In my Oral English speaking and listening class we spent about a month “traveling” to different places in America. We discussed the culture and lifestyles of New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California. All of which are places my students hope to get the chance to visit one day. While we were discussing California, I decided it would be a good idea to discuss my version of “Environmental Get Down “aka how can we environmentally make the world a better place. I talked about California as a green state and we discussed 5-6 ways we could help the environment. This of course involved me tell my students they should “eat less meat” because cows “fart and burp” methane gases. This turned into to a big laugh, because most people in China think its unhealthy to not eat meat, and because I was in front of a group of 30 students explaining the English words “fart” and “burp” furthering my students ideas that I’m “extremely weird but they love me.” By the end of the lesson I had my students choose one topic that they thought was most interesting and had them create Be Green Comics. The next class they shared the stories they created, all of which turned out fantastic and really interesting. They all loved it so much that next semester I’m going to be doing an “Adventure club” secondary product. This will involve me and some students hiking around different areas of Chongqing and discussing different ways we can help the environment, and maybe even planting some flowers and trees along the way. Check the pictures for the final results 😍
Today I accompanied two volunteers, who actively work with Green Camel Bell, a local environmental protection NGO. Lanzhou is not only one of the most polluted cities in China, it ranked bottom in the World Health Organization’s study as one of the most air polluted cities in the world. The idea of environmentalism is still relatively knew in China, as many people only focus on building industry and turn a blind eye to the destruction being done to our earth.
We went to the outskirt of Lanzhou to a “rubbish place,” or rather, a dump. Here, trash is not being properly disposed of, simply being poured into a gigantic hole. As more and more trash has been dumped here, the increase in methane became so rapid to the point that trash has been repeatedly self-igniting. These volunteers previously worked with this area, bringing journalists out and having a story published, causing the local government to act. However, the local government’s solution was only temporary, pour water onto the fires.
Moving forward to continue efforts to resolve this problem, today’s focus was on taking air quality measurements, counting the number of recent self-ignited fires, and using some good ol’ photography to hopefully put together yet another story.
Though it seems few people in China seem to truly care about these devastating effects, as one volunteer said, “I care, and he cares, and you care, and that’s something.”
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Rice fields in Cambodia
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Peace Corps Volunteers Commemorate Earth Day
Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide commemorated Earth Day by working with people in their local communities to become more environmentally conscious and protect the local ecosystem. Volunteers regularly help communities organize recycling projects and environmental youth clubs, assist with park management, and forest, soil, and marine conservation.
Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide commemorate Global Youth Service Day by working with children, youth and young adults to be more active citizens in their communities. This year, many Volunteers are using Global Youth Service Day activities to promote environmental awareness on Earth Day.
Observed April 20 to 22, Global Youth Service Day provides Volunteers with an opportunity to engage youth and local community members in long-term service projects. For more than 10 years, Peace Corps Volunteers and their community partners have celebrated Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day through various activities.
Throughout the year, Peace Corps Volunteers work with youth to foster skills for transitioning from school to work, and becoming engaged in their communities. Volunteers also develop extracurricular activities that help local youth build confidence and develop decision-making, communication and leadership skills that promote positive relationships with peers, parents and adults.
Five percent of Peace Corps Volunteers work in the youth in community development sector as their primary assignment, while another 40 percent of Volunteers work in the education sector.
Peace Corps Volunteers Introduce Alternative Fuel Source to Communities in Madagascar and Rwanda
Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar and Rwanda are working to reduce the impact of deforestation by introducing green charcoal into local communities. This environmentally safe method of charcoal production serves as a sustainable alternative to wood charcoal and can generate income for local families and organizations. Green charcoal bricks are created using a combination of biomass materials such as agricultural waste, leaves, grass and sawdust. The material is chopped up and soaked in water, and then pressed with a manual ram and cylinder into a pellet and left in the sun to dry.
The 1st National Environmental Youth Group gathering. A three day, two night workshop to form and strengthen environmental youth groups. 22 PCVs and 45 Paraguayan youth from all over the country came together to create a network of youth protaganism in effort to protect the environment. Rock on!
This photograph was taken during technical training in the small community of La Cumbre, Dominican Republic in 2008. A group of volunteers woke up early to embark on a hike with a host brother through the Dominican forest. This young boy was eating a mango for breakfast in the morning light outside of a traditional “campo” home.
Peace Corps Environment Volunteer Amy Martin