30 days have passed of our 100 DAYS Moving Climate Campaign. With 70 days left until the start of the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, governments met in Bangkok to work on the draft text and get closer to an agreement.

From September 28 to October 9 we came together with  youth from around 15 countries to observe the conference and influence the negotiations.

Here are some sites you can check out to know more about what happened there:

The UNFCCC official site for the Bangkok Climate Talks.

Views from youth tracking their delegations: Adopt-a-Negotiator.

Video from the Asian Youth Climate Workshop, organised during the weekend by 350.org.

Blog post: Rich Countries try to kill Kyoto, International Youth deckare “No Confidence” in Road to Copenhagen.

Videos from the speech that youth gave in the UN plenary on the last day of the conference: Here and here.

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We left Vietnam and started the 24-hour bus ride to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, feeling a bit sad that we would have very short time to visit that country. We hadn’t been able to find any young environmentalists to meet up with there, so we decided to stay longer in China and Vietnam and just do a transit throgh beautiful Laos.

On the bus we met some amazing backpackers, from China, Belgium and Germany. It was great to get to know these girls, travelling by themselves just to get to know new places and people. It made us a little bit jealous that we don’t really have the time or money to do touristic things and that we get to stay in big cities most of the time. But it was very nice to talk to them and share experiences. They got really interested in our project and the concept of travelling with a purpose. It affirmed our mission and our focus on this travel.

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We only spent one night in Vientiane, becuse we wanted to reach Bangkok in time for the UN Climate Talks. The train tickets to Bangkok were sold out, so we left on another bus the next evening. We really hope that we can meet someone from Laos on our way back!

We were planning to leave Hanoi today, but decided to stay and be part of another of the activities during the Climate Week, the global premiere of The Age of Stupid. The Age of Stupid is a drama-documentary-animation hybrid that tells the story of an old man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at footage from 2008 and wondering: Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

The screening of the movie in Hanoi joined 700 other ones in over 50 countries, which made this launch the biggest and greenest live film event the world has ever seen. Here in Hanoi it was very well organized by Green Generation. It was free of charge to attend, and at the entrance everyone was asked to write down their contact details and receive a survey.

Before the movie started, Green Generation held an introduction speech about the Climate Week, telling the audience what other activities they could get involved in. They also mentioned the presence of the 100 DAYS Moving Climate Campaign in Hanoi, and we were asked to stand up to receive a round of applause!

The movie was great, but the movement surrounding it is even better. When the screening ended, everyone handed in the survey, sharing what we thought about the movie and what actions it inspired us to commit to. The aim of the film is to inspire hundreds of millions of viewers to become climate activists, because everyone is needed in this movement. We can’t allow the scary future scenario predicted by the film to happen in reality!

If you haven’t seen Age of Stupid, do it now! Make sure to also visit NOT STUPID, the film’s action campaign, to learn about specific ideas and ways in which you can change history, including what you can do on the road to Copenhagen!

