With the intention of promoting climate change awareness, the British Council holds the International Climate Champion Program in over 60 countries, including Nepal, annually.
As the competition grows every year, the youth of Nepal are being taught by their peers and taking initiative to improve the situation in the country.
According to the British Council website (britishcouncil.org), “Champions are young people who share a passionate interest in climate change and who want to make a difference.
Champions vary in age in different countries but are aged between 11 and 35 years.”
“We help them develop and implement projects within their local communities that raise awareness of climate change, limit the impact of climate change (adaptation), and reduce carbon footprint (mitigation).
Champions work with other young people around the globe to share and develop their ideas through a networking site and other discussion forums,” the website further states.
In Nepal, the champions have proven to be worthy of the title.
In an event held on Saturday, Sailendra Dongol, International Climate Champion 2010/2011, gathered college students as well as previous champions to discuss the topic of climate change.
Concerning the event entitled ‘College Climate Corps (CCC)’, Dongol says, “We’re trying to make this a model project.
The point is to train 10 students from each college so that they can educate other students and their community.” Dongol, who is also the president of Youth Engagement in Sustainability Nepal ( YES), incorporated his CCC project with the organization.
“Prior to this we were speaking to individual colleges, but this event is the first joint workshop,” he said. Approximately 40 college students from four colleges were present on the occasion.
He also has plans of conducting more joint workshops for other colleges in the valley.
The workshop itself was spread out over the day and covered various topics.
The students were given presentations about the basics of climate change, climate neutrality, gender and climate change, advocacy and campaigning, re-resourcing: alternative and challenges and environment communications.
Two of the six presenters at the event were also International Climate Champions from 2009/2010.
Sundar Layalu, who is currently a certified carbon auditor, spoke on carbon footprints. “People are not conscious of their carbon footprint,” he said citing a study he carried out on Nepal’s CA members which reveals that the parliamentarians have higher carbon footprint than the average American.
Layalu emphasizes that the issue isn’t just about bringing awareness on carbon footprints and the harm we do to the environment but also being able to counteract it.
“The solution isn’t to just plant trees - that takes time and you can’t guarantee the plant will survive so a better option for Nepal is to adopt a tree,” he says. Layalu has plans to launch an adopt-a-tree-program in April/May of this year which will call for a halt to cutting down the trees that we currently have.
Addressing another climate related issue was Niraj Tamrakar of Tourism Development Endeavors (TUDE). Tamrakar’s focus was on mountains and our responsibility. “So far people have few little information regarding mountains so everything is relatively new to them.
Most people are unaware of mountain issues,” he says.
Tamrakar, who has been working for this cause for a few years, says, “Advocating for this was hard before, but now having the title of International Climate Champion, it has paved the way and so the campaigning has become a bigger success.
” By partnering with the International Climate Champion network as well as YES and various social media, Tamrakar says he has been trying to focus on Nepal’s mountains.
“The British Council and our partners support the Champions by providing training and skills- building in project management and communication,” states the website says, adding, “We help Champions to develop their own knowledge about climate change and their project ideas by offering inspirational visits to people and organizations already working in this field.
“The champions in Nepal are the evidence that this program can succeed and how the youth of Kathmandu are becoming more aware of and involved in climate change issues,” he added.
(Source: The Republica Nepal)