BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Newey is the head of Thailand's Youth Venture program, located in Bangkok.
"We see only a tree's benefits for us. We see wood, food and oxygen; not a creature that shares this world with us."
Youth Venture, a global organization and partner of Ashoka, is dedicated to supporting and encouraging Ventures that benefit society, proposed and run by young people across Thailand. The vision behind the program is that everyone can take initiative and address social needs. Young people form the basis for this.
Newey will be continuing her work with the program to further the impact it is having on Bangkok society. Follow her efforts in her blogs and video diaries.
April 1, 2008
I have been on the road a lot lately, both traveling in and around Bangkok, because Youth Venture Thailand is launching a new campaign with A Day magazine and BEtrend to encourage young people to come up with cool ideas to cool down the earth.
Bangkok now is welcoming back the familiar heat of summer and we're busy working with the children who are now on their summer school break.
The reason we focus on supporting children to create projects that will improve the environment is because we found they are now very concerned about the environment. Especially since we experience heat, floods, tsunamis and earthquakes.
Everywhere we turn, people from all over the world are talking about global warming. But sadly, I realize that, at least in Thailand, we do talk more than we take action. And our attempt is not yet the best we can do.
Urging children to start environmental projects brought me on an interesting journey. I met an architect who designed high-end furniture from trash, a retired professor who made me see miracles in trees and an environmentalist turned magazine editor who wants to create a green trend.
Last week, I was introduced to Aim Oil and Toto. They are biology students who started a youth group called "Baby Lumpu" (Lumpu is the Thai cork tree that grows in the mangrove forest).
Aim Oil and Toto work with children in Bangkok to grow Lumpus from seeds. They work with children not only to grow plants but also to grow the love of trees. Besides that, the children were given a diary to record the growth of their Lumpu and the growth of the children's thoughts.
Sadly, Baby "Lumpu" was not very successful. They were unable to recruit enough kids interested in the project. They only worked with seven kids, all from one school. Also, they had the children keep the plants at school, which meant no one was taking care of the plant during the weekends.
The good news is they will retry the project again in May when school starts. I hope Youth Venture can help her expand the project.
What I really like about "Baby Lumpu" perhaps is the group's character and perspective.
Aim told me what she saw as most challenging now is that people see only themselves. She gave me the example of how people think about trees. She says we see only a tree's benefits for us. We see wood, food and oxygen; not a creature that shares this world with us.
Then when I asked her what she thought we can do about it, she says she would like to make people around her see the connection between them and the environment.
That really lifts up my spirit and drives me to keep working with other children. It gives us hope for the younger generation. E-mail to a friend