COASTAL KIDS PROJECT
No environmental issue is likely to impact upon the children of today more than climate change. Throughout the world, temperatures and sea levels are rising, climate-induced environmental changes are causing drought, ever more severe storms, and people in growing numbers are beginning to face the prospect of climate displacement forced to flee their homes because of climate change.
While everyone, everywhere is affected in some way by the effects of climate change, it is the children of today, their children and then their grandchildren who are likely to face the worst consequences of environmental change, even if the more moderate predictions of sea-level rise and related changes to the climate come to pass. Should global temperatures increase by 2°C in the coming decades as is commonly assumed, this will mean (among other things) a sea level rise of anywhere between 30cm – 90cm by the year 2100, if not more. If seas do indeed rise by this amount, the human effects of displacement, relocation, lost income, lost properties and lost livelihoods will inevitably be massive.
And yet, climate change is anything but a futuristic proposition. Indeed, climate change and its effects are already well underway throughout the world with people in a number of countries already grappling with displacement, future resettlement and slowly eroding standards of living. This is particularly true in countries such as Bangladesh, Kiribati, Maldives, Papua New Guineas and Tuvalu, all of which, like Australia, are located within the Asia-Pacific region. Displacement Solutions Australia has worked in these countries and maintains close partnerships with local grassroots groups, school officials and Government representatives in each of these nations.
The Coastal Kids Project will be carried out from 2012-2015 and initially connect schools and students living in coastal areas in Bangladesh with schools and students in Australia who are also coastal dwellers. Using communications technology such as Skype and other forms of internet-based connections and learning, the Coastal Kids Project will bring children from these countries into direct face-to-face contact during which time they can discuss the reality of climate change, learn how climate change is affecting them and what kids in all of these countries can do to better understand the needs and wishes of coastal kids everywhere. In time, the Coastal Kids Project will seek to involve six to eight schools from other countries that are also vulnerable to climate change.
The Coastal Kids Project has already been initiated by Displacement Solutions Australia in one school – Sorrento Primary School – in Sorrento, Victoria in Australia. Displacement Solutions Australia has provided talks on climate change to students from grades three and four, including a presentation by a leading climate change campaigner from Bangladesh, Mr. Muhammad Abu Musa, the founder and director of the Association for Climate Refugees. The students and teachers who attended these presentations were enthusiastic, engaging and all expressed an interest in expanding the project further.
We believe that putting children in direct contact with children in other countries using the topic of climate change as the discussion centerpiece serves a variety of very useful purposes for children on both sides of the discussion. These face-to-face exchanges will greatly assist in facilitating understanding by students in Australia of the real life challenges facing coastal dwellers in other countries in the developing world, and simultaneously encourage learning about how actions and consumption patterns in wealthier countries can directly impact on people elsewhere on the planet. The project will also build important international friendships and partnerships that can inform students’ perspectives throughout their lives, and can assist in building bridges of hope between developed countries and those frontline countries struggling against the reality of climate change.
To find out more about the Coastal Kids Project, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACTIVITIES OF THE INITIATIVE
CLIMATE CHANGE ART COMPETITION HELD IN COASTAL KIDS SCHOOL IN BANGLADESH, JANUARY 2014
On 22 January 2014, YPSA and William Carey Academy, Chittagong, Bangladesh jointly organised a Climate Change Art Competition with the support of the Coastal Kids Project. Students from classes 5 and 6 of William Carey Academy enthusiastically participated in this competition which focused on the topic of “Climate Change and Climate Displaced Peoples”. This was designed to build awareness about climate change and encourage students to engage further with this issue, which is already posing a serious threat to thousands, if not millions, of people throughout Bangladesh.
Of the 50 students that participated in the competition, 10 students were awarded for outstanding performance. First, second and third place were awarded to Adeeb Chowdury, Raima Mallick and Agatha Talapatra respectively. DS would like to congratulate all of the 50 students who participated in this competition for their remarkable efforts. Keep up the great work!
COASTAL KIDS CLIMATE CHANGE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION, DECEMBER 2013
For the 2013 Coastal Kids Competition, Year 5 and 6 students from Sorrento Primary School were asked to use original, locally shot photographs to show what climate change means in practice and how it affects children from coastal communities.
Over 70 highly creative and original entries were received making it an extremely difficult challenge for the judges to choose just a few winners amongst so many great entries.
To read the full report about this competition, please click here.
COASTAL KIDS DEBATE IN CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH, OCTOBER 2013
On 3rd October at Chittagong Police Institution Auditorium, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), based in Chittagong, Bangladesh, hosted a schools debate on how climate change affects their immediate area.
Sitakund Girls School defeated P.H. Amin Academy in the final round to become Champions of the Coastal Kids Debate Competition 2013. The topic for the final round was “Climate Change is responsible for tidal flooding at Chittagong city.”
Eight schools participated in the Coastal Kids debate competition, with students from classes 6-8: CDA Public School and College, Halishahar PH Amin Academy, Saint Plasid High School, Chittagong Police Institutions, Sitakund Girls School, Sitakund Govt. Adarsha School, Mirarsarai Pailot High School and Mirarshari Sarkerhat High School.
YPSA arranged the Coastal Kids debate competition with the support of Displacement Solutions.
Read more about the Coastal Kids Chittagong Debate.
COASTAL KIDS CLIMATE CHANGE WRITING COMPETITION, DECEMBER 2012
Students in Year 5 and 6 from Sorrento Primary School in Victoria, Australia and the William Carey Academy in Chittagong, Bangladesh were invited to write a 500-word essay on the topic of “What Climate Change Means to Me, My Community, My Country and My World” as part of the First Annual Coastal Kids Writing competition run by Displacement Solutions.
More than 70 essays were submitted by the students from Sorrento Primary, who range in age from 10 to 12 years old, and were evaluated by a panel of teachers and representatives from Displacement Solutions based on their creativity, quality of writing and genuine effort.
To find out more about this competition, click here.
Tom Maltby won first place in the Coastal Kids Writing Competition
FIRST ONLINE CONVERSATION BETWEEN SCHOOLS FROM AUSTRALIA AND BANGLADESH, SEPTEMBER 2012
The first online conversation between Sorrento Primary School in Australia and William Carey Academy in Bangladesh was held on 4 September 2012 and was a huge success, with students presenting and engaging in dialogue about everyday life and the impact of climate change in their own country for over an hour. To view photos and find more about this exciting event, click here.
COASTAL KIDS ARTICLE IN THE PENINSULA WEEKLY, JULY 2012
A short piece about the launch of the Coastal Kids Project in Sorrento Primary School featured in Peninsula Weekly on 4 July 2012. Access it here.