A decade of community engagement for energy solutions begins in Vietnam

Nóng” (Hot) – the National Day of Action for Climate and Energy held on November 10 in Phu My Hung Area in Ho Chi Minh City was one of the highlights of Vietnam Power Shift. The event was open from 9AM to 4PM to the public and aimed to raise the awareness on climate impacts and introduce the locals to sustainable energy solutions through exciting creative activities and arts.

While most of people believe that Vietnam needs a lot more coal and fossil fuels for its economic growth in the decades to come, members of Vietnam Power Shift had a different point of view. Being young and creative, they were able to engage a number of young artists to join in a series of artistic activities to convey their messages. These inspired members of 350 Vietnam’s newly established NAAC (Network of Artists Acting for Climate) used large spaces of the event venue to maximize their creativity.

In addition to an impressive photo exhibition with photos donated from Greenpeace and 350.org, the young artists set up inspiring art installations that depicted the negative impacts of coal on the heath of human and environment. Attendants to the event especially enjoyed playing a special Noughts and Crosses Game where the noughts were pieces of coal and crosses were symbolic solar cookers, to reflect the intensity of the opposition of these two forces in our real life.


(Photo: Vu Chanh Luan)

Vietnam Power Shift does not intend to only raise the awareness, but also to demonstrate that renewable energies to replace dirty energies could be possible for normal people’s life. Solar cookers were set up at the venue and were used to cook vegetarian dishes for all attendants to try. It was in fact very fortunate for the event team as the super typhoon Haiyan was supposed to hit the country on that exact day, but it had changed the direction and went North, so Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) enjoyed a beautiful sunny days that made the solar banquet a truly fascinating experience for the participants.

Another highlight of the day was the “Solar Chef” cooking competition, where three teams selected from the previous online selection rounds competed in three hours making vegetarian dishes on the solar cookers. The jury of the competition was Ms. Phan Tôn Tịnh Hải, the renown judge of MasterChef Vietnam 2013-2014, Headmaster of Mint Culinary School, who shared her thoughts:

This event is such a significant activity in the context of the warming planet and the current extreme weather events. I am aware dining could be a key factor affecting the climate. Everything from choosing your kitchen appliances, the ingredients, to the way you use energy to cook and eat, all will have positive or negative impacts on the planet”.


(Photo: Tran Huyen Trang)

Right now, 350 Vietnam is discussing with Ms. Tịnh Hải possibilities to insert energy and climate related contents to the next MasterChef Vietnam season. A video of true stories of sufferings of frontline communities throughout Vietnam was shown and induced strong emotions among the participants. The mood was lifted up right after that by a happy speech of a farmer from Bac Lieu Province who shared her happiness about the new wind power plant in her province.

And of course a public event of 350 Vietnam could not be without its famous celebrity Ambassadors. If you attended Global Power Shift in Istanbul earlier this year, you may still remember the 350 Celebration song that was played at one of the plenaries and later performed live at the closing ceremony by its composer – singer-musician Thanh Bui and his team member Thanh Van who wrote the lyrics. At Nóng, Thanh showed up again sharing his concerns about the recent climate disasters and calling for young people to get engaged in Vietnam Power Shift in different ways.

The 350 Celebration song’s Vietnamese version was performed by Thanh Bùi and his students from The Voice Kids who are already very concerned about the planet’s problems at their young age. Other Goodwill Ambassadors of Vietnam Power Shift – Hà Okio, Hoàng Bách, Acoustic Band and Lý Lệ Quyêns Band … also joined the concert and spread the message for actions.


(Photo: Vu Chanh Luan)

Ms. Hong Hoang, 350.org Southeast Asia Coordinator said in her speech at the event:

Vietnam is trying to adapt to climate change, but we also need to make much stronger mitigation efforts. We can only win this battle if we can engage the local communities in providing and adopting sustainable energy solutions and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. If Vietnamese farmers could create so many great inventions in agriculture in the past decades, I believe they can invent renewable energy alternatives in the decades to come.

The Day of Action was a key event of Vietnam Power Shift’s Phase I, to follow up with the outstanding successes of the campaign’s previous events: the National Climate Leadership Workshop I AM A CLIMATE CITIZEN held in early October that engaged 60 climate leaders from 20 cities and provinces, and a Press Conference held in September to launch the 2-year campaign.

Vietnam Power Shift is an ambitious youth-led campaign on climate change and energy, coordinated by 350.org Vietnam under the patron of CHANGE (a local NGO working on climate change and youth empowerment), and has received support from HCMC’s Climate Change Department and major media partners – Tuoi Tre Newspaper, VTV6, VOH. Other sponsors of the campaign included Samdhana Institute, Phu My Hung Development Company, Soul Music Academy, ERC Institute, 2U, Pepsico, URC Vietnam, Zodiac, Anh Duong Co Ltd