Some weeks ago we got an unexpected e-mail from Do Thi Huyen in Hanoi who works at the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi as Programme Officer for Environment and Climate Change. The news about our campaign had reached her and she thought that such an initiative by a young Swede & CO deserved to be widely known. Therefore she had arranged for us to meet the Swedish ambassador to Vietnam, Rolf Bergman.
Due to heavy traffic we arrived to the meeting a few minutes late, and were excited to find the ambassador already engaged in discussions with Vietnamese youth from different environmental groups who were invited too. The embassy staff were impressed by the big interest of attending, and it was a great opportunity for them too to learn about the encouraging work that youth here are undertaking. A radio station was invited and recorded what was said in our discussions.
The ambassador started off by saying that sadly we have come to exactly the right place, since Vietnam with its long low-lying coast line will be one of the countries badly effected by sea-level rise caused by global warming. We then moved on to discuss what roles we all can play in limiting the problem, ensuring adaptation, mitigation and solutions to climate change.
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An important topic of discussion was Sweden’s role in the global climate change politics. Sweden holds the EU presidency right now, and is responsible for coordinating EU to reach internal agreements on climate change that can then be brought to the global negotiation table. We asked the ambassador to let the Swedish government know that youth in Vietnam demand strong action on climate change from the EU. We who are young today will be in our 60’s or so in 2050, and the decisions made today will affect our future. We are ready to implement the solutions, and we’re asking the governments to agree on a strong climate treaty that will help us do so.
In the afternoon we were taken to a university to receive a gift from Students and Environment (SnE). They presented us with a beautiful colourful banner that they had painted for us, with our campaign name on it. The banner we started in Korea is already starting to get full, and with 77 days left of our campaign we’ll surely get enough signatures to cover one more!
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21 September was an important date for the climate movement all over the world. A Global Wake Up Call was organised by TckTckTck, Avaaz and other organisations and individuals in response to the UN General Assembly, the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and the meeting of world leaders in New York to discuss climate change. The world is currently sleepwalking into a crisis of epic and historical proportions, but we can’t let that happen. Over 2,682 events were held in 134 countries with the aim to wake up leaders and let them know that the world is ready for a bold climate deal.
Of course we wanted to make sure that the Global Wake Up Call was heard in Hanoi too! We presented the idea to all our contacts in Hanoi, and Cycling 4 Environment jumped on the idea. We gathered around 20 of their volunteers in a park in Hanoi to practice movements and phrases, and then recorded their message to the world leaders as a short movie. This is what they said in Vietnamese: “TckTckTck -TckTckTck – Time is running out – Governments, act now to stop climate change!”
We recorded the first video in the Botanical Garden at 12:18, a time that symbolizes the 18th day of the 12th month of the year, when COP15 in Copenhagen is scheduled to end. It went well and our volunteers felt courageous, so we went to record the same message again in two more iconic but highly security guarded venues: in front of the famous Ho-Chi-Minh Mausoleum, and the Presidential Palace of Vietnam.
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Watch the result of the Global Wake Up Call actions all over the world here!
Today we participated in one of the many activities that youth organizations are carrying out here in Hanoi for the Global Climate Week. Cycling 4 Environment invited us to a bike-ride in the streets of Hanoi to promote the use of bicycles in the motorbike city. Earlier this year a group of them actually cycled for a month from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city (1138 km) to raise awareness about climate change! Today they lent us two of the bicycles they rode on this epic journey. What an honour!

When we arrived at the meeting point we were happy to see so many people. We first had a short round of introductions and then geared up for the ride with green flags on our bikes. We pedaled for about half and hour and experienced what it is like to cycle in streets owned by motorcycles with no bike lanes: scary but fun.C4E

