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COP26: How Mongolia's young people are leading on sustainability

Anudari from Raleigh Mongolia’s Urban Nomads campaign shares the impacts of their work in Mongolia and reflects on the COP26 climate summit.

Raleigh Mongolia’s Urban Nomads campaign is a project aimed at developing green businesses and eco-friendly and healthy lifestyles in the Mongolian countryside, therefore reducing the rural to urban migration, which is a direct contributor to Mongolia’s air and soil pollution. Anudari, a leading member of the campaign, shares more about the impacts of their projects in Mongolia and young voices are so important in light of the COP26 climate summit.

As part of Raleigh International’s Action Not Excuses campaign and the Urban Nomads project, 12 volunteers and 8 staff members travelled to Selenge-Buren village, Selenge soum of Bulgan Province, last August. During this year’s operation, in only 5 days, we successfully designed and built 2 composting toilet prototypes, and taken surveys on 30 local households, which is 50% of the local population.

Making an impact with Raleigh Mongolia

We have been working with the locals of Selenge-Buren village for 3 years now, and I’m happy to say that we have observed, via our survey results, a shift in people’s habits. More than 80% of the locals showed interest in using composting toilets—as opposed to the traditional long-drop toilet that has been used for centuries and is a cause for soil degradation—and almost half of those who were interested have received information from the projects and expeditions organized by Raleigh Mongolia. Hopefully, we’ll be able to expand our operation and reach to the neighboring villages in the future as well.

I believe the most important goal Urban Nomads and many other is to influence and shape the minds of the youths, to make them consider bigger and greater causes. With our Urban Nomads campaign, we want to inspire young people to see the possibility and relevance of sustainable lifestyles grounded in nature, and to understand that there’s more than one mode of development. We want our volunteers to see, in doing physical work and attending workshops, the balance between development and environment, urbanity and nomadism, a modern lifestyle and a healthy one.

As such, Raleigh Mongolia will continue to engage more young people in climate action with Urban Nomads. In line with our country’s commitment to tackle deforestation, Urban Nomads will shift more of its focus to tree planting projects in the upcoming year. Along with our main subject of WASH and development projects in the countryside, which we are planning to develop further after we receive initial feedback from our composting toilet prototypes.

COP26 shows young people must be involved in climate solutions

As COP26 progresses and we see world leaders try to tackle the age-old issue of economic growth versus environmental stability, I believe it is more relevant than ever to consider the alternative to what we’ve always seen as the way to progress, ie. economic and financial flourishment, and urban expansion. As we see thousands of young people strike against climate change in Glasgow and let their voices and frustration be heard, and countries putting more importance on climate change as a subject of education for the future generations, we see the importance of young people.

This is the earth that we’re inheriting, so we have the right to demand action to preserve it, if not restore it. But we also have the obligation to learn and take responsibility for the future ourselves. It is not just up to the governments and private sectors and stake-holders to hold the future, it is also up to us to decide what the future is going to be, which is why I believe it is important for young people in Mongolia to learn more about climate change and how we can build a future that sustains and grows with the environment, instead of depleting it.

We are going to be the leaders and decision-makers of the world in the future, so it is only right we are educated, involved and active in the climate action now.

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