Following the green lifestyle, a woman's mission to end single use plastic landed her a spot as a Vietnamese represenative for an international event concerning the environment.
Ly Phuong Thanh, 21 years old, is one of two Vietnamese representatives at the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition event in Milan this September. Photo courtesy of Phuong Thanh
Ly Phuong Thanh, 21 years old, a student of Faculty of Business Administration of International University, Vietnam National University, HCM City, has just received an invitation from the Italian Government to Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition – a special event to be held this September ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26).
Overcoming competitive young candidates under 30 years old from countries around the world, Thanh has officially become a delegate.
Thanh said she applied for Youth4Climate in hope of having more experience and gaining opportunities to speak out to protect the Earth.
“I completed questions in the application form given by the organizers in one evening. I did not ask for help from anyone to edit the answers because to me, sincere answers are what the organizers want when considering a delegate. In mid-July, I received the good news that I have been accepted,” the young girl from Gen Z generation told Thanh Nien newspaper.
The Youth4Climate initiative amplifies the work of young climate leaders and celebrates the power of the young generation to drive ambitious climate action.
It will bring some 400 young delegates from nations all over the world to Milan, Italy this September for a comprehensive discussion of climate solutions whose outputs will feed directly into October’s Pre-COP Summit.
At the event in Milan, Thanh will speak on behalf of young Vietnamese people about climate issues, especially the mission of cooperation between major countries that account for a lot of greenhouse gas emissions such as the US and China, thereby helping leaders grasp and best prepare for COP26 in the UK in November.
Thanh is working with the conference's fellow delegates from other countries to discuss activities.
Another young Vietnamese – Hoang Ngoc Xuan Mai, 20 years old, studying at Havard university, has been selected for the conference.
Thanh and Mai are working on a list of questions based on four key avenues: Youth Driving Ambition, A Climate-Conscious Society, Sustainable Recovery, and Non-State Actors’ Engagement.
They have also collaborated with environmental organizations in Vietnam to collect recommendations and environment and climate change initiatives of Vietnamese youth to share at the conference.
Passion for environmental protection
Invitation to one of biggest climate change events for the youth in the world shows that Thanh’s efforts have been paid off.
The young girl has been passionate about environmental protection activities at her school.
In everyday life, Thanh always brings her own water bottle, lunch box, limits the use of plastic items and personal means of transport.
Before becoming a Youth4Climate delegate, in 2019, Thanh had the idea of using a ride-sharing mobile app similar to Uber and Grab to reduce traffic jams and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions into the environment. This project won a special prize at a competition organized by her university.
Thanh presents her project in HCM City in 2019. Photo courtesy of Phuong Thanh
The International University, Vietnam National University, HCM City has introduced Thanh’s project at a conference of overseas businessmen and received many positive feedbacks.
The conference in Milan in September will not be the first international youth events she has ever participated.
Last year, when Thanh represented Vietnamese youth at the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Youth Summit, she brought to the discussion table the topic of using clean water in the Mekong river region.
Thanh attends the virtual ASEAN-Republic of Korea Youth Summit in 2020. Photo courtesy of Phuong Thanh
“Vietnamese youth delegates and I mentioned water pollution in the Mekong river area. The population explosion has changed the environment and ecosystems, leading to saltwater intrusion, landslides and decrease in the amount of silt in the water, affecting drinking water and farming. “We have linked the problem to education to find a solution to help people here understand the reasons of pollution, its harmful effects on present life and the next generation, as well as how to help them overcome hardships,” she said.
She also helped other young people who love environment like her to seek for opportunities to attend student’s environmental projects and international youth events to represent Vietnam and speak out their voice about regional environmental, educational and social service issues.
Thanh said she wanted to work for international organizations specializing in climate change response. In particular, she wants to set up her own social enterprise to support and promote environmental protection.
Thanh says no to single use plastic as a way to protect environmnet. Photo courtesy of Phuong Thanh
“The environment is always a hot issue, especially in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic. The Earth's temperature will increase significantly in the next 50 years if we do not respond in time.
“I hope everyone will contribute to the green Earth from the smallest actions like using public transport instead of personal vehicles, using biodegradable products or reusable items instead of single use plastic,” she said.
“Young people should do research and come up with initiatives to protect the environment,” she said.
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