Myanmar Youths are Shouldering Climate Responsibility

Ling Huang is telling us how the world can help

‘It is not too late to address climate change, to maintain and conserve the environment. It is one of the advantages of our generations.’ — Ling Huang, National Delegate of Myanmar

Ling enthusiastically talked about how youth can seize the opportunity to take part in UN REDD+ program in conserving forest to address climate change. He also has a lot of hope in technical advancement such as recycling machines, solar system replacing petrol and gas consumption, only with enough support from government. Couldn’t we still ignore climate change and leave to the next generations again?

LH: Ling Huang CK: Candy Ko (Youth Organising Committee, APS15)

CK: Hi Ling, how do you first get to know the existence of climate change? any particular events involved in course?

LH: My study and more so, my own experience. I came from the remote area north western part of Myanmar, almost all of the people earn their livelihoods through agriculture, mainly rotational farming. Particularly, from last two decades, due to decreasing of rainy season (the coming of monsoon rain is late and the rain stop early) the crops were not fertilized enough and harvested insufficiently. From late 2006, rat infestation was taken place in upland areas due to the blossom of bamboo, in many areas, all of the crops were destroyed by rats resulted in food shortage. Because of climate change, many of the people in Myanmar are under food insecurity. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit the central low land and delta area of Myanmar and about 130,000 were dead and there was great destruction on infrastructure, buildings and cultivation that has not been before in Myanmar. After that the temperature was getting rise in low land areas and recently people talk about that there is only two season (hot season and rainy season) in Myanmar even though there were three seasons hot season, rainy season and cold season. The experience from one of the community is that a stream flew in last decades but owing to deforestation caused by illegal logging and extraction of the teak trees, now the stream is dried in the hot season.

CK: What are the reasons you think that cause climate change?

LH: There are many reasons causing climate change. The main one is the greenhouse gas emission made by human beings such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases etc. On the other hand, it is due to overexploitation of human beings on natural resources without sustainable management. Greenhouse gas emitted from human activities such as transportation, industries, agriculture, energy supply, forestry and waste water. Deforestation is one of the most important part of climate change. Due to deforestation, carbon dioxide emitted and trees which absorb carbon dioxide are lost. I’d say greenhouse gas emission, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and loss of ecosystem cause global warming and climate change.

CK: Why do you want to address climate change issues?

LH: Without welfare of the environment, all the living things cannot survive on the planet and it is not safe. Human beings are consuming and extracting the natural resources and using the resources unethically, creating accumulation of wealth for a little population. How the people are consuming and extracting natural resources is beyond the planet can provide. Climate change is effecting to social, economic and security of the people. Without addressing climate change in present, our planet is going to be destroyed and new generations will suffer a lot climate change impacts. The most vulnerable persons of the impacts of climate change are the poor as experienced in my community.

CK: What have you been doing since you decided to make a difference?

LH: In addressing climate change, I have worked on plastic campaign in villages and one of the small town called Kanpetlet in Chin State, in Myanmar, and conducted training on the value of trees, the impact of plastic, global warming and climate change in the villages in Kanpetlet township. Recently, I am conserving the streams and primary forest previously planted in Kanpetlet.

CK: How do you talk to layman about the urgency of climate change?

LH: It is better to make them examine the changes and events in their respective areas. In Myanmar context, it is better to lead people think about what kind of changes is happening recently such as temperature rising, the infertility of crops and other natural disasters. Understanding how climate change affects daily living helps people realise what is climate change. Then we can start to talk about the cause behind.

CK: Ling, you have mentioned the importance of government to encourage and engage the community to address climate change. How to do that and in your opinion, what else do you expect the governments worldwide to do better?

LH: Education is the key. Governments need to make curriculum relate to environment from basic education to educate new generations in addressing climate change. There is also substantial need to raise public awareness because still not many people do understand climate change and what is going on.

Since reducing carbon emission is very crucial for sustainability of our planet, I expect governments to make and implement better policies and laws related to climate change, to mainstream climate change policies and laws in other sectors such as investment, mining, building dams, industry and mono plantation or agriculture, and to invest funding in addressing climate change. They all have to cooperate to make effective international strategies to reduce Global greenhouse gas emission.

CK: What about corporate and institutions?

Climate change is a global problem and it can only be addressed globally. Corporations have the means (channels) to share information about how other countries are addressing climate change with better practice, better policies and laws and also they can be powerful in empowering youth participation in climate change solutions. For institutions, it is suggested to help raise climate change advocacy to national and regional level.

CK: Do you have something to talk to your peers?

LH: It is the time, we youth have to participate in addressing climate change in the ground as well as in making policies and laws which are related to climate change such as investment, land law, and forest law etc. The participation of everyone and every sector is crucial in addressing climate change because it is impossible to address climate change TOGETHER. Youth in ASEAN countries need to participate actively to be able to generate better future.

More about Ling HUANG

Ling Huang came from the north western part of Myanmar. Master degree graduate from community development studies. He learnt about climate change from experience and his study made him realise the impact of our current decisions to the future destiny of our planet. He is now working with POINT (Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together) and very motivated to take climate actions to address the global probem.