AUN-EEC organizes conference to cultivate ecological mindsets and lifestyles amidst climate change crisis

By Sharon G. Weenas and Rocio Maria Francesca Tabamo, AUN Interns
Edited by Phasawit Jutatungcharoen, Programme Officer
1 December 2020

The ASEAN University Network (AUN-EEC) Conference on Ecological Education and Culture: Cultivating Ecological Mindsets and Lifestyles was held online on 17 November 2020. It was hosted by Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and the AUN-EEC Secretariat, with the aim of promoting the practice of sustainable and ecologically responsible behavior, especially in the Southeast Asian region. The event garnered over 500 students, faculty, professionals, and AUN representatives from the ASEAN region through various online channels. The first part of the conference consisted of plenary sessions in the morning, which included a keynote lecture and two panel discussions that highlighted environmental education. The keynote lecture was presented by Ms. Anna Oposa of Save Philippine Seas (SPS), discussing her work in educating and empowering people in protecting marine resources.

This was followed by the first panel discussion under the theme “Towards Ecological Culture”, including Dr. Kendra Gotangco Gonzales (ADMU), Ms. Maggie Lee (UNEP), and Fr. Albert Alejo (ADMU). Much of this revolved around the issue of changing worldviews as well as societal understanding of development. The second panel followed under the theme of “Current EEC Initiatives in AUN Universities”, presented by Md. Shahariar Chowdhury (Songkla University) on solar technology recycling, Ms. Sadaf Ansari on developing sustainable practices in the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Ms. Abigail Marie T. Favis (ADMU) on a hidden curriculum within a green campus.

In the afternoon session, the workshops and paper presentations were held simultaneously and were divided into several breakout rooms. The workshops surrounded the theme of The Role of Arts in Promoting Sustainability and Citizen Science, the latter pertaining to the role of communities in environmental conservation. The paper presentations surrounded the general subject of Best Practices in Ecological Education and Sustainable Consumption and Production, featuring 15 different panelists from various ASEAN universities.

All workshops and paper presentation sessions ended with a short message from the Director of AUN-EEC, Dr. Assunta Cuyegkeng. Dr. Assunta expressed her overwhelming gratitude to all the presenters and attendees for their time and effort, as well as their participation. Overall, she wished that the talks and lectures in the morning session were able to give insights on how to have an ecological lifestyle and how one can promote ecological culture in institutions while the afternoon session hopefully sparked the interests and helped generate ideas for future work and collaboration. She ended her closing remarks encouraging everyone to contribute to the AUN-EEC Website to enrich ASEAN partnership for a sustainable future.