Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Malaysian Youths are speaking up for the Planet

A big KUDOS to our very own brand of young warriors in green armour.... way to go guys! May your efforts be rewarded soon and we can all live in a cleaner and safer environment!!

Source of article: The Sunday Star dated 30th November, 2009.
Link : http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2009/12/1/lifefocus/4244459&sec=lifefocus

Malaysian youth is fighting for justice – justice for the climate, that is.

ON Oct 24, more than 100 Malaysian youths appeared seemingly out of nowhere at the Suria KLCC and Pavilion shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur and started dancing and chanting: “Oh, it’s hot in here. There’s too much carbon in the atmosphere!”, to the amusement of thousands of tourists and shoppers. They did this for about a minute, then quickly dispersed just as suddenly as they had arrived.

What was that all about? It was the MyCJN-350 Dance for the Planet event, held to mark International Day of Climate Action. The youths are members of the Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network (MyCJN), a group that is determined to have its say on the well-being of the planet that they will inherit.

MyCJN was formed in June by five young people: Tam Kar Lye Tam, Lalitha Muthusamy, Khairun Nisa Mohamed Zabidi, Emily Chan Li Yu, and Adrian Yeo. Rather than an actual organisation, MyCJN is a network of environmentally concerned youths. While some of the founders remain actively involved in MyCJN activities, they are neither the movement’s “committee” nor leaders (in fact, only two of them are in Malaysia at this present time).

The group thrives on being a decentralised network of people who come together during projects, and relies heavily on the Internet to spread their message and get members. A good measure of how large a “membership” they currently have is their Facebook page – they currently have more than 1,100 members, and the number is growing each day.

MyCJN is not an organisation per se where one applies to be a member. It is more a network of like-minded people, and is meant to be a platform for young people to engage each other,” said Gan Pei Ling, 22, a student of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Environmental management graduate Leong Shen Nyan, 24, concurred. “It is a very interest-based network of people who are just interested in doing their part for the environment. If you want to run an environment project, all you have to do is announce it on the network to ask for help in getting manpower and resources.”

These projects can be anything, ranging from Gan’s October initiative of writing letters to Cabinet members urging them to act on climate change proposal, to the Dance for the Planet event and in the case of Chironjit Das (better known as Ron), flying to Bangkok to attend a United Nations conference on climate change.

“The purpose of the Bangkok trip was to connect with other like-minded youth from around the world, as well as the Malaysian delegation. We also wanted to find out what Malaysia’s role and stand on climate change is,” said Ron, 22.

MyCJN also helped organise a series of Conversations on Climate in August to provoke thoughts on the issue, and the Environmental Sustainability Leadership Symposium 2009 that guided 39 youths on green leadership.


MyCJN is part of the Global Youth Climate Justice movement, which has a six-month action plan leading up to the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen next week. One of the MyCJN founding member, Adrian Yeo, is already in Copenhagen to aid youth initiatives and plan a conference for youth.

Gan and nine others will also be heading for Copenhagen as part of the Global Youth Climate Justice Network, through funding from the US Embassy and WWF.

Yeo is convinced that the youth can make a difference in efforts to heal the climate. “Our presence at the conference is of utmost importance. We need to show that we know the science, and that we are directly affected by the deal that world leaders are signing on to. They need to be reminded that all of us are someone’s son or daughter, and keep in mind the sustainability of our future,” he said via e-mail.

But will the elders in charge of the country and the world listen to a bunch of kids dancing and chanting in the streets? Well, considering the fact that MyCJN is only about six months old, it has got its voice heard.

“The Selangor Government recently invited us to attend the draft meeting for the Selangor Environmental Draft,” said Ron.

They were not taken seriously at the beginning, said Ron. “When we met the Malaysian delegation, they were very dismissive of us initially. You could see it in their faces. But in the end, many of them were impressed with us, as we knew our facts and were serious about what we were doing.”

While tangible change is still elusive at this stage, the progress that MyCJN has had so far bodes well for the organisation.

“We are building the foundation and getting the word out that we are a group of young people who wants to be heard,” said Leong.

“The whole idea of MyCJN is to empower Malaysian youths to take action. Our focus is to ensure the youth has a voice because if we don’t do something now, we will be the ones suffering the consequences in future,” Ron added.

Well, if the flash dance mob on Oct 24 is anything to go by, they certainly have gained attention. Sure, it’s just a lot of noise right now but give these young people some time. The future is theirs after all.

> For more on MyCJN: info@mycjn. org, www.mycjn.org, twitter.com/ mycjn, youtube.com/MYCJN and (facebook) MYCJN – Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network.

No comments: