Written by Yuri Pratama Widiyana
Reviewed by Pavarot Noranarttragoon, PhD and Ratchada Arpornsilp
On this project, we have the opportunity to engage with the sea gypsy communities and create some activities with the young generations of the sea gypsy. The activities aimed to generate awareness about the surrounding environment and climate-relevant issues. It also incorporated some practical knowledge on how we can live in a sustainable way, thus contributing to the fights against climate change.
We were lucky enough to get full support from the local schools and teachers to facilitate the sessions in both Phra Thong Island and Surin Island. Both are in Phang Nga province of Southern Thailand. In Phra Thong Island, we conducted the session with around 15 kids of mixed Moken and Moklen backgrounds from the Lions Village. The Lions Village was named after the foundation that supported the village’s resettlement and housing program post-Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. Meanwhile, in Surin Island, we had a bigger group with around 36 students attending the session at the Moken Community Learning Center. Surin Island is a part of Mu Koh Surin National Park and the Moken community on the island has become a tourist destination site.
The session starts with some ice-breaking activities. Using the “sinking sandal island” game, the kids could imagine how the sea level rise would reduce the land-based space of their island as we removed the sandal out one by one. The next activities are the “environment art” in which the students draw the animals, plants, or activities that they loved to do in the surrounding nature and then they presented their drawings in front of their classmates.
The EnvirArt activities in Surin Island
Most of the students were enthusiastic to share what they loved to do in nature or simply draw kinds of animals they saw in nature. It is so encouraging to see them keenly explain what they love to do in nature or the animals they fond of. Some of them draw pictures of school or fishing activities. Others draw birds and even sharks. These drawings gave us a glimpse of how the students perceived the surrounding nature and gave a good foundation for the next activity to share about simple actions to conserve nature, the things that they love, and wish to take care of.
Sharing the story in Surin Island and Phra Thong Island
The session ended with a message to start taking actions and care for the nature and environment. Daily simple actions that can bring a difference to the environment were brought up, ranging from waste collection and separation to using energy saver light bulbs. Or in terms of the sea gypsy lifestyle, how they can do fishing in a sustainable way, for instance. Hopefully, through these activities, the future generations of Moken and Moklen people become more interested to know and be aware about environmental issues and climate change.
Group picture: in Surin Island and Phra Thong Island
*This blog series is developed under the Collaboration Grant of the Climate Reality Australia and Pacific branch, sponsored by The Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation and Climate Reality Australia. The team is composed of climate reality leaders from Indonesia (Amanda Katili and Yuri Pratama Widiyana) and Thailand (Pavarot Noranarttragoon and Ratchada Arpornsilp).