On April 20, 2019, 2 days prior to Earth Day, the 4th Academy in Taiwan took place. The event was carried out by tech company GIGABYTE, located at the the College of Commerce of National Chengchi University (NCCU).
A total of 114 children attended the Academy. These children came from 13 elementary schools, including Shuang Feng, Haishan, Qing-Tan and Tucheng in New Taipei City, and Wanxing, Jingmei, Bojia, Taoyuan, Muzha, Wenhua and Lixing in Taipei City. Big thanks goes to Qing-Tan and Tucheng Elementary Schools as it is their 2nd time supporting the event.
After the welcome speech, the full attention of the children turned to a presentation "Now We Children Save the World!" given by two 12-year-old Climate Justice Ambassadors, Tzu-Yu and Yu-Chen. After the speech, they raised several questions for children to see if their speech was clear and understandable. Every question was well answered, showing that the audience was quite inspired by their moving speech.
For the World Game all children were divided into 10 groups, 10-12 children per group, in the following group activities of the day. As in the past, each group was led by 2 co-moderators from NCCU.
Following the procedure of Plant-for-the-Planet Academy, the first group activity was the World Game. With the lead by 2 co-moderators, children learned about the uneven distribution of population, wealth and CO2 emissions in the world. They were first asked to spread tokens on a world map to show what they thought about the distribution of global population, wealth and CO2 emission in the world. Milk caramels symbolized wealth, while the chocolates symbolized CO2 emissions. From the game, children understood how population, wealth and CO2 emissions actually distribute worldwide, and the inequity that most of the carbon emissions are generated by the rich.
After the game, children learned about 9 climate impacts that we have heard the most worldwide. Children in cities of Taiwan are generally less aware of issues such as poverty, landslide, and drought. However, they can feel that the summer is getting hotter and hotter as well as the government often appeals to the public for saving water especially in winter and spring. We reminded the children that these problems are all happening around us.
The Rhetoric Training´s goal was to train children how to speak and persuade others to know the importance of tree-planting. First, the co-moderators briefly introduced why a skill to give a speech was so important. Afterwards, the children shared their opinions on the traits of a good speech versus a bad speech. Each child then received a card with an image on the one side and a text explaining the image on another side. After reading the text to understand the meaning of the image, each child presented to his/her peers. Co-moderators and other children gave feedback to his/her performance.
What surprised us was that many children have had experiences in delivering public speech on stage before. 10 children were selected from each group to become speakers for the Climate Justice Ambassador Speech at the evening presentation.
After lunch and a brief break, children moved to a corner on the campus right next to the Jingmei River dike. Their mission was to plant 30 plants of Camellia Japonica by the sidewalk. Camellia Japonica is commonly seen in East Asia such as Southern Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan. Mr. Rolance CHU taught children how to plant a tree step by step. The children were then responsible for digging, planting, and filling soil. The tree-planting finished soon in 30 minutes. Most of the children touched the soil directly during the activity. Mr. Rolance reminded that although the soil looks black and dirty, it is the mother of our food. We should be thankful to the soil for bringing nutrition to humans.
After the tree planting, the Academy proceeded to World Café and Work in School Group. In the first round, the children worked in groups to brainstorm on how they could motivate parents, teachers, other children, and even media and politicians to join a climate action initiated by them. They also discussed on how to organize a tree planting event. In the send round, children were regrouped by the schools, so that they could draw up an action plan with peers from the same school. Their plans included how they could organize the events, where to find the right resource, the schedule of implementation, as well as what outcome they expected. They wrote their plans on paper posters with assistance by co-moderators, so that they could present the poster to adults at the final presentation.
At the same time, the 10 children picked from Rhetoric Training in the morning moved to a separate classroom. Led by moderator Li-Shan, Ni Ni and Yi-Fen, they practiced giving the Climate Justice Ambassador Speech at the evening presentation.
All children and adults gathered again at the E-sun Hall again for the exciting Evening Presentation. The moderators first invited the 10 presenters to give the speech “Now We Children Save the World!". The 10 speakers showed more confidence in themselves on the stage than during the practice. They successfully completed the whole presentation within 30 minutes.
After the presentation, children from each school came on to the stage to present their action plans. Their plans included planting trees on their campuses, giving speeches to their presidents and teachers, carrying out waste-removing competitions, and so on. Some schools even set up a precise number of trees they will aim to plant on the campus in the future. Finally, the moderators summed up the evening presentation and encourage all children to remember what they learned from today and do bring actual actions back to their schools and families.
By the end of the one-day Academy, 114 children received Climate Justice Ambassador certificates. Each of them received a book “Tree-by-Tree”, which would tell them more stories about the Plant-for-the-Planet and the “Stop Talking. Start Planting” Campaign.
GIGABYTE Technology and GIGABYTE Education Foundations are corporate partners and main organizers of the Plant-for-the-Planet Academies in Taiwan. GIGABYTE has committed to holding at least 5 Academies by 2019 and empowering at least 250 Climate Justice Ambassadors in Taiwan. By the end of this Academy, a total of 321 children have been trained as Climate Justice Ambassadors in Taiwan.
Apart from GIGABYTE and GIGABYTE Education Foundation, National Chengchi University (NCCU) was the most important partner of the fourth Academy. GIGABYTE and the College of Commerce of NCCU have long maintained a close industry-academia partnership. GIGABYTE is often selected as an exemplary case by the college in terms of sustainable business management and social corporate responsibility.
Special thanks go to the 30 students from NCCU who voluntarily serve as co-moderators and assistants at this Academy. The training of 114 children could have not been possible without their great help.
Last but not the least, special thanks go to Plant-for-the-Planet Team Adelya Salakhutdinova, Karim Kaamel, Marina Edelmann and Anne Koch for guiding and supporting the implementation of Academy in Taiwan, and on top of that, to Ni Ni and Li-Shan Huang for moderating the Academy.
We would like to thank all those who supported and involved in this wonderful Academy. This was a very good start in 2019. Your support and encouragement are all great power to GIGABYTE to move forward and make more efforts in climate education in Taiwan.
And if you would also like to become a Climate Justice Ambassador, apply here.