Calling a Consensus For Action
At the start, June 4 saw the reconvening of journalist participants from the ‘Connecting the Dots’ media workshop held in June 2013. This year the group included some new participants; and open discussions comprised of reflections and lessons from the past year, as journalists discussed the challenges of environmental journalism, the best ways to package environmental issues, and key environment issues of 2014 including policy matters.
The main event took place on World Environment Day, June 5. This meeting discussed and endorsed the Consensus for Action campaign, led by an international group of scientists in the United States and joined by thousands from around the world. The campaign communicates the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate disruptions, extinctions, ecosystem loss, pollution and population growth, with the take-home message that these are inter-connected problems which the global society can, and must, begin fixing immediately. The program included a presentation through skype by Prof. Elizabeth Hadley of Stanford University, one of the members who drafted the document. This was followed by an address on Consensus for Action in Nepal by Parliamentarian Mr. Gagan Thapa. During the event the winners of an infographic competition on climate change were announced. John Stamm, Director of the Social, Environmental and Economic Development Office, USAID Nepal launched an exhibition of the top ten entries to help communicate climate change issues. This free-entry exhibition continued throughout the week and generated much interest. During the evening, there was a screening of ‘The Last Yak Herder of Dhe’, a documentary produced with the support of the Hariyo Ban Program. The documentary explores the arduous life of the last remaining yak herder in the climate vulnerable valley of Mustang.
On June 6, the celebrations continued with training for eco club students as well as bio-briquette making training for youths. A ‘Green Cities Policy Discourse’ took place on June 9, focusing on the sustainable urban development policy proposal prepared and produced by MP Gagan Thapa’s office, along with the Members of Parliament elected from the Kathmandu Valley. The document ‘Livable Kathmandu’ presents the group’s initial research, analysis and recommendations for improvements to make Kathmandu a ‘livable’ city. The document has since been submitted to the Prime Minister to be developed as a Kathmandu development policy document, which could also serve as a policy guideline for Nepal’s other urban and urbanizing centers. Besides this, movies and documentaries on a variety of environmental concerns were screened every evening.
On June 10, a discussion on Digital Green Products was held for USAID partner organizations, on potential for powerful audio-visual communication products. On June 11, a poetry recitation was hosted to commemorate the Environment Week, which included recitations from over 25 poets. The final day, June 12, was set aside for ‘Taking Actions’ where environmental groups came together to discuss ways that everyone can contribute to building a cleaner, more environmentally friendly city.
This week of excitement and action not only helped showcase local to global environmental concerns and promoted discussion with the general public about opportunities for action, but also drew attention to escalating climate change issues.
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Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of WWF and its consortium partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.