Last month, 12 teams of over 30 environmentalists completed their projects to make changes to the environment under the first Climate Cool (CC) campaign organised by the British Council (BC) in collaboration with the British Embassy in Bangkok, Youth Venture Thailand, and a day magazine.
Climate Cool’s participants pose with John Whitehead, director of the British Council in Thailand, back row, wearing a tie. PURICH TRIVITAYAKHUN
"We want to build a network of enthusiasts who are keen to solve environment problems," said Penrapee Ram-Indra, BC science projects manager.
"Our goal is to raise awareness of environmental issues so that everyone can help to save the environment in their own way," she added.
The participants in the CC campaign, aged between 18 and 35 years, studied project management and developed climate solution skills. Teams were given advisers, project seed funds, and support in organising their events. The participants were made up of university students and working people. They carried out projects ranging from how to reuse plastic bags to creating animations.
Panita Topathomwong, a fourth-year economics student at Thammasat University (TU), and her teammates designed a project called "Cool Bus Cool Smile".
Panita said the massive use of private transportation in Bangkok causes air pollution, which can aggravate global warming. The group aims to persuade commuters to make greater use of public buses by painting buses attractively.
"We expect the buses to be moving media that raise people's awareness of global warming," said Panita. "We would like people to think that they can help to reduce global warming just by using these buses."
Their project started with a competition among the three main school levels - primary, high school and university, plus the general public - to produce eye-catching graphics to be affixed to buses. The graphics must convey an environmental conservation message. Winning designs would be painted on buses. The project was warmly received, while three buses painted with the winning designs made their debut recently.
Another student group from TU requested five 7-Eleven branches in their university to turn off some of their air conditioners from 1am to 5am. Their project was entitled "Seven Saves Earth".
"We would like to see the business sector help reduce global warming," said Phuttawadee Leelahacheewa, a second-year economics student.
"From 1am to 5am is the period when all students have to stay in their dormitories, resulting in the stores having a minimal number of customers. If they reduce their use of air conditioners during this time, they can save a great deal of electricity as well as reduce the emission of chlorofluorocarbon," she said. The team is still in negotiations with the 7-Eleven stores' management.
Venue for learning
The CC campaign is not restricted to students. Fresh graduates of TU's Fine and Applied Arts Faculty originated the "TIE Project". TIE stands for "Theatre in Education" and "This is Environment".
Team member Soifa Saenkhamkon explained that the project employs the theatre mode to educate children on environmental issues.
Over six weeks, the team educated and entertained Prathom 4 (Grade 4) students using theatre skills, and engaging students in storytelling, discussions on trees, and puppetry.
The group has implemented the project at Wat Tri Thotsathep School and Wat Maha That School, both in Bangkok.
"We look at environmental issues because if we can raise awareness among students while they are still very young, they will be conscious of [the importance of] dealing with natural resources and environment [matters] when they grow up," said Wiamporn Kongsiripanich, a member of the group.
"We let the students learn naturally, but they also need to think and express their ideas on the environment through theatre and other activities," she added.
Other projects included "Supermarket Forest" by students of Eastern Asia University; "Bento Saves the World" by Kasetsart University students; "Change and Share", also by Kasetsart University students; and many others.
Learn more about the CC campaign at http://tinyurl.com/yd8tr9w .