Arunee Dejdamrongsakkul is a secondary school student at Suksanari School in Bangkok, Thailand, who has worked on environment and energy issues for several years, an interest, which was spurred by an event organized by the National Energy Policy Office in 1997. She had to research the issues for an exhibition at her school, and then had the opportunity to become a member of a group of 900 upper secondary school students working on energy efficiency issues, which is called "Divide by Two".
Arunee has participated in nine energy campaigns in this group, and has since set up a group of 160 students called The Earth Club in her school to work on energy efficiency issues. She is the president of this group whose activities include participating in National Energy Policy Office competitions. The group has won funding from these competitions to run more activities in the school. The Earth Club has run an environment and energy radio programme twice a week since February 1999, and in December of that same year, a magazine was launched to which Arunee contributes a regular column - approximately 3,000 students read this magazine. The group also participated in events to promote a National Car Free Day on 22 September 2000 in Thailand.
Arunee has also been involved in projects in 20 neighboring schools, often acting as a resource person to help other students understand the issues. Through her personal commitment and enthusiasm, she has been a role model, and students at her school and other schools have become more knowledgeable about the environment, and energy issues in particular, through practical projects and team working. Arunee has made a valuable contribution to the promotion of environmental issues in Thailand.
Evergreen Club of Ghana
Evergreen Club of Ghana (ECOG) was founded in 1987 as a voluntary children's club with the aim of beautifying school compounds. Today, ECOG is a national non-governmental organization working with youth groups and children and with a grand mission to include adults in a unique partnership for environmental protection.
Through classroom presentations, interactive demonstrations and practical exercises, ECOG encourages the young to learn about the importance of conservation and the role they can play.
ECOG has members in all regions in the country and works with a number of government institutions, local NGOs and international organizations. ECOG was involved in the preparation of Ghana's environmental plan of action (1991 and 1994), and organized the first National Youth and Children's Forum on Environment for the Earth Summit (1992). In the same year, it produced and launched the first recording album on the environment.
Every year since 1992, it has undertaken national environmental awareness campaigns and since 1994, it has involved a number of young people in forestry projects. In 1997 and 2000, it organized the first and second national conference on forest management for youth. In 1993, 1994 and 1995, members of ECOG participated in international leadership programmes for youth and children in Geneva and the United States of America, and in 1997, they participated in the Africa Regional Meeting of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development in Cameroon. In 2000, ECOG was a participant in the Youth Forum at the International Conference on Climate Change in The Hague.
The organization also publishes Evergreen News a newsletter on environment and sustainable development. ECOG was the winner of the National Forestry Week competition in 1996.
Jose Marti Pioneer Organization
The Jose Marti Pioneer Organization, established in 1961, is a volunteer organization through which more than one and a half million young Cubans undertake environmental protection activities. Some of its 278 activities include: avoiding fires in forests and meadowlands through environmental education in schools; ensuring that bonfires are extinguished correctly; participation in the creation of medicinal and fruit tree nurseries to create new forests; organization of World Environment Day (WED) activities; sending environmental protection messages through the mass media; preparation of audio-visual materials on the environment for all Cuban schools; production of the weekly "Be up-to-date" news programme; and the design of an educational programme on conservation for schools.
In 1992, the Pioneers initiated a movement whereby a number of activities are undertaken including the clean up of schools, parks, monuments, forests, rivers and seas, as well as recycling efforts. Every year on WED, half a million Pioneers participate in a national campaign to promote environmental protection. Pioneers have developed painting, song and writing contests on the environment in schools, and for one month every year, Pioneers in Secondary Schools participate in agricultural activities, such as the cultivation of crops and the cleaning of fields. Secondary School Pioneers also participate in various environmental clubs with different themes, such as Friends of Nature (9,421 members), The Animals and Me (7,396 members) and The Lungs of My City (5,683 members).
The Pioneers have created didactic games, which offer solutions to environmental problems and help enhance the environmental vocabulary of eight year-olds. The organization also produces a number of publications on environmental conservation.
Khohlooa, Matholoana and Lesotho Herdboys
The Khohlooa, Matholoana and Likobo Herdboys are groups of herders in village communities in Thupa-Kubu, Berea District in Lesotho. Though a disadvantaged group of Basotho society, they are the day-to-day managers of the environment.
Their involvement in natural resource management has come about as a result of their concern over the limited supply of forage in grazing areas in their villages, which has resulted in poor livestock yields. The herders have carried out simple soil and water conservation measures, such as the building of silt traps and the planting of Kikuyu grass to reclaim dongas. They also keep bees for honey-producing purposes in their respective areas.
While herding, they have prepared 7,000 holes to plant trees for fuelwood and shade, and, to date, they have managed to plant 1,300 seedlings. They have also built a dam to collect water for their animals and to irrigate fodder and vegetables. In 1998, they motivated herders from 21 villages to undertake soil and water conservation activities.
Thanks to the efforts of the Herdboys, there is less trespassing on pasture-land, fewer quarrels over communal grazing areas, and the burning of village grazing spaces has been reduced.
During the course of his life, Jean-Dominic Levesque-Rene has seen his share of battles, first with his own cancer and then on another front, as a one-kid environmental crusade. At the age of 10, Jean-Dominic began his fight to ban the use of pesticides, at the same time he started chemotherapy treatment for a cancer of the immune system. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer he believes was caused as a result of early childhood exposure to pesticides.
He grew up in Ile Bizard, where golf courses make up about half of the town's landmass. Keeping the fairways immaculate requires the use of a huge quantity of pesticides. He organized a group of children and picketed City Hall demanding a ban on pesticides. He has worked tirelessly by lobbying various levels of government through petitions (he received 4,000 letters and gathered 15,000 signatures), letter writing, briefings, speeches and conferences.
His actions have generated tremendous awareness about environmental and human health hazards of pesticide use, especially its affects on children's health. His efforts have resulted in many municipalities across Canada enacting by-laws to ban pesticides. In May 2000, the Federal House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development recommended a ban on pesticides for cosmetic purposes.
Jean-Dominic has made presentations before national and international fora on public health and environmental protection. In May 2000, he spoke before a panel of delegates from Canada, the United States of America and Mexico at a conference organized by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, under the auspices of NAFTA. His recommendations on children's health and the environment were accepted by the Committee. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Terry Fox award for environmental activism (1995), the Canadian Order of Youth, the country's highest honour (1995), the Federal Department of the Environment Canadian Health Environment Award (1996), and the Quebec Provincial Government Phoenix Environmental Youth Awareness Prize (1998).
Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam (YAWA)
Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam (YAWA), or Children's Environmental Heritage Foundation, is an organization committed to changing young people's attitudes towards the environment. Set up in 1990 as the Junior Environmental Group of Malaysia, it is now a registered foundation dedicated to instilling environmental awareness in young people through thought-provoking, fun-filled activities.
YAWA has formed a global link with environmental groups in Australia, Sweden, Angola, India, the Philippines,South Africa, Japan, China, Thailand and Indonesia. Through an interactive web-site, called,www.myonlyplanet.org, YAWA has initiated a communications network called South-east Asian Environmental Network, (SEAYEN) for youths and environmental NGOs in this region. The objective of this network is for young people to work seriously together on trans-boundary issues on air-pollution, sea pollution, forest fire, animal smuggling and illegal logging. A training programme, called Eco-volunteer Training Certificate, EVTC, has been designed for young people. It hopes to instill a sense of deeper understanding of environmental degradation we are facing together and to take positive action.
At local level, it has organized more than 150 activities, from saving sea turtles, air-watch, beach and lake clean up exercises, tree planting to helping children express their environmental concerns through art. YAWA organizes eco-camps for children in the village and children with special needs to help them better understand the ecosystems. It has produced postcards to ‘Spread the Message to Share the Planet’. Children’s messages and expressions can be viewed on, yawamalaysia.org YAWA is working with other NGO on a long term river-care project in Kuala Lumpur.
Abroad, YAWA has taken part in a number of UNEP international children’s conferences, Leave It to Us and TUNZA. They participated in painting the longest mural in the UK in 2000. In 1995, several members of the Foundation attended the first UNEP International Children's Conference on the Environment in Britain. Inspired by that meeting, YAWA organized its own international conferences, bringing together children form aroundMalaysia and the world to discuss important green issues.
The first conference, entitled ‘Sustain Today for Tomorrow’, was held in 1996 at the Forestry Institute in Kuala Lumpur where delegates learned that it takes millions of years for a rainforest to develop its amazing biodiversity and just minutes to wipe it out. In 1998, the year Malaysia faced a water shortage crisis, the second conference was held in Marang, which taught delegates that water is not as limitless as it seems. In 2000, the 3rd conference, held in Ampang Pecah studied the problems of air-pollution. Its 4th conference was held in Melaka as it focused on protection and conservation of our ‘Heritage’.
YAWA 5th conference in December 2004, looks at the sea issues and how to ‘Save the Seas Around Us’, as its theme.
Juventude Ecologica Angolana (JEA)
Juventude Ecologica Angolana (JEA) is an environmental NGO founded in 1991 by a group of young Angolan activists. Despite the difficult conditions brought about by decades of war and limited resources, these young people have shown a great deal of enthusiasm and personal commitment, thus helping JEA become a leading environmental force in the country.
JEA, whose aim is to promote environmental education and awareness among young people is active, not only in the Capital Luanda, but also in numerous provinces. Some of JEA's achievements include: the Environmental Olympics, which promotes environmental education in high schools, involves some 2000 youth in 40 schools in Luanda and 500 youth in 10 schools in Huila Province; the production of environmental radio programmes in Luanda initiated, edited and presented by JEA, including one on National Radio and five in other provinces; the distribution of environmental information; and the promotion of environmental awareness through regular columns in newspapers, such as Journal of Angola, Actual, Humbi-Humbi and JEA's own newspaper Little Green.
JEA works closely with the Government of Angola and primarily the Ministry of Fisheries and Environment. JEA assists in the implementation of national environmental awareness and education campaigns. JEA has initiated the creation of an association comprising all Angolan environmental NGOs in an effort to enhance collaboration and communication between associations, which share a mutual cause.
JEA is a member of the CEC Commission of IUCN and the Environmental Education Association of South Africa, and works within the framework of the Southern Africa Development Community for environmental education and capacity-building.
Eco-Walk Children of Baguio City
Eco-Walk Children of Baguio City in the Philippines, established in 1992, is a series of children-oriented hikes to Busol - Baguio's main and endangered watershed. The children have turned this precious water source into a laboratory and playground for experimental learning. They have succeeded in increasing the area's forest cover and its water production.
Their visits deter tree poaching, bird hunting, fires and encroachment on natural habitats. Their example has spurred adults in the community to volunteer their time to protect the environment and has helped raise environmental awareness. Their success has also resulted in eco-walks being integrated into the curriculum of the elementary school system's grade five and six and in greater media focus on environmental issues. The teaching modules have been integrated into all the subjects to prepare children for their actual hikes and exploration of the forest, and to give them an opportunity to discuss what they have learned during their walks.
Several indigenous communities in the Cordillera Highlands, the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon, have adopted the programme to help revive their own traditional forest management systems. Eco-Walk has been replicated in other local government units (LGUs), which are drawn to the programme by its simplicity.
Eco-Walk is used by the Asian Institute of Management as a model environmental and governance case study and by the Swedish Government's 1999, 2000 and 2001 international watershed management course, which is held every January. It has also been used by the International Institute on Rural Restoration as a case study in watershed management. The Canadian International Development Agency supported and documented it in 1998 as one of six action research programmes on effective local governance in Southeast Asia, and senior Philippine environment officials plan to adopt it nationwide.
Salle Pedagogique des Zones Arides
In 1998, to increase awareness of local water problems, the children of the Beni Abbes' Salle Pedagogique des Zones Arides in the southwest of the Algerian Sahara decided to carry out a survey on the problems of water and its management within households. The target group consisted of 500 families in Beni Abbes.
The results of the survey showed that there was significant wastage, with wastewater disposed of untreated, increasing wastewater volumes and possible pollution of the groundwater. The volume of wastewater that is not reused can be subtracted directly from the amount of spring water available for irrigation. When they assessed the results of the survey, these young people were led to think about the health risks from an increase in waterborne diseases from polluted water. With their teachers' backing, they decided to set up a small experimental lagoon system.
In December 1999, this was carried out with assistance from the Popular Communal Assembly, which enabled a water engineer to participate. The neighbouring 'fellahin', who saw production in their plots increase, became partners in the project. When faced with problems in cleaning out the first basin, the young people succeeded in raising the awareness of the people whose wastewater was going into it so that they selectively screened out oils. A film Nest of Nurseries was shot telling the story of how the lagoon system was born, in the context of preparations for the international exhibition in Hanover, Germany with the help of ENTV (Algerian Television).
The children passed on the message that saving water is vital. Feedback has been set up between the young people and the families surveyed, which has enhanced the value of the club. The need for co-operation with all social partners has been taken on board. In 2002, the lagoon system was a focus for public awareness raising and information for the people of Beni Abbes and for schools in neighbouring oases.