Live Earth, Love Earth
Compiled by Mary Agnew
The Powered by Youth Forum, part of the Kids4Kids Advocates Programme, consisted of a full day of activities at Chinese International School. It focused on enabling young adults to help improve the lives of less fortunate children.
The theme of this year's forum was 'I Live Therefore I Can - Live Earth, Love Earth'. The event highlighted many ways in which young people can help with environmental issues. Here, four of our junior reporters who attended the forum recount their experiences.
It was such a great experience to participate in the workshop. Before the event, there was an introduction about environmental issues. It was shocking to discover how many environmental problems there are in Hong Kong. Our air pollution has nearly become a public health epidemic and the rubbish we throw into the ocean claims thousands of sea animals' lives every year.
I was assigned to Project O (Outreach). We discussed how to promote our Kids4Kids events. We decided we could reach more people by taking advantage of app technology. We named our app 'iHelp'. It works as a medium for people to make donations and sign up for Kids4Kids events. It can also send the latest news to subscribers. It would be a new way to raise people's awareness of issues like poverty and hunger.
I learned that being on a team is better than working alone, as everyone is different and may have different points of view.
Recently air and water quality problems have caught Hong Kong people's attention. That is why this year's forum raised awareness of environmental issues and explored how kids can help improve the situation. Students from 20 different schools took part, and we were given a real opportunity to put our ideas into action and make a difference.
In Project X, we focused on the theme of 'Exhibition'. Winning photos taken by participants aged eight to 18 will be shown in an upcoming Kids4Kids photography exhibition. Through this project, members of Project X hope to improve people's understanding about environmental issues while raising funds for Kids4Kids.
At the end of the day, all groups made their own presentations to the forum. The one that impressed me the most was Project C, which stands for Communication. They did a fantastic job of presenting their ideas to us in a creative and inspiring way.
Each speaker had a firm message for us. Mike Kilburn, Environmental Programme Director of Civic Exchange, urged us to 'seek the welfare of your city, for in it you will find yours'. He advised us to be 'passionate, persistent, impertinent when necessary, and patient when striving for your goals'.
Tiffany Leung, of the green group Clean Air Network, said air pollution in Hong Kong is not 'a goldfish sitting in a fish bowl, removed from reality'. She considers it more to be like an elephant, 'a big grey problem', and stressed the importance of people being aware of the health hazards posed by air pollution.
Last but not least, Rachel Chan, co-founder of the youth organisation Make a Difference, delivered a presentation where she shared advice she wished she had received when she was a teenager. 'Challenge yourself early, discover yourself early, dare to be different, never give up, and remember that great success can only be achieved after great failure,' she said.
I was part of Project R (Reuse, Reduce and Recycle), and we were given the task of planning a Kids4Kids market. We brainstormed ideas for food, entertainment and stalls related to the three Rs. These included organic snacks, tree-shaped cookies, school bands, dance troupes, drama performances and sales of hand-made and second-hand goods.
The forum opened my eyes to how our actions can have an adverse effect on the world we live in. First, Mike Kilburn talked about our energy consumption and the amount of waste we produce. Each of us uses enough water every year to fill 32 large bathtubs!
Lisa Christensen and Nissa Marion, co-founders of renewable energy company Ecovision, urged us to join the 2011 coastal beach clean-up. They have had 50,000 participants in the past few years and every person makes a difference.
I was in Project O (Outreach). We discussed ways to get the community involved with Kids4Kids, for example, by hosting 'reality shows'. The other groups all came up with great ideas, too. The day was an amazing learning opportunity.