A group of students is taking action on climate change, writes Miranda Yeung
Last month Kurt Chan Yuk-pui, 18, spent a week in London. But unlike most visitors to the city, who hope to catch a glimpse of the Queen and visit ancient buildings, Kurt was there to persuade global governments to tackle climate change.
The Form Six student from Buddhist Sum Heung Lam Memorial College in Tuen Mun is one of the 39 International Climate Champions (ICC) from 13 countries around the globe. They are all high school students aged between 16 and 18 who demonstrate determination to curb climate change.
Kurt won the Hong Kong champion title by entering the Climate Change - What Can We Do? school project competition co-organised by the British Council and the government's Science in the Public Service.
His project showed how climate change affects Hong Kong and the Pearl Delta, supported with data collected by him and his teammates in Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Organised by the British Council, the ICC programme aims to get young people involved in taking action on climate change.
The advocates met in London to prepare three statements which capture the hopes and concerns of their generation in regard to climate change. Young people from around the world are invited to vote for their favourite, which will be presented as the 'Kobe Challenge' at the G8+5 Summit in Kobe, Japan, next month.
'It was an inspiring encounter,' says Kurt of the trip. 'We identified what environmental problems we're facing in our countries. The other two Chinese advocates - from Beijing and Chongqing - and I spoke of the seriousness of air pollution and the spread of disease due to rising temperatures in China.
'One Brazilian student pointed out how poverty hinders sustainable development. But we recognised that the melting ice caps were the most serious problem - many advocates have witnessed the effect of the melting ice caps in their countries.'
Back in Hong Kong, Kurt's task is to tell as many students as he can about the Kobe Challenge. He'll begin spreading the word by giving a talk in assembly about his trip.
'Hong Kong students are aware of climate change, but they lack the drive to save the environment. I think the hardest notion for them is rejecting the consumer culture. Here, people don't just spend on basic necessities, but luxuries,' says Kurt.
'Now I ask myself if I really need something before I buy it. I hope my efforts can gradually persuade others to turn their awareness into action.'