The Green Desert Project begins…
In Sep 2002, Asian Journeys was invited by the local governments of Duolun and Dalateqi in Inner Mongolia to participate in tree-planting conservation program.
A site visit was made in September 2002 with a small team of enthusiasts to meet local officials and understand the proposed projects. Asian Journeys has embarked on organizing a 5-year program 2007-2011 to mobilize Singaporean youths in partnership with China youths from Beijing to participate in the Green Desert project viz., to plant trees both in Beijing and in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Small groups have visited the project sites since 2002.
Asian Journeys’ Green Desert Project was one of the projects highlighted at the National Youth Council YEP Networking Session on 6 Dec 2008 held at the NYC, Somerset Road. Over 40 youth leaders were invited by the YEP team to consider organizing youth expedition teams to various ASEAN countries as well as China and India.
Lawrence Ko, AJ’s ED, was one of the speakers who shared about youth social engagement through the YEP. Lawrence challenged the youth leaders, many of them who were finishing their military stints or were already in the universities, to get involved in social activism and organizing young people for community change.
Citing Reinhold Niebuhr, the great American thinker in the 20th C, Lawrence asserted that
“It is better to be creative than to be learned. Creativity is the essence of life.”
Creative action is needed in environmental projects.
There is much that can be done to study and understand the social challenges facing Asia and the environmental challenge is but one of these.
AJ’s Green Desert Club was launched in 2007 by a group of volunteers and YEP alumni. It has been an active platform for mobilizing volunteers to get involved in China projects especially the Green Desert project to help build the Great Green Wall of China through tree-planting in the northern provinces and countryside of China.
Since 2002, several AJ volunteer groups led by Lawrence Ko have visited the tree-planting project in Inner Mongolia to develop green projects. In Mar-Apr 2007, a Green Desert YEP participated in the tree-planting and environmental campaign in Beijing and the outskirts. In August 2009, Lawrence also led and facilitated a group of graduate students from UNISIM visiting Inner Mongolia on the Green Desert field trip. Two youth teams undertook the Green Desert project to plant 2000 trees in summer of 2010. 2012 was full of youth volunteers participating in this Green Desert Project. Youths from Bedok Methodist Church took this challenge in 2013. During summer time in 2014, two Green Desert YEP teams, Fellow of Evangelical Students and ITE went up to Inner Mongolia and planted close to 3000 tree saplings.
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