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People Call Me a Trash HeroOctober 13, 2020
Many young environmental activists around the world these days are playing an important role in making greater action on climate change and environmental issues. Despite challenges, these young people are raising awareness in a collective call to protect at-risk communities impacted by uncontrolled climate change.
Kyaw Zin Myo’s passion in gardening stemmed from his father since he was in primary school. Throughout his school years, he learned how to plant, value the environment and participate in school environmental activities. “I did not know much why it mattered at that time, but I was really happy to do it. My father is a gardener, and he taught me how to grow plants. My childhood dream was to live in a green environment,” said Kyaw Zin Myo.
With an eagerness to express his concerns through teaching and participating in environmental activities, he is currently working as an environmental teacher at Phaung Daw Oo Monastic Education High School in Mandalay—educating children and adults about environmental issues with hands-on experience. For instance, he has been working on creating an environmentally friendly learning space for children and a waste-free school compound.
Apart from teaching, he is also a founder (chapter leader) of Climate Talks Mandalay, which was established on July 13, 2020. Climate Talks Mandalay is a monthly talk series that includes talk sessions from environmental scholars and activists from different backgrounds, and a short environmental workshop for attendees at the end of the talk. The first talk series was held on 29 August 2020.
“My internship experience at Conyat Create (Consulting Agency) during my study at Parami Institute last year has motivated me to start a new chapter of Climate Talks as I believe that young people in Mandalay need this kind of opportunity and awareness as well,” said Kyaw Zin Myo.
Meanwhile, Kyaw Zin Myo has been working at Trash Hero Mandalay, an anti-plastic pollution organization as a chapter leader for three years since 2017. He organizes clean-up events and awareness-raising talks about plastic pollution for students from schools and universities. He also helps spread messages for public awareness by writing articles in newspapers and magazines about plastic pollution and creating videos on social media. The Trash Hero movement has now been led by 13 young active branch chapters like Kyaw Zin Myo throughout Myanmar.
Kyaw Zin Myo’s activism for Climate issues and participation in Trash Hero has been recognized by different organizations working in the environmental sector. He was invited to the 2018 ADEX Singapore Ocean Festival as a young environmental conservationist. Also, the Myanmar Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Resource Management invited him to a World Environmental Day event to meet with the President of Myanmar.
“Picking plastic is not a solution, I knew it but taking action is better than words.”
Kyaw Zin Myo’s family and friends have always been his major contribution and support throughout his work at Trash Hero, Climate Talks, and also other campaigns. He mentioned that he sometimes encounters difficulties in sharing his beliefs about the environment with the older generations who hesitate to believe in young people’s ideas. With a strong belief that everyone, regardless of age, needs to be aware of environmental issues and takes action to bring a bigger change, he is always motivated to get involved in environmental activities.