Student journalists learn about climate change [Archives:2007/1040/Local News]

April 9 2007

By: Moneer Al-Omari
Students from across Yemen and the Gulf recently participated in regional workshop on climate change conducted by the Yemen-based British Council. The students were chosen from schools in Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Tim Radford of the Guardian newspaper and Alex Kirby of the BBC lectured during the workshop directed at “Tomorrow's Journalists.”

The workshop aimed to teach the young journalists the basics of writing articles about environmental issues and then reflecting them in school publications and newspapers. It also sought to help the students understand environmental problems and communicate them to the public. Thus, they can share their similar experiences, particularly since they are from the same region where the environmental concerns are nearly the same.

Further, the workshop was an extension of a climate project conducted last June, July and September in Mukalla. Entitled “South, North, East and West,” the project also included an exhibition of lectures and photographs on climate change. Additionally, the British Council delegated 12 leading photographers to document climate change across the globe.

To their surprise, they discovered shocking realities about Earth's climate and environmental situation, with one finding that Mount Kilimanjaro's peak no longer has ice. They also discovered that ice at both poles is melting, thus raising sea levels and leading to more floods.

At a reception honoring Tomorrow's Journalists last Monday, Kirby commented that the environment should concern everyone, maintaining that more attention should be given to the environment in order to diminish the risky effects incurred by humanity.

He added that it's necessary to cause the public to have a sense of these problems; therefore, young journalists can reflect such concerns in their school publications. Their stories also can find their way to local newspapers and magazines in their home countries.

At the reception, Minister of Water and Environment Abdurrahman Fadhl Al-Eryani stressed that the present generation should take care of the younger ones, maintaining that we shouldn't let them down. In this regard, he hinted at Yemen's water crisis resulting from citizens' unwise use of water.

Al-Eryani noted that there should be partnership between countries, adding that environmental consideration should be done at a regional level, as any harm in one country will affect others.

He further asserted that many Arab problems stem from lack of awareness, explaining that such a workshop helps raise awareness and spread a culture of environmental protection.

For her part, Yemen's British Council Director Elizabeth White pointed out that the council, which operates in 102 nations worldwide, has exerted much effort to spread awareness about climate change and its future risks.

She went on to say that the students were brought together in Yemen to learn about environmental problems resulting from fuel over consumption and pollution ensuing from oil extraction and treatment operations, pointing out that they are the ones who will live with the consequences and be affected by environmental problems.

“We should give more attention to the environment. Every nation should engage in such a process because we all live on one planet,” White concluded.