Over 50 youth from Singapore were joined by 350.org friends and supporters from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Brunei, the Philippines, and Vietnam for the inaugural Singapore Power Shift on 12 and 13 July 2014. The two-day workshop organised by 350 Singapore aims to empower youth about climate change and campaigning skills, so that the group can develop five impactful campaigns that could be adopted and implemented in Singapore.
Singapore Power Shift is part of Global Power Shift, a program kick-started by 350.org in Istanbul a year ago, where 600 climate activists from 100 countries converged to share stories, learn skills, and sharpen strategies and tactics to overcome the inertia in addressing the climate crisis. These climate leaders then returned to their home countries to spark a wave of convergences, campaigns, and mobilisations for climate action.
On the first day of the workshop, youth participants learned about what the Singapore government is doing to address climate change, and the various youth climate movements around the world. Case studies on NGOs in Singapore were also shared, including presentations from The Leafmonkey Workshop, Nature Society (Singapore), Sea Shepherd Singapore, and People’s Movement to Stop Haze.
The second day saw the participants learning about the art and science of campaigning, and also worked on developing sample campaigns. The highlight of the workshop was a surprise visit by the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, a well-known climate activist. During his presidency, he led his cabinet towards a national commitment to be carbon neutral by 2020. Nasheed shared with the audience his journey as a climate activist and highlighted the urgency of stopping climate change. He also engaged in active discussion with the young participants.
In the discussion, Nasheed highlighted two main points. The first point is about the need to frame climate change issues around more positive arguments, such as developing more renewable energy, creating more jobs and benefiting the economy, which would be more attractive to people and governments. The contrast is to ask people to do less things or stop doing certain things, which could turn them off.
The second point is on the need for activists to be the decision makers too, instead of just being at the margins all the time. Activists can also try to be in the mainstream and become decision makers and politicians so that they can address climate change more effectively. He encouraged the participants: “I believe young people like you are the real force that will shift the power for a just, safe and peaceful world”.
The Singapore Power Shift is a timely platform in empowering the youth in Singapore to understand more about climate change and to take action in combating climate change. Visit 350 Singapore to check out the latest updates and to find out more about what you can do.
Source credit: 350.org
Image credit: 350.org via Flickr