A group of young people from the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) is ready to take action.
At a virtual training on 4 October of the APAY Green Ambassadors, more than 60 participants discussed youth-led sustainability solutions as the YMCA pledges to become a greener movement. This meeting was the 10th anniversary of the Green Ambassadors programme, which focuses on ecology and environmental protection. Răzvan-Victor Sassu, Head of Strategy & Policy for World YMCA, shared information and guided conversation around A Sustainable Planet, the third pillar of YMCA Vision 2030.
“Climate change is real and is starting to affect each of us more and more every day”, he said. “Through YMCA Vision 2030, we are saying collectively that it’s time to act, but it’s also time to practise what we preach. And the Green Ambassadors from APAY are clearly ready to take meaningful action in the right direction”.
A Sustainable Planet
At the 20th World Council in July 2022, “we made history together and adopted YMCA Vision 2030 – our first global collective strategy”, Răzvan said. YMCAs worldwide will focus on four pillars – Community Wellbeing; Meaningful Work; A Sustainable Planet; and A Just World – to fulfil the collective mission of empowering young people and communities worldwide to build a world where every person can thrive.
The Green Ambassadors focused on the third pillar – A Sustainable Planet – and closely examined the three main goals:
- Internal YMCA Transformation
- The YMCA will take steps towards becoming a climate-neutral Movement, building a roadmap that will allow all YMCAs to make measurable and meaningful progress in their policies and practices based on local realities.
- Community Empowerment
- The YMCA Movement inspires its members, staff, volunteers and community stakeholders to practice and champion environmental responsibility while also integrating climate education components for young people and communities in its programmes worldwide.
- Global Advocacy
- The YMCA will champion global solutions and policies to support a Just Transition to a Green Economy, making sure no one is left behind as everyone works together towards the regeneration and protection of our Planet.
The work begins at the YMCA level with actions such as connecting future leaders for climate initiatives or incentivising organisations to make sustainable choices. Those steps lead to a community with less air and water pollution and where children are well fed and nourished. Ultimately, the impact of those actions is realised globally.
As the ambassadors discussed, there are steps everyone can take now. Those include:
- Embedding Vision 2030 in your YMCA’s strategy
- Sharing YMCA Vision 2030 with colleagues
- Organising Vision 2030 workshops inside your YMCA
- Collecting data and sharing stories of impact locally and with World YMCA