When we got to our destination, we made a group photo and quickly said goodbye to all of them because we were already late for the next item of our agenda, a meeting with Go Green.
Go Green is an organization that brings together young people and engages them with environmental awareness activities, such as workshops, rallies and events. When we got to their meeting place, they had already started with the first activitiy of the day. They were watching Annie Leonard’s movie The Story of Stuff, an amazing short video that exposes the system of consumption and empowers consumers to create a more sustainable and just world. When the video finished, the facilitators organized a Q&A game with information that was given out in the video and invited us to help with hosting the game.
When this activity was over, we proceeded to talk about our campaign and to answer questions they had about climate change, the UNFCCC and 100 DAYS. In one of the answers we gave we emphazied the need to act locally on the road to Copenhagen, it’s not only there that you can make a difference. Youth all over the world are carrying out their own projects and participating in global campaigns to make their voices heard. Acting locally and networking globally is a very powerful strategy. Don’t let the fact that Copenhagen is far away stop you from being part of the movement!
The environmental youth movement in Vietnam is totally amazing! Starting from almost no activities at all, it has grown and evolved rapidly in just the last 2-3 years, with new groups popping up like mushrooms in the forest. In Hanoi we were immediately thrown in to experience this whirlwind of excited committed youth who eagerly showed us their initiatives for a sustainable future.
We arrived in Hanoi’s train station a bit earlier than estimated and watched a bright sun go up while waiting for Jenny, a participant of the Tunza Conference 2009, who kindly offered to pick us up. That was the start of an eventful 5 days in Hanoi, which we spent travelling between different meetings on the back of various motorbikes, the superior most common means of transport here in Hanoi.
The first meeting was with Jenny’s organisation, the Vietnamese branch of the Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Program. This is one of the first youth groups that was formed in Hanoi around environmental issues, with funding support from the Bayer company. Many voluntary groups in Vietnam accept funding from private companies, since that’s available and makes their activities possible.
We had a round of introduction, talked about our project and invited the participants to sign our already famous banner. During the meeting we mentioned that we didn’t have a place to stay in Hanoi yet. Hannah, one of the members, arranged a homestay with her friend Phuong. Three youth helped us to move our stuff there, again by motorbike of course.
Then we went to a meeting organized by the Green Generation Network, which helps to disseminate information between all the different environmental groups in Hanoi. It’s a network of organizations and individuals who share concerns and are willing to learn and initiate change for the betterment of the environment. They had borrowed a meeting room in the Vietnam office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and invited all the environmental youth groups to attend.
We were lucky that IUCN lent us a big space, because with all the participants we could barely fit in the room. This was the largest meeting of this campaign so far. There were about 60 people belonging to more than 15 different clubs, NGOs and media. Among these were Talking Green, Cycling for Environment, Biology and Environment, 3R Club, Green Recycle, 360°, RAECP, Students and Environment, Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Vietnam, Green Generation Network, Live and Learn, Oxfam Vietnam, Youth for the Environment, Volunteers for the Environment and IUCN Vietnam.
We had a really interesting meeting, with the different groups talking and sharing information with us and with each other about their upcoming activities. A lot of things are planned for the Global Climate Week that is starting right now around the world, and we discussed how to link existing initiatives even more with global efforts and campaigns such as 350.org, TckTckTck and the International Youth Climate Movement.

Meeting in IUCN

The meeting went on for hours, and in between the sessions we had energizers, environmental games and songs. We also went out on the street for another display of our banner. Everyone was really eager to sign it, add some more handprints and take lots of pictures. While all this happened, Sara answered a video interview with VTV6, talked about the project and the importance of taking action to stop climate change.
Our route from China to Vietnam became rougher than we had planned. From Kunming we wanted to go to Hekou where there is a border crossing, but with some miscommunications we got tickets to the wrong destination, Wenshan. We thought it didn’t matter that much, since it’s easy to take a bus from Wenshan to Hekou. It would just take a few hours longer and we had the time. Every travel has its unexpected surprises, and now it was our turn to be flexible.
Unfortunately though, the night from Kunming to Wenshan ended in a more dramatic way than expected. Unlike all buses we’ve seen before, this one had beds, so we could actually lay down. Sara slept very well in the bus – too well apparently, because she woke up just to discover that her laptop and camera were gone. We spent the whole morning at the police station, missed the bus to Hekou and had to spend the night in Wenshan.

The police drove us to a hostel owned by a Canadian family. For the first time since the start of our project we actually paid for accommodation, but the price was reduced to a small symbolic sum. Our hosts did their best to show their support and make us have a good time despite our loss. They invited us for lunch and dinner, and we had a calm relaxing time.

Wenshan is much smaller than the other Chinese cities we’ve been to, and we really liked the atmosphere in the town centre. We took a walk in the evening, and in the main square we saw people of all ages come together and have fun in different ways. There was a public dance class, a film screening, and a fountain with benches where people sat and shared their stories. This reminded us of the happy creative future we want to see. In the sustainable future, people will not be working too many hours to earn too much money to consume too much stuff they don’t need, but instead spend more time socializing and having fun together.
Wenshan's helpful policeman and policewoman

Wenshan's helpful policeman and policewoman

The next morning we got a ride in the police car to the bus station. The police officers were very friendly, gave us water for the trip and even paid for our tickets to Hekou. We travelled through beautiful mountain areas in a small 18-seated bus. Then we walked across the border from Hekou on the Chinese side to Lao Cai in Vietnam. Everything went smooth with crossing the border, and we slept well again in the night train to Hanoi.

From Chengdu to Kunming in the Yunnan Province it was another 20 hours by train. No meetings were confirmed in Kunming when we set off, so we were gladly surprised when we met three happy students on the station waving a sign with our names. They had received our e-mails and talked to Li Li in Beijing about meeting us. Great!
Our new friends invited us to eat a traditional local noodle soup. The restaurant we went to had used disposable chopsticks until some months ago, but then changed to reusable ones after pressure from environmental groups. Most restaurants in China still use throwaway wooden chopsticks, causing 25 million trees or so to fall every year. It’s time for China to stop eating away its forests, especially since deforestation also plays a huge role in climate change.
As we walked to the bus stop after our meal, a whole horde of students joined up with us one by one. The news that we were in town had spread like a wildfire, and everyone wanted to join our project presentation in the NGO-CN office. We got translation help from Michael, an American our age who had lived in China for some months. We answered questions from the students on everything from the route of our journey to how we first got involved in the climate movement. A journalist and photographer interviewed us too.
Kunming crew
In the afternoon our new friends took us to the office of Yunnan Green Environment Development Foundation, YGF. We met the director who told us about the organisation and the projects they are involved in. Their mission is to use law and national policy to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable development. They are working in Yunnan’s forests to protect endangered animal and plant species, involving the local communities in this task.
Kunming ended our blast with the Chinese climate movement for this time. We’ll be back in China for some days in October, but first it’s time to move on and discover what’s going on in other countries!

On the train from Wuhan to Chengdu, a 20 hours trip, a guy reading the newspaper recognized us and asked for our autographs! Of course we hadn’t expected that, but flattered we signed his newspaper, feeling a little bit like rockstars.

Chengdu is located quite in the middle of China, in the Sichuan Province. It’s actually far off west from our planned route, but Li Li strongly suggested us to go there, and the people he put us in touch with seemed so overwhelmingly enhusiastic to meet us that we just had to adapt our plans. We don’t regret, we had a great time.
 
When we asked our new friends in Chengdu why the involvement in climate issues seems extra strong there, we got two explanations: the giant panda and the earthquake. The Sichuan Province is internationally known for its giant panda population, but higher temperatures and more rain in the wild pandas’ habitat make them move north from their current home, causing damage to local tourism. The big earthquake that happened in Sichuan last year was a huge tragedy, killing tens of thousands and leaving millions of people homeless. Even though it can’t be said that the earthquake was directly caused by climate change, it made many people realize the urgency of doing all they can for a safer future. 
 
We stayed 3 nights with Meimei and her aunt and uncle. They are all vegetarians, because they believe that shifting diet is the fastest way to save the climate, and it’s a concrete and effective way in which every individual can take action. Today, meat production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation sector together.
 
Our contacts in Chengdu had prepared a lot for our visit. They had printed banners and spread posters to advertise an event where we would give a speech in a vegetarian restaurant. This attracted a big audience of people from all different ages. We gave a lecture, with the help of a Chinese translator, about the causes and effects of climate change as well as global politics and lifestyle solutions. We used parts of a powerpoint presentation created by 350.org, free for everyone to use. Check it out here and give the presentation in your community too!
 
After the lecture we all went out on the street, with our banner and another one printed by our hosts. On both banners we collected signatures from by-passers for an ambitious, fair and globally binding climate deal to be signed by governments in Copenhagen. Our friends had prepared informative leaflets in Chinese for the action.

Here is a link to a media blog report about our activities in Chengdu. It’s in Chinese but has lots of photos, so check it out!