“YMCA Think Green, Act Green, Go Green”

Date: 24 May 2013

Sixteen young people from 9 YMCAs of the Asia and Pacific Alliance recently completed the green ambassadors training in Hong Kong at the Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village. More than a simple training, this gathering provided the space for the Young people to be transformed at an individual level and be equipped to have impact in their communities in promoting Green activities and sustainable lifestyles.

It is the second event at that level organized by the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, APAY. The first one took place in Chiangmai, Thailand, in 2012.  So far there are 26 young green ambassadors trained in the Region  

By the end of their training the Green Ambassadors have developed a better understanding of the rapid climate change  which is being exacerbated by the excessive emission of greenhouse gases resulting from human activities.  The ambassadors also committed themselves to advocate that their YMCAs continuously strives to educate the people of their communities to be carbon conscious and that the YMCA act as a role model for adopting environmentally friendly actions and policies.

 At an individual level the green ambassadors decided to do the following:

•    Install solar energy system
•    Use own bags and water containers
•    Walk to work or shops
•    Use energy saver light globes
•    Not to eat meat on Mondays
•    Be role model as Green Ambassador
•    No use of disposable items

YMCAs of APAY were invited to consider the following actions:  

•    Form Green Team
•    Run seminars on environmental issues for colleagues, members and public
•    Replace high energy equipment with more efficient equipment
•    Establish research team
•    Undertake energy and carbon audits
•    Reduce consumption: electricity, water, gas, etc
•    Use less disposable products
•    Promote green awareness; posters, energy saving stickers, etc
•    Recycle: paper, plastic, metal, food waste, etc
•    Reinforce tree planting programs
•    Promote and Install solar energy systems
•    Create green ambassador fund
•    Share experience with other Green Teams, National Green Team, APAY Green Team

APAY, the regional body has engaged environmental mentors, who are members of the APAY Green Team, to guide and assist the Green Ambassadors in delivering various Green Activities in their own countries. There are now plans to hold Green Ambassadors Trainings at a National Level in several countries as a follow up program, so that a large number of youth could be involved in this program.