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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 135 | September 6 , 2009|


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IUB's Climate Detective

Sarah F Ahmad

INTERNATIONAL anti-poverty agency Action Aid, which established its Bangladesh wing here in 1983, has undertaken several development projects. Their vision is to establish a world without poverty and injustice in which every person enjoys their right to a life with dignity.

This year, their focus was on the impact of climate change. Action Aid Bangladesh had contacted several universities in a search for two representatives for Bangladesh, which would be amongst 45 countries participating in a global conference called 'Bright Green Youth' followed by a hitchhiking programme called 'Tracing the climate responsibilities of the Danish people' which took place over the first three weeks of August. After rigorous screening, I was one of the two participants selected, the other being Razib Bhuiyan from Khulna University, while I hailed from Independent University Bangladesh (IUB).

The trip kicked off with Bright Green Youth (BGY) where 500 engaged, innovative young people, from more than 45 countries around the world gathered in Sonderborg to discuss and communicate knowledge about climate changes. The Crown Prince of Denmark inaugurated the event and other guests invited to the event included the ministers of Health, Environment and Education.

It was a tremendous four days and an exciting experience for everyone in the camp. All the participants would go home as climate ambassadors to pass on the ideas, thoughts and visions for a better climate. During the camp, various workshops regarding issues happening in daily lives took place. The camp had three important aspects-- Climate, Innovation and Leadership.

After the end of Bright Green Youth camp, came the actual challenge. The concept of hitchhiking being relatively alien to urban Bangladeshis, made it quite a daunting prospect for Razib and me, but I had confidence in my training as a Media and Communications major to be able to get my message across to the people. The hitchhiking project was designed in a way so that the hikers could come into contact and exchange views with average Danes and find out how responsible they feel about being one of the most polluting nations in the world. Hitchhiking gave us an opportunity to meet a lot of different people and listen to their perspectives instead of just listening to people who already work along in the concerned fields.

What was initially assumed as a difficult challenge passed smoothly over eight days, a group of 24 individuals from different countries had completed a course of 12000kms and travelled through 500 cars. Along with us Bangladeshis, were people from China, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, South Africa, Nepal, Zambia and Central America. We were split into three teams of ten and were supposed to go by different routes as the Red, Green and Blue teams and then reunite at Copenhagen. We visited a different city everyday where different families hosted them. At the end of the trip the hikers had to make a presentation to evaluate our findings and about how aware the Danes are.

As a part of the project, we visited various sites, such as the Siemens windmill-producing factory, another hydroelectric station, and we even met the mayor of Randers.

The trip ended on a good note with ample information to be presented at the Cop15 in December.

(The writer is a student of Media and Communication Department, IUB)


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