…BECAUSE WE MUST WORK TOGETHER FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD!
Being an introvert girl, I used to prevent public speaking. Along the time, I become comfortable with expressing opinions in front of people, but still like to keep my unique way of thinking: Writing an imaginary story in which I explore my arguments with an imaginary character – Sophie. Sophie always has a vintage look with curly blonde hair, wears big earrings, and appears with an empathic beautiful face. If you wonder who I am, please, follow the interview below between Sophie and me…
“It is around 4:30 pm. Linh gets out of the bus and tries to navigate the right way to the location of the interview. Google map shows that the building is somewhere along the river, inside a green area and near a small lake. The interview will be at 4:45 pm, so she is walking faster than her normal pace, but still notices the denuded trees standing starkly against cold winds; and leaves that not long ago were adorned with yellow color of autumn laying unblemished on the wet ground. This is an old building next to a boring car park. From signboards, she realizes that several organizations use it together with Global Landscape Forum – whom she has the interview with. Sophie opened the door and welcomes Linh with a calm appearance. They go to a small meeting room where Linh could see the lake and naked trees from the window. After a brief introduction, Sophie starts the first question with her silvery voice.
“Thank you for coming, Linh! First, could you please tell me what you are doing now?”.
Prepared this question, Linh answers enthusiastically:
“This year, I see myself as a climate protector. Am one of 18 fellows under the International Climate Protection Fellowship funded by a research foundation here in Germany. My main concern is how to build the adaptive capacity of both local communities and of the forest itself to climate change. One of the solutions is to engage and empower local communities into forestry activities. Here, one promising strategy is the promotion of community-based forestry. However, different models of community-based forestry exist! Am trying to identify which model could be effective in Viet Nam.”
Sophie asks: “What did you mean by “local communities”? Why do they need to be engaged in the process?”
Sitting opposite to the window, Linh inattentively looks outside: It starts raining.
“Yes. Local communities are quite contextual. In Viet Nam, they are indigenous people or the poor who live dependently on forest resources on a daily basis. For example, they collect mushrooms, medicinal plants, fire wood, fruits, bamboo shoots for their consumption or for selling in local market. They are the ones who will be poorer and disadvantaged if the forest is no longer. Local communities also include households practicing forest plantation and extracting timber for commercial purposes, albeit on a small scale. They are the ones who could help stop deforestation and improve the forest quality. That is why we need them engaged in the process!”
Linh sees a mutual understanding in Sophie’s face. She believes that Sophie also has a “green heart”; one that cares for nature and believes in the power of collective action by the people.
Sophie suddenly turns her head, looking outside as if she feels the weather change: “Your research is aligned with our agenda. I would like to ask why you choose this topic? Any stories to share?”
Linh recalls her happy childhood. Her family has lived on a small hill. Every day, she played in the forest with friends. They climbed trees, tasted the sour wild mulberries, picked colorful wild flowers and sometimes got bitten by bees. For a long time, she knew that she was born to love nature. She feels so bad that her childhood hill is now destroyed because neighbors cut down trees and built concrete houses.
“I always love nature… flowers, trees, animals, mountains, sea… I adore their beauty and I hate whatever or whoever destroys their beauty. After graduated from the University, I was supposed to be a translator, but I deliberately looked for jobs where I could “save the world”. You know how excited and dreamy a 22-year-old girl could be…”
Sophie laughs comfortably: “Yeah, I was the same 22 years ago!”
“I got into a small local NGO where they fought to combat illegal wildlife trading in Viet Nam. My team worked hard and whenever we could, saving a monkey, a turtle or a bear felt like being super-heroines. I remembered we were so angry with people who, regardless intentionally or unintentionally, committed the crimes. In our opinion, we wanted them punished for their cruelty and illicit actions on animals. I was like that for 2 years, until one day I looked at the increasing numbers of crimes and asked myself: why do we keep doing the right thing and with so much effort, but the situation only gets worse?… I moved to Germany to study public policy because I thought the reasons were from governments and enforcement of regulations. Upon my return, I worked in Bangkok where I realized an important shift of mindset: human beings are changing this planet and we must work together to save it. I turned from “hating people” based on their illicit activities to “engaging people” to take good actions. Simply, I changed from bitterly complaining on everything to quietly improving myself and inspiring others by my transformation. I decided to become a change agent. My “dream world” is not only consisting of amazing nature but also where people can live sustainably and in harmony with nature. I dream about a society, where numerous opportunities are provided to people for making decent decisions.”
Her enthusiastic energy always shows obviously when she talks about meaning of life experiences. Her cheeks turn red. Her eyes are sparkling as they are lifted by a light beam. Sophie observes these facial changes and thinks: “Oh, this girl is a curious and positive learner.”
“We definitely need people like you. You know that you may engage into social media. Do you have personal experience?”
Linh loves reading and writing. Despite that fact that English is not her native language, she has published several research papers with her previous organizations.
“I do not know whether academic papers could count as social media?”, she smiles, “but I am running a personal blog, Green News To Share, on green development in English and Vietnamese. As I wanted to become a change agent, I constantly update and share ideas with my online family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances via personal contacts or social networks. I published my writings in national forums for young viewers. As an alumnus of educational organizations and NGOs, I participate in discussions and events on green development, climate change and education for sustainability. Lately, I was interviewed by the Viet Nam National Television as one of young Vietnamese researchers in Germany…”
Sophie teases: “So you are kind of famous now?”
Linh answers with a big smile: “No, but many people have read my blog after this interview…”
Outside rain stops. The sky becomes amazingly clear while dusk is falling.
Sophie asks: “Final question: Why do you think we should select you?”. She recalls all the interviews she has done over the past 20 years. She expects an authentic answer for final score.
“Because I care for this Earth and have ability to inspire people to save it with me!”
Name, nationality and age: Linh Bui, Vietnamese, 30
Country in which you currently live: Germany
Which organization you work for, or which university you study at: Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Your mother tongue: Vietnamese
Other languages: you are fluent in: English [fluent], German [Intermediate]