The more I talk to the people of #PowerShiftMsia 2014 and listen to their adventures, the more inspired I become. – Nurul Nabila
“Nabila, do you think I will be able to bring #PowerShiftMsia to Penang next year?” That was the first question my senior, Quek Yew Aun, asked me ever since he came back from #PowerShiftMsia 2013. I still remember Quek saying that he has met so many great people who actually do something to make a difference in combating the climate change. I could see that the camp has benefitted him in terms of the way he thinks and organizes our environmental events, especially Ocean Awareness Week. Seeing how much he has advanced , I was very curious and eager to experience the impact of #PowerShiftMsia myself, hence I agreed to help him and volunteered for the camp.
As excited as I was, I had butterflies in my stomach because I was to work with the leaders and organizers of the previous PowerShiftMsia. I have heard about them from Quek and honestly, although I admire them secretly, I felt intimidated by their superiority, achievements and vast knowledge. We were supposed to have virtual meetings every two weeks. Unfortunately, I was too busy with my part-time job that I couldn’t join the meetings, hence ended up being left behind . I also lost the opportunity to get to know them, creating a distance between us that would later affect my ability to work for #PowerShiftMsia 2014.
Thankfully, the other volunteers and I began to gain momentum and fully digested on what was really going to happen to #PowerShiftMsia 2014. At this point , I was in charge of logistics and I was dealing with my own doubts about my true aim of joining it. Nevertheless, I still pushed on and tried contributing my best for the camp. Although I was afraid, nervous and doubtful, my heart told me to go on as something would await for me in the #PowerShiftMsia 2014. One of the strong people behind #PowerShiftMsia, Adrian Yeo, has been throwing all kinds of questions to me throughout the preparation for the camp. One of his questions sent me into an alarmed mode : ‘What if it rains everyday? Does it mean that there will be no food?’ Our logistics team actually planned to hike through the jungle track to bring food from the caterer’s restaurant to the location of #PowerShiftMsia 2014, which is the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) at Penang National Park. To make things worse, I received a detailed weather forecast, showing that Penang would be expecting thunderstorm.
Now, what would happen if it were to rain heavily at Penang National Park? It would not only mean that there may be a possibility of no food available, but also that the logistics team would be at risk if they hike through the jungle in the rain to bring in the food. We thought of renting boats (boat is another form of transportation to go to CEMACS) but the ocean would be choppy during heavy rain or thunderstorms. I prayed really hard for a good weather as I felt so hopeless after trying to come up with alternatives but failed to do so . I planned to just decide on the spot when the bad weather comes – probably the worst alternative I have ever had in my entire life. Deep in my heart, I have always believed that God and His creations, especially Mother Nature always work wonders, creating unexpected miracles. Indeed, the weather was at our side as it only rained once throughout the camp. Seeing how positive things have turned out, I slowly cleared away my doubts and began to look at #PowerShiftMsia from a different perspective.
I didn’t get to join most of the talks and activities held during the camp since I was running around to handle the food matters and cleaning up after every meal. I was lucky though , to be able to listen to a few speakers and mingled around with different people to share opinions and experiences with them. I must say that this is my highest point in #PowerShiftMsia 2014 – meeting these inspiring people. Being a nature lover who feels heartbroken to see the Earth being killed by humans, I have always wanted to break away from my comfort zone to help nature. I initially thought that my involvement in Ocean Awareness Week was a breakthrough but when I heard about how much the environmental activists have been doing, I can never compare myself to them nor be on par with them.
Surprisingly, I stopped feeling intimidated or afraid by them. Instead, I could feel this unexplainable gush of power and excitement bursting out of my small self, even until now. The more I talk to the people of #PowerShiftMsia 2014 and listen to their adventures, the more inspired I become. Feeling enthusiastic, I started planning a few environmental projects with a friend who was also amazed by #PowerShiftMsia. Despite being mentally exhausted, we were brainstorming crazily and grinning happily to know that nothing is impossible as long as we’re determined to work for it. We weren’t the only ones who were creating potential ideas for the environment; the other participants were also inspired as well and planned to start their own fight for nature in their respective countries. You could hear us talking excitedly as each of us was immersed in the deep conversations regarding environmental issues and activism. It’s so amazing to see people from different walks of life gather to learn something new and apply the knowledge as we struggle to tackle these issues together.
From a negative start during the preparation for the camp to a positive ending that allows me to break free to do whatever I want for the nature. The moment I chose to be an environmentalist, I wanted to be around people who do things, not those who judge or talk about what others do. Now, I am surrounded by people who dream, support and act. I feel and understand the powerful impact that #PowerShiftMsia has. I am pretty sure that the others involved also felt similar to what I have felt . We may not meet each other again, but I am really thankful that we have crossed each other’s path and left a mark in each other’s life. What more, it feels great to know that we’re all fighting for the same cause together. Whenever I am put down by those who find my efforts for the environment useless , I will think of the people from #PowerShiftMsia to remind myself to be stronger and have faith in our fight.
Written by Nurul Nabila – Power Shift Malaysia 2014 Volunteer
Editted by Roxanne Low – Power Shift Malaysia 2013 participant