We’ve got the power

A BRAT joins the #Pow­erShiftMsia move­ment to mit­i­gate cli­mate change

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRATS - By ROX­ANNE LOW brats@thes­tar.com.my

THE word “power” in #Pow­erShiftMsia serves as a dou­ble en­ten­dre, rep­re­sent­ing not just our en­ergy sources, but also the power of the peo­ple to ad­dress and mit­i­gate cli­mate change.

The five-day #Pow­erShiftMsia event was part of the Global Power Shift (GPS) move­ment. The first phase of the move­ment started with a sum­mit ear­lier this year in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key, where 500 young cli­mate change lead­ers from 134 coun­tries around the world gath­ered.

The sec­ond phase now in­volves get­ting those cli­mate change lead­ers to cre­ate their own power shift move­ments back in their home coun­tries.

Malaysia’s very own power shift took place ear­lier this month at a re­sort in Ka­jang, Se­lan­gor; and for this BRATs reporter, it was def­i­nitely an amaz­ing event.

All 30 par­tic­i­pants (aged 18 to 30) – in­clud­ing some from In­done­sia, Fin­land, Ghana, Nige­ria, Pak­istan and Sin­ga­pore – were en­thu­si­as­tic through­out the event, all ready to pro­mote and en­cour­age en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion.

The seven Malaysian rep­re­sen­ta­tives at GPS worked be­tween their busy sched­ules with 40 ded­i­cated young vol­un­teers to put to­gether #Pow­erShiftMsia in less than a month.

The workshop fo­cused on em­pow­er­ing young peo­ple with skills in pol­icy and gov­er­nance, dig­i­tal cam­paign­ing, cre­ative ac­tivism and me­dia. The aim by the end of the five days was to help par­tic­i­pants be­come more con­fi­dent, so they can ini­ti­ate their own cli­mate change aware­ness move­ments and cam­paigns.

Par­tic­i­pants also got the chance to meet cli­mate change lead­ers such as United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) cli­mate change ne­go­tia­tor Dr Gary W. Th­e­seira, en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist Gur­mit Singh, En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety Malaysia (EPSM) pres­i­dent Nithi Ne­sadu­rai, Eco Knights founder/ di­rec­tor Yas­min Rasyid and Ran­dom Al­pha­bets co-founder Zain HD.

One of the par­tic­i­pants, 18year-old Form Six stu­dent Jas­syla Julius, flew in from Sabah to join #Pow­erShiftMsia, hop­ing to learn how to ini­ti­ate more ef­fec­tive cam­paigns. Ever since the pro­posal of the Kaid­uan Dam in Fe­bru­ary 2008, Jas­syla and the peo­ple in her vil­lage have been us­ing all pos­si­ble meth­ods to cam­paign against the con­struc­tion.

At the mo­ment, their ef­forts have seemed fu­tile, but they have still not given up hope. They are con­tin­u­ing to fight for the hu­man rights of the Kadazan­dusun Mu­rut com­mu­nity liv­ing in the area, as well as the preser­va­tion of some of our old­est rain­forests.

The most im­por­tant mes­sage of #Pow­erShiftMsia, how­ever, is never to be dis­cour­aged by small num­bers. Ev­ery­thing has to start some­where, but it can also cre­ate a rip­ple ef­fect. Af­ter all, as Adrian Yeo, one of the or­gan­is­ers, said: “This is just the be­gin­ning.”

Guest speaker Steve McCoy added: “You, the Gen Y, are the most im­por­tant gen­er­a­tion in the his­tory of mankind, and you need to do some­thing to save this world be­cause oth­er­wise it will be too late to pick up the pieces.”

To know more about the #Pow­erShiftMsia,move­ment go to world.350.org/malaysia/.

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