Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 November 2021 16:53)

Today is the time; today is our Future!

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

“Today is the time; today is our future! We urge the World YMCA to adopt the zero net carbon by 2030 as necessary to achieve maximum warming of 1.5-degree Celsius.”

-Participants, APAY Green Ambassador’s Training, October 2021


The 80 participants of the recently concluded APAY Green Ambassador’s Virtual 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 1.5 degree Celsius. 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.

The environmental risks that affect many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe are echoed by the participants 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. 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 is done today determines the future!

This demand for urgent climate action is rooted from YMCA 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 generation’. Moreover, the participants firmly believe that it is their right to healthy environment, water and sanitation, food, health, self-determination, culture, and development that are at stake due to impacts of climate crisis. Each of them affirmed 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, the participants also call for the YMCAs to include the dimension of climate justice in its efforts to mitigate the climate crisis as this call is also anchored on the YMCA mission of working in solidarity with the poor, dispossessed, uprooted people, and oppressed racial, religious, and ethnic minorities.

As their contribution to the urgent call to action, the participants presented three (3) focus areas that would merit each YMCA’s effort to accelerate its response to the climate crisis. These include adoption of ‘Greener Lifestyle’ as an individual level of commitment; ‘Greener YMCA’ as an organizational level of commitment; and ‘Greener Community’ as a societal level of partnership and alliances. In each focus area, the participants also identified specific actions to take. (For complete information please refer to the ‘Today is the time; today is our future!; APAY Green Ambassadors Demand Urgent Climate Action’ statement paper.)

The training

The Green Ambassador’s Training is an annual program of APAY that is aimed to educate YMCA staff, leaders, volunteers and youth about climate change and its impact to people and communities. It was also designed to create a platform to reflect on personal and organizational practices that could bring about behavioural changes and interest in advocacy for eco-justice. In relation to COP26 goals, this training was specifically keen to engage participants in dialogue on enhancing ‘Green Ambassadors’ capacity for environment and climate change action to secure net zero by 2030 to keep global temperature of 1.5 degrees within reach.

The virtual event with the theme, ‘Working Together to Combat Climate Change: A Path to and Beyond COP26’ was participated young staff, volunteers and leaders including YMCA Executive staff from the YMCAs in Asia and Pacific region. Some networks related to YMCA work on Climate Change and Environment such as schools also joined the program.

As part of the continued commitment to strengthen Green Movement in the region and to work together in attaining the COP26 goals, the training included panel presentations, case studies, and small group discussion on the following areas of learning:


-Maria Cristina L. Miranda, Executive Secretary