Social media is a key medium for raising awareness of environmental protection issues – globally and at home in Cambodia, according to those involved with environment protection.
Speaking on the occasion of Earth Day 2022, the Young Eco Ambassador (YEA), a community aiming to empower, inspire and educate Cambodia about a more sustainable way of living, presented a number of recommendations on how to easily participate in protecting the environment in the Kingdom, using social media. The recommendations were made under the theme ‘Invest in our planet’.
“There are many challenges to overcome in Cambodia. Despite many movements promoting green lifestyles and proper disposal of waste, the majority of Cambodians still throw rubbish and plastic everywhere. We put a lot of effort into awareness-related, waste-related, behavior changes and into improving waste management systems in the community,” said Ms. Vin Puthealy, Project coordinator at Young Eco Ambassadors.
The YEA considers awareness raising, disseminating information and then taking action to be the key to protecting Cambodia’s environment. They use online tools to help drive the change among young people in the city and rural communities, to help them become role models on how to live in a more harmonized way with nature and to take the lead in environmental project activities in their own community.
“We believe that social media has a crucial role to raise awareness, spread information, and encourage people to take action. It has been a platform for us to share content and connect with young people who are interested in taking part in our project activities.” Ms. Vin said.
Youth Eco Ambassador executes online awareness campaigns on social media platforms and their website to reach a greater young Cambodian audience, provide information, and call for action. They explain that digital space can be used to highlight different angles of environmental issues, and capture stories to inspire Cambodian Youth.
In addition, social media helps to interact with youth at a deeper level, also thanks to a variety of channels including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, IG direct messaging, Groups, Pages, Events and more.
Since 2015, YEA has run a number of different digital campaigns including youth programs to limit the use of plastic, more sustainable lifestyle and wildlife support. They have created learning kits, organized exhibitions, storytelling events, film festivals and also cooperated with KOLs involved in environment protection, such as the Green Lady.
“First you need to understand the social and cultural context of your audience, the issues and solutions you are trying to promote, then you can come up with insightful and creative environmental content for the audience, ” Ms. Vin added.
Where can you find inspiration?
There are a number of different groups on Cambodia social media that people can visit and learn about environment protection or take part, including MekongWonders.org, Young Eco Ambassador, Green for Future Cambodia, Think Plastic, Dek Kit, ZeroW or conservation organizations such as WWF, Wildlife Alliance and Wildlife Conservation Society.
More than 400,000 Cambodians are part of at least one Facebook group dedicated to the discovery, protection and appreciation of the earth and our environment. On top of that, there are more than 250 businesses on Instagram in Cambodia that describe themselves as eco-friendly.
Everyone can show their support by using Instagram stickers, Facebook profile frames and stickers on Messenger just for Earth Day. Facebook users can visit the Climate Science Center to learn about everyday actions they can take and learn more about global and local environment protection. People can also shop sustainably by choosing secondhand products on Facebook Marketplace instead of new ones, everyone can use Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell secondhand items in your local community and beyond, for example bicycles, plants, clothes and more.