Viktoriya Kang, EAAFP intern
Topic of the lecture:
Chocolate and migratory waterbirds: Can you see the world behind the product?
The State University of New York in Korea
42 High School students from Yeonsu-gu, Incheon
On 4 August 2017, Tomoko Ichikawa, Communication Officer at EAAFP, visited the State University of New York in Korea to deliver a special lecture on environmental issues. The lecture was attended by 42 students from different high schools in Incheon as well as several organizer representatives. The aim of the lecture was to provide high school students with the knowledge that will enable them to participate actively in a debate about environmental issues.
The lecture covered environmental issues such as migratory waterbirds and their habitats, the importance of ecosystems and their services, the role of forests, rivers to connect forests to the sea, the use of palm oil, and development of oil palm plantation. Tomoko pointed out that unsustainable use of natural resources leads to environmental degradation, loss of habitats for many species of animals resulting in the disturbance of natural ecosystems. The rich tidal flats that support migratory waterbird migration can only be developed where the healthy ecosystem of the upper stream is secured.
The lecture material provided a video made in Kinabatangan’s river basin area of Sabah, Malaysia that represented the effects of the unsustainable use of natural resources on the environment as well as on local people’s lives. As an example of unsustainable consumer choice, Tomoko presented the use of palm oil which can be found in various products used in our everyday life. Students were given different snacks, cups of noodles and beauty products that contain palm oil. Tomoko emphasised that citizens can change the world by more closely examining the products that we buy.
Eugene Cheah, the photographer at EAAFP gave an interview as a native Malaysian from Sabah State. He shared his opinion that we cannot just blame palm oil since it is important for Malaysia’s economy, but we need to try to be more sustainable in our resource use. Tomoko introduced products with certification such as RSPO certification and Rainforest Alliance certification. After the lecture, students shared their comments and ideas highlighting the need for a sustainable consumer choice that is less harmful to our environment. In addition, a student mentioned that he will keep migratory waterbirds in mind while making his choices in the future.
Organizer representatives and EAAFP intern Viktoriya Kang assisted Tomoko to make the lecture interesting and engaging. And EAAFP photographer Eugene Cheah took pictures to preserve the memory of the event.