHUN Huang and Naima WEN-TING of Tainan, Taiwan YMCA.

As part of the regular areas of learning, input presentations on Sustainable Development Goals, Carbon Emission and Carbon Footprint Calculation, Project Designing and Writing, APAY Quadrennial Plan on Environment and Climate Change and Funding Sources. The above mentioned sessions were presented by the APAY Green Team members Lee Man Key, Colin Lambie, Cristina Miranda, and Narupacha Muang-in, respectively.

The training also facilitated small group discussion and sharing of experiences through the breakout groups on local/national observed effects/impacts of COVID19 on environment and climate, potential and practical ways on low carbon lifestyle in a post COVID19 society and carbon footprint calculation. The participants were also given two days to work together on their r solution or project design writing and to write an individual reflection about the training and their commitment to a low carbon society. The project designs were then presented by each group during the last day of the training. The training was moderated by the APAY Green Team.

By: Maria Cristina Miranda, APAY Executive Secretary