Young social entrepreneurs in the AsiaPacific region play in tackling the climate emergency, and the support they need to amplify the potential impact of their climate actions and solutions !
Climate change has been one of the most important issues to discuss for the past decade. Then, the term “global warming” was categorized as an environmental issue only and a seemingly far-away concept from our reality. Now, it has grown into an abundance of complicated problems caused by socio-cultural, economic, and even political issues which we cannot overlook anymore. As a result, many have been made to bring awareness to this topic, such as campaigns to promote healthier and environment-friendly lifestyles, also research to provide information regarding the issue, and an attempt to come up with a solution.
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Climate Concern to Climate Action: The Role of Young Social Entrepreneurs
A research conducted by Youth Co: Lab in collaboration with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and Citi Foundation titled “Climate Concern to Climate Action: The Role of Young Social Entrepreneurs” talks about the belief of climate change as a global concern and the urgency of taking action among young social entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific countries. It provides comprehensive and easily digested information regarding the awareness rate of climate change issues in Asia-Pacific countries. While not fully representative of the general population of Asia-Pacific society, the research comprises a very specific group of people and informs the audience about why there is a need to be aware and act on the issue. Furthermore, they represent voices and frame those who support the climate change movement.
A total of 1.085 responses received from the survey, sectioned by respondents identified as sub-regions (South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Pacific), gender, age, corporate sector, and member of minority groups (person with disability, indigenous people, ethnic or religious minority, LGBTQIA+ community, displaced person or refugee). This categorization plays a big role in furthering the discussion regarding climate change and how it is not just an environmental issue but other aspects of life that contribute to the difficulties of bringing awareness to this issue.
According to this research, there are five key trends that best describe actions done by organizations to combat climate change:
- Going digital.
- Focusing on taking proactive steps to move towards digital offices.
- Conducting recruitment activities online.
- Going paperless.
Secondly, embracing technology focuses on seeking and developing new technology to accelerate climate action and reduce carbon emissions. These first two keys involve going digital and utilizing technology to its fullest to reduce unnecessary paper waste and to create alternative solutions with developing technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions. This shows how much technology plays in this movement and the knowledge and skills needed to operate it and harness its potential to the fullest. Technology plays a significant role in this movement, as well as the knowledge and skills required to utilize it effectively.
Thirdly, conscious resource management advocates for eco-friendly travel, environmentally friendly products, and office construction designs within the organizations. Fourth, designing climate-responsive products is the next step, ensuring products are being designed and developed through a climate-responsive lens. Lastly, the acts of raising awareness by amplifying climate voices within their organizations and beyond, focusing on advocating for a low-carbon lifestyle and work environment.
There are a few concrete actions to combat climate change done by Asian-Pacific social entrepreneurs, such as Bangladesh having three organizations that provide climate solutions. First, a startup, Borac Energia, focuses on environmentally friendly lithium-ion batteries made from scrap Li-on with double the lifespan of lead acid batteries and electric vehicle manufacturing. A technology-driven electric micro-mobility company, MILE, is working to solve environmental pollution and traffic congestion problems by providing green transport solutions. Last but not least, a social enterprise in Bangladesh called Max TapWater builds small-scale piped water grids to provide access to a safe option for water. This solution was made because the rising sea levels caused increased salinization in the existing tube wells.
Not just Bangladesh, a social enterprise in Cambodia called SUDrain, also provides climate solutions focused on wastewater treatment and management by providing eco-friendly biological filters that can be extracted by recycling coconut waste. India provides three climate solutions. First, GreenPod Labs developed a biotech-based active packaging using natural plant extracts to help extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables during transport and storage to reduce food waste. There is also an enterprise called Urban Air Labs that provides an eco-friendly air purifier based on smart bio-filtration that removes impurities while using plant roots called “Ubreathe.” Last but not least, an enterprise called EnCamp Adventures provides a signatory to the “Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency” initiative and is developing an automated carbon footprint calculator to enable end-to-end measurement of carbon emissions from a travel itinerary.
Indonesia has two climate solutions; a climate-tech startup called Carbon Addons that offers voluntary public micro-climate financing through a plugin software app. So far, their app has neutralized 505kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) emissions by planting 20 mangroves. There is also an enterprise called Spairum that provides drinking water filling stations based on Internet of Things technology which focuses on reducing the use of single-use plastic drinking water bottles by replacing them with affordable tumbler bottles in educational institutions. Other than the countries mentioned above, other countries provide climate solutions, such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Japan, Lao PDR, Singapore, Nepal, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, China, Viet Nam, Philippines, Fiji, and many more.
Despite facing this problem for years, we are only in the early steps of addressing this issue. It was clear how raising awareness is still the first and foremost thing to do in combating climate change when we should be doing more to learn about the alternatives that can be done and create innovations to solve this problem. Though small, the steps we are taking now still progress that must be celebrated and act as a motivation to take the next step.