Ideas for sustainability
What is sustainable development? The phrase occurs regularly
in the media but it means many things to many people, including
pollution, economic policy, urban development and social
welfare. Young people need to understand all the interpretations
and their ramifications in order to be able to take responsible
action within the community. That is why HKFYG devised
a competition to focus young people's minds and encourage
them to come up with constructive ideas.
We talked to
the two most outstanding teams among this year's 116 entrants.
was a group of vibrant young people already
working in Hong Kong's transport sector. Their exciting proposal
is called Creative - Crossover: EcoMile. It revolves
around the concept of the Eco-footprint - or the environmental
by humanity upon the part of the world it occupies for any given
activity. Transport causes 48% of all negative environmental impact
worldwide. The members of this team are all working in the transport
sector so they are very aware of how urgently this sensitive issue
team has proposed three ways of making modes of transport more
sustainable through a series of workable public policy measures.
The most ingenious and probably most effective is a variable credit/debit
system, dependent on the relative pollution caused by alternative
modes of transport. Another option is a simpler direct levy based
on the same criteria. We asked how they came up with the idea.
Raymond Lau who works for the MTR said:
Joey So, our fourth team member from Cathay Pacific, at the
Dragons in China programme last September. That
was when the idea to enter the competition took off and it turned
out to be fun for such a serious project.”
did our brainstorming and research in the autumn,"said Shirley
Lam from KCRC. "Once
we had the idea roughly mapped out we got
together - I happened to be in hospital at the time! - and we
worked out how to make people aware of the problem."
Kevin Man who
works with Raymond for the MTR said:
"The competitive aspect gave us a lot of motivation
but the main reason we chose this particular topic is because
it is so important
that Hong Kong sorts out the problem of pollution. It's also
a fascinating problem for us to tackle because we all work in
the transport sector."
The second team was from Immanuel Lutheran College. Dolphin Chow
Hoi-man and Wong Tsui-ping found out about the PIA competition
at the Leadership 21 Youth Forum on Sustainable Development (SD)
last December. Then they devised their project called CSI (Concern
for SD in Ideal World), which focuses on redevelopment of the Cheung
Sha Wan vacant industrial area. Their interest in public policy
mounted during intensive research into the concepts behind SD.
As another team member, Yung Wei-shan, Kitty commented:
did not know what SD meant before. This project not only motivated
to find out
but also aroused a real interest in current affairs.
That has made me feel much more like a true citizen of Hong Kong."
One member of the team had noticed the problems of urban decay
in the Cheung Sha Wan factory area on his way to church. Wong Siu-kan
familiar with the area because I pass through it on Sundays.
I think redevelopment
would be so good, bringing vitality
and life back to the district".
decided to demolish many of the buildings and replace them with
housing but there's been no action. Meantime,
the need for more public housing has declined along with the birthrate.
The team has worked out alternative, creative ways for revitalizing
Many of the
buildings are long disused, dilapidated factories with just a
occupied by relatively elderly residents.
The team's vision is to make the area into a recreational park
with facilities not only for senior citizens but also for young
people, thus bringing new life back into a shabby district. Outdoor
and indoor facilities would include a spa, physiotherapy centre
and Chinese medicine clinic as well as room for performances of
Cantonese opera and band practices.
the first group to propose such a redevelopment of the old factory
area. It could be a place catering for the needs
of the elderly and the young. Both our creative and analytical
skills came into play during the research and planning," said
Suitable infrastructure factors include the proximity of the nearby
West Kowloon Cultural District which will bring improved transport
services. Environmental factors in favour of the proposal are urban
clean-up and replacement with green areas which will improve air
quality in the district and encourage young and old alike to take
advantage of the recreational facilities.
ideas are innovative and creative but they are also practical
with existing policy. Asked what they would
like to see happening next all team members hoped they could pursue
their ideas further through the corridors of power - another of
the outcomes that the Federation envisaged for this exciting programme.