Statement - Today is the time; today is our Future!

Attention: open in a new window. Print

Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 November 2021 15:56)

Today is the time; today is our Future!

APAY Green Ambassadors Demand Urgent Climate Action
Green Ambassador’s Training; 25-29 October 2021



The physical science behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report indicates that due to carbon emission, the global warming is expected to surpass 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels shortly after 2030. Since 1990, the IPCC has released a series of comprehensive assessments on the state of the earth's climate confirming that dangerous human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. The latest IPCC report issued in August 2021 reinforced all the most urgent warnings that have emerged from the past 30 to 40 years of climate science. These environmental risks are echoed by the participants of the Green Ambassador’s Training held on 25-29 October 2021 as they experienced in their respective community sea level rise, extreme weather events, such as frequent super typhoons, droughts and floods, limited water supply, loss, and extinction of marine species, among others.

On November 1-13, 2021, the Conference of Parties (COP) will hold its 26th meeting, thus named COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. It is the 26th year that governments, NGOs, trade unions, businesses, and everyone else with any interest in climate change meets with the same agenda from which nations have failed to act accordingly. The urgency to tackle the climate emergency is now. The long-lasting changes in our climate system due to global warming will have irreversible consequences if urgent action is not taken. Today is the time to act because what we do today determines our future!


Mission Imperative

While APAY acknowledges the initiatives taken by the UN Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) and IPCC in raising the awareness on climate change, the commitment on addressing the crisis is embodied in Challenge 21, the contemporary mission statement of YMCA, which states that each YMCA are called to ‘defend God’s creation against all that would destroy it and preserve and protect earth’s resources for the coming generations’. Thus, we, the 80 participants of the Green Ambassador’s Training from Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand urge the World YMCA to adopt the zero net carbon by 2030 as necessary to achieve maximum warming of 1.5C. Setting this significant high standard affirms YMCA’s care for the ecology of the planet, the alleviation of people’s suffering and preservation of human dignity.

We firmly believe that our right to healthy environment, water and sanitation, food, health, self-determination, culture, and development are at stake due to impacts of climate crisis. Each of us has witnessed how the human-induced climate change has cost economic disruption and loss of human lives. In particular, the most vulnerable communities, who are least responsible for climate change are the ones most seriously impacted. Poverty, hunger, grief, anxiety, mass migration among other manifestations of inequality are impacts the of climate crisis. Thus, we also call for the YMCAs to include the dimension of climate justice in its efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. Similarly, this call is anchored on our mission to work in solidarity with the poor, dispossessed, uprooted people, and oppressed racial, religious, and ethnic minorities.


Urgent Actions

We therefore call for each YMCA to accelerate its response to the climate crisis through the adoption of the following:

Greener Lifestyle (Individual commitment)

• Commit to change mindset and behaviour to environmentally friendly and low carbon lifestyle

Greener YMCA (Organizational commitment)

  • Commitment to zero net carbon by 2030
  • Develop YMCA Green policy
  • Find resources to upgrade facility leading to less carbon emissions
  • Engage in green management such as procurement and consumption
  • Sustainable practices for all programs and activities and Zero waste policy
  • Declare YMCA Organisationally Determined Contributions (ODC) towards zero net carbon
  • Promote Green Economy with responsible and transparent business models
  • Practice Eco-ethical investments and YMCA Green Fund to support mitigation and adaptation projects
  • Invest in climate change education and awareness raising, capacity building, training, particularly of youth; and youth-led projects

Greener Community

  • Strengthen partnership and networking with communities, schools, civil society organizations and local governments on education and capacity building that promotes climate change mitigation and adaptation programs
  • Dialogue with governments, other institutions, and organizations for green policy that reinforces human rights, transparency and accountability


To accelerate our actions, we suggest the use of all available platforms, that use both traditional and advanced technology, to increase awareness and education, build skills and capacity, mobilize resources, strengthen partnership, effectively manage and implement programs, and advocate for sustainability policies.

The face of the suffering

We conclude this statement with the story we learned from the training. It is a story of a young girl from the Philippines, who was 18 years old when typhoon Washi in 2011 claimed the lives of her parents. She was left with the responsibility to take care of her two (2) younger siblings. The typhoon greatly affected her that she had to give up her teenage life and had to stop her education to support the family. At a young age, she became the parent, elder sister and breadwinner all at the same time. In 2018, she testified in the Commission on Human Rights to hold the carbon majors (referred to as companies that are climate polluters) accountable in the human rights violation arising from the climate change. The story is just one of the many faces of people’s suffering. We are in solidarity with the suffering to claim the rights to live in a healthy environment and safe climate. We believe that today is the time to act because today is our future.