by Mark Liao Jun, 2019 ASEAN Youth Biodiversity Leader (YBL) for Malaysia
I came back from the 2019 YBL in-person training with a better understanding and sense of unity among my peers from across the Southeast Asia region. All of us work to contribute back to conserving nature, but we all had different ways to go about it. As a communicator focusing on urban engagement, I was delighted to know how my work complemented policy makers, field researchers, scientists, and other fields of environmental conservation.
Some of the more important takeaways from this experience are understanding how everything is interconnected and the importance of inclusion. Inclusion does not mean to bring everyone together, but rather to understand why different groups need to be involved in the decision-making process. The process of making big decisions often requires tremendous amounts of time, thought and concentration. In our current society, we often experience decisions that were made based on only a handful of leaders. Although these solutions are most times good, it also lacks variation in considerations.
For example, as we move forward prioritizing progress and development, we forget about the minority groups that depend on natural settings which sustain their livelihoods. These marginalised communities could be dependent on the forest which provides them food, water, and other resources. Without the prior consultation with these groups, the large land-use change from forested areas to agricultural lands, could be detrimental to their way of life.
In the effort to conserve nature, a better understanding is required to understand how every element connects into a larger system.
MARK LIAO JUN, 2019 ASEAN YOUTH BIODIVERSITY LEADER (YBL) FOR MALAYSIA
In the effort to conserve nature, a better understanding is required to understand how every element connects into a larger system. These systems make out a big picture from the everyday things we do in life to the industrial works in factories to streams and critters in the forests. As a YBL, I believe that our goal is not to lead green change ourselves but to grow our communities to be able to appreciate and champion the cause.