WHENEVER we flick the remote control and go through the television channels, it’s hard not to take note of the news reports and documentaries on floods, droughts, famine, pollution and wildlife extinction.
The last decade had seen an increase in the number of media reports on environmental issues.
Whether you are in Asia, Europe, the United States or in the Middle East, environmental concerns vary and its far reaching impact on mankind has caused a great deal of concern.
The question remains — how much are we doing today to help address these environmental concerns? In Malaysia, some youths are striving to make a difference.
The annual Anugerah Hijau (Green Awards) competition, organised by local non-profit environmental organisation EcoKnights, is a platform that honours youths between the ages of 14 and 25.
It is helping youths to go green through creative projects such as filmmaking.
In its third year, the competition period ended early this year, with a selection of finalists who are now working on developing their film projects closely with filmmaking experts from Novista Sdn Bhd, the professional team behind documentaries such as Among the Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh, The Smart Tunnel and The Malayan Emergency.
Using film as a tool, the competition aims to address urgent local environmental issues from a creative perspective.
“Anugerah Hijau is a platform for youths to develop their ideas and understanding of green issues through a film competition,” said Fadly Bakhtiar, Anugerah Hijau programme director.
“They are exposed to a variety of issues where their talents are identified and enhanced to produce films about the environment. We hope to build more champions of the environment through this channel.”
One group of finalists currently working on their film call themselves “The Barsets”. Led by Shobaan Pillay from Perak, their film is called The Chase.
“It’s a short film which highlights the water crisis,” said Shobaan.
“The film takes the audience through a journey of the future of water on this planet. We hope that the film will project the subtle message on the need to really change our perspectives on how we use and manage our water resources.”
For 16-year-old finalist Stephanie Chua Yoke Ping and her team, they have named their film Hope Springs Eternal.
“Everyone has hopes and dreams. The video my team and I are working on is about a boy who wants to fulfil his dream as an environmentalist.
“As he grows up, he begins to see how he might not have the chance to achieve his dreams. The video is about his fight for the environment and his dreams.”
When asked about some of her challenges in producing the video, Chua admitted it was quite difficult juggling school and producing the video.
“I hope the video will achieve its objectives. It would be very fulfilling as we have been visualising the video in our heads for a long time. Naturally, we hope that the outcome would be impressive.
“We hope the video will create awareness in people and inspire them to be better inhabitants of this planet,” said Chua.
For local Kuala Lumpur team, Marguerite, they chose to produce a music video instead. Titled Saving the World, they want to inspire children to take a more proactive approach towards addressing environmental issues.
Group member Jasmin Irisha said: “Felix Mendelssohn once remarked that music is more specific about what it expresses than words written about those expressions could ever be. Music has the power to express, convey and elicit powerful emotions.
“Our group decided to produce a music video as we personally feel that music has the ability to influence people and make a difference.
“We also decided to use animation as we believe that a good visual that captivates the viewers can create a positive impact.
“The main objective of this video is to get our message across. The message that is embedded in the music video will plant the seeds of awareness in viewers on global warming and how it can be overcome.
“The targeted audience for this music video is children and teenagers.
Fadly said people must realise that in order to preserve the environment, they must start living sustainably from today.
“Thus, for this year, we are looking for the country’s best young film maker who can create a short film on the environment that is informative, engaging, and inspiring.”
Don’t miss the chance to watch the premier of these short films at the Eco Film Festival during Anugerah Hijau’s judging and awards ceremony on Oct 30 at Dewan Tunku Canselor, Universiti Malaya. Admission is free.
Anugerah Hijau is an EcoKnights’ Social Responsibility (SR) programme with partners like the CIMB Foundation, Shell Sustainable Development Grants, Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC), biohome (Lam Soon Products), Yuber and Spin.
For more information about EcoKnights and the organisation’s outreach and social responsibility programmes, go to http://www.ecoknights.org.my.
Read more: Youths’ green lessons to watch http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/40eco/Article/#ixzz1WzSDHRQQ