WWF-Malaysia Dedicated Earth Day to Youths - the Voice of Tomorrow
Kuala Lumpur: In honor of this year’s Earth Day theme of environmental and climate literacy, WWF-Malaysia dedicated the celebration to youths. Hundreds of them came from all across Malaysia to witness their fellow friends taking the stage to speak on environmental sustainability in a session called ‘Sembang@WWF’.
Sembang@WWF is a platform for youths to speak and share their ideas on environmental issues and activities to a larger audience through storytelling. Six young conservation heroes spoke passionately on various topics from poverty, illegal wildlife trade, sun bear conservation, to mobile application that promotes sustainable actions and projects through picture and video sharing.
“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to speak on poverty – a pressing issue of our time today. I hope to build awareness on this subject and work with my friends to tackle this global issue," said one of the speakers Thevyaa a/p Manivasagan.
“Climate change is one of world’s most complex problems. People must be appropriately educated and prepared to effectively respond to this challenge. Through Sembang@WWF, we aim to build youth leaders who are fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need them to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection,” said Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director / CEO of WWF-Malaysia.
He added “Youths are the voices of tomorrow, they will be our future teachers, policy makers, voters, and will play many other important roles. The exposure should begin from now, so they will be able to make informed decisions and be willing to change their mindset and behaviours for a more sustainable future.”
The half day event at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) also saw a new partnership materialized. Recognizing that faith leaders have been a driving force behind some of the most important and successful environmental movements, WWF-Malaysia partnered with SGM to launch an animation series called When We’re Friends (WWF) with Nature.
Inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, the faith based animation series carries the message of, ‘It starts with one’ and uses the ‘Learn, Reflect, Empower’ approach which is aligned to WWF-Malaysia’s Education for Sustainable Development’s objective. The animation series was graciously launched by Tan Sri Dato Prof Dzulkifli Razak, President of the International Association of Universities and Chairperson of USIM.
“We are pleased to strategically partner with SGM and spread the knowledge on how religion promotes caring for the earth. As everyone is accountable and responsible for the environment, WWF with Nature adopts an innovative approach to educate the younger generation who are future steward of the planet. We hope this initiative will empower them to view environmental conservation from a wider perspective and become a valuable part of the community,” said Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
“Soka Gakkai Malaysia is delighted with this collaboration with WWF-Malaysia to inspire more people especially the youth to take on greater efforts in the promotion of sustainable development. President of Soka Gakkai International, Daisaku Ikeda, once mentioned in the 2017 Peace Proposal that young people and their energetic engagement represent the solution to the global challenges we face. Seeing youth as the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations toward 2030, he emphasizes that globally shared action is essential in promoting these goals,” said Mr Michael Kok, President of SGM.
Last year, an Islamic based animation series was launched by WWF-Malaysia. It marked the beginning of creating animations that are inspired from the teachings and values of the world’s major religions. The concept is ideal to reach out to the younger generation as they are more tech-savvy and are growing up in a digitally-linked world. Not only does animation make education more enjoyable, it also allows intangible phenomena such as soil erosion or food waste to be explained far more clearly with an appealing animated concept.
This initiative also contributes to the shortage of resource materials that connect religion and the environment, and provides opportunities for the younger generation to become more self-motivated and well-equipped in environmental matters. They are expected to address the environment issues based on their understanding from the religious viewpoint.
Both Sembang@WWF and the faith based animation series initiative were spearheaded by the Eco-Institutes programme in WWF-Malaysia, which aims to inspire the Teacher Education Institutes, Ministry of Education through creative curriculum implementation and pedagogical training of future teachers on sustainability. We hope teacher trainees are empowered by connecting their knowledge and skills to take action on and find solutions to environmental issues within their respective campus areas.
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For more information, please contact:
Senior Communications Officer of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-7450 3773
Manager of Eco-Institutes Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-7450 3773
Joanne Foo and Katherine Chui
Soka Gakkai Malaysia Public Relations Department
Tel: +603-9075 6876