Power Shifts in Southeast Asia

Engaging with Thai youth and hearing their reflections (through our translators) during Thailand Power Shift, made me realize how powerful the space we have created through Power Shift is. It provided an avenue for young people to build connections, discover their potential, learn from each other, and be inspired to take action back in their community.

 

Imagine a continuous wave of Power Shifts in different parts of the world holding the same powerful space of young people taking leadership and engaging in activism. How powerful could it become?

 

Envision a hundred more like Siripaporn Chuensri, who just like her have learned to conquer their fear of speaking up. She said, “…after this training I am able to tell my story and speak in front of you. I realize that my voice matters and it has the power to unite people and change the world.”

Or how about a thousand more community youth leaders building new connections and support like Arthit Pilaboot (Champ), who said: “I thought the youth in the cities does not care about issues we face in our rural communities. But after the 3 days of being together, I learned that we care the same. I hope this kind of connection continues beyond this training.”

 

In the Southeast Asia Region, Power Shift Vietnam had also just concluded. There, my colleague Hoang Hong boldly launched several actions engaging Vietnamese youth in creative climate actions. It recruited roughly 600 volunteers during their climate leadership workshop dubbed “I AM A CLIMATE CITIZEN!” and the climate concert “NONG” (which means “HOT”) – an activity that raised consciousness about coal and climate change.

 

In the next two weeks, Power Shift Malaysia will be bringing together 200 young and passionate climate leaders aged 18 to 30 from all over their state provinces under the theme “YOU’VE GOT THE POWER!”. According to Adrian Yeo, our ever-dynamic organizer and team leader in Malaysia, “…we aim to build a movement conscious and aware of the interconnected issues of climate, environment and social justice and that it be given the level of attention it deserves by government with the appropriate sense of urgency.”

This is where grassroots organizing and mobilization is building up strength and taking on the fight against the fossil fuel industry. We’re done with the 19 years of climate negotiations who cannot take a bold stand for our generation and the generations to come.

Our decentralized but organized climate mobilization in different parts of the world will define leadership – where real people fight for real action and real solutions to address the climate crisis. This is where the casualties of the deadly typhoon Haiyan will claim justice. Let us scale up our movement as we continue to raise consciousness, organize communities, and mobilize campaigns to shift power!