The title of the conference ‘MYDXLCOY’ doesn’t say it all. An acquaintance said the title seemed a little too hippie, and doesn’t give any inclination on its identity to regular people who have not been exposed to MYD or LCOY. Yet, knowing the Malaysian Youth Delegation and the people behind it gave me no qualms about participating, for they serve a cause I really connect to: actions from people and nations to prevent drastic climate change.
Despite the short two-day conference, my takeaways were plentiful: people that I connect with, speakers that shared different perspectives of causes on climate change, and so much passion for different aspects of sustainability. I was amazed once again by how powerful a cause can be in bringing together people from all walks of life: “artivists”, activists, Buddhists, doctors, psychologists and me, a biomedical science graduate. Kevin, a participant said, ‘I am grateful to be in a room full of people who I feel like I belong to’. That really resonated with me because that was what I felt years ago when I first attended PowershiftMsia, and still feel now. It is amusing to be part of a discussion on how mamak uncles should really just follow requests for ‘no straws’, or how it terrifying it can be to feel stranded at the final bus stop, dreading the final walk to your destination across highways and major roads.
Besides the comfort of being one of the black sheep amongst all the black sheep, I did pick up a few things, and resonated deeply with a few stories. I learnt how clean energy may not be as clean, due to the technology and equipment used i.e. unusable discarded solar panels, how Obikes could have been better managed, and the need for bicycle lanes in the first place. The story of midway island, the death of sea birds from plastic, unusual sightings of a dead dolphin and dead animals from a piece of plastic bottle ring were sadenning. The advent of green bonds and how green climate funds has been of discussion since before 2010. The conference also mentioned of how RSPO accreditation still does not give confidence as a sustainability standard, and this requiring close monitoring from other organisations.
All these insights (and more) were a product of the unique speakers, their sharings and the conversations amongst fellow participants. Listening to Mike speak about his fascination on the carbon dioxide graph in Al Gore’s documentary, Heng sharing videos on GreenPeace members making art on unsustainable companies’ public property, or Syaqil lamenting about Minister Yeo Yee Bin’s stance on people before climate instead of embracing both; I can’t help but feel a little disheartened at how these voices have limited channels to go to. Yet, the core of the message remains the same. We need change, and loads of it. We may be insignificant in our roles as student or employees, but we possess the power to change governments, topple institutions and embarrass multinational companies. Kudos to MYD for connecting disconnected individuals through a platform as wonderful as LCOY. The name doesn’t say it all, but the conference does.
Written by Sally
Edited by Varun