Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Green Ambassadors Training 2012

A Brief Report of the 
Green Ambassadors Training
held on 21- 25 May 2012, Chiangmai,Thailand

The Green Ambassadors Training, held during 21-25 May 2012, in Chiangmai Thailand organized by the APAY Green Team was a grand success. Fifteen participants representing National Movements of Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka & Thailand attended the Training Workshop.

The Training Workshop started with an Opening Worship lead by  Dr. Hope Antone, a Faculty Member of Payap University, Chiangmai. In her reflection she related to the Creation Story in Genesis and explained how we have misinterpreted it to plunder the earth and other living beings.

Dr. Ms. Patcharawan Srisilapanan, Vice President of the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs in her inaugural speech welcomed all the participants at Chiangmai and also urged them to devote themselves for the cause of restoration of the environment and ecology. Mr. Kohei Yamada also greeted the participants and urged them to form Green Teams in their own YMCAs and in order to work towards environmental projection.

The key note paper ‘Global Warming and Climate Change’ was presented by Dr. Wasan Jompakdee, Faculty Member of Chiangmai University. He elaborated the scientific facts & figures of global warming and the reasons of climate change. He also shared the global endeavor to protect the environment and explained that how we could involve ourselves to do more green activities to reduce our own carbon footprints.

The responses of the YMCAs to protect the environment were discussed and some good practices of our YMCAs were presented as case studies. The Chiangmai YMCA’s various environmental program, especially the Environmental Program & Energy Learning  Center, the practice of Green Hotel were explained to the participants.

Mr. Ley Man Key from the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, shared about their new environmental program ‘Project Zero’ with the participants, the objective of this program is to transform the Wu Kwai Sha YMCA Youth Village to a zero carbon emission center, adopting on renewable energy and energy saving appliances to run the Youth Center. This was an ambitious project with an investment of millions of dollars. Ms. Kai Yu Wong, from the YMCA of Hong Kong shared their organic farming project.  Mr. Colin Lambie from the Australian YMCA, shared with us about the YMCA Camp Wyuna, at Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia as a case study, which adopted the use of energy efficient appliances and rain water harvesting. A grand welcome dinner was hosted by Chiangmai YMCA on the evening of 22 May where the Honorable Board Members of Chiangmai YMCA were present.

A series of field exposures were arranged as a part of the training program for the participants to have a practical knowledge of environmental activities. The participants visited the Environment & Energy Learning Center of Saohin YMCA, this center is led by Ms. Patcharin Aviphan. The participants had the firsthand experience in various types of energy sources, their merits and demerits in terms of energy consumption. They also had the opportunity to experience the usage of solar energy for cooking and electricity generation.

The participants visited The Prince Royal College, an ideal green school with a host of green activities and experienced their sensitivity towards the environment and ecology.

The biogas project of Chiangmai YMCA was a learning experience. The Chiangmai YMCA helped the farmers of the dairy farm to install biogas plants, which took care of the fuel for cooking at their homes, such saving the fossil fuels.

Three local schools had set up makeshift exhibition centers in the premises of the venue to share with us their environmental activities; this was a learning experience for us and shall inspire our participants to form similar green schools in their own localities.

Mr. Colin Lambie, explained the participants the terminologies of energy units and the consumption behaviours of various power appliances. He also discussed about various energy saving appliances and their cost benefit. The main topic was the energy consumption of our own YMCAs and the volume of carbon foot print we were creating for this. The participants were involved in practical exercises to estimate the carbon emissions of the YMCA through the use of online carbon calculator.

During the final sessions the participants laid down the terms of reference of Green Teams to be formed in their local YMCAs and also at the National Level. They also defined the objectives of the Green Teams. Sub Regional Plans were also worked out, which shall be materialized during the current quadrennial.

The Training Program concluded in the afternoon of May 25 at a simple Closing Ceremony, where the participants committed to work as green ambassadors in their own local YMCAs and actively work towards promotion of green activities and encourage others to involve themselves in green activities to make this world a better place to live in. Certificates were awarded to the participants.

The training program was facilitated by Ms. Patcharin Aviphan, Mr. Colin Lambie and Mr. Duncan Chowdhury. We would like to mention that the cost of the Training Program was met by APAY Green Fund and partially by the Y’s Men International. We thank them for their kind contribution. We also thank all the staff members of Chiangmai YMCA for their relentless effort for hosting this program. 

Duncan Chowdhury
Executive Secretary for Programmes
Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